My monthly reminder to update my resume just triggered in my to-do list and I thought this was a good tip to share with all of you. Whether you are in the job market or not, you should have a process in place keep your resume current to within a few months. Why? Most of us are terrible at remembering details about what we have accomplished in the past. When you are suddenly thrown into the job market, you need to accurately market your knowledge, skills and abilities to attract the best employers and command the highest salaries.
At the time I joined McKesson, I was a passive job seeker. I had my resume in place, more or less. But it did not thoroughly capture my skills. Why? Because I only updated it once a year. For example, in December 2003 I updated it, and did not touch it again until the following December. I did not capture that I worked on a piece of a Partner Reporting system that used Crystal Reports Enterprise (a piece now part of Business Objects Enterprise) that was exposed using a custom Java front-end. I was only reminded of this work once I was put on a similar (albeit MUCH LARGER) enterprise reporting project. Some projects that I look back on seem insignificant or simple, but in some cases that is due to the work I did to simplify those projects and make them successful. These are the things employers are looking for and can affect the salary you command in the marketplace.
My point here is that I may have missed opportunities based on not having documented that project, the experience I gained, and the technologies involved. It is better to have a comprehensive list of projects and technologies that you can later skinny down to customize for a particular posting than to have a fairly blank slate of “responsible for this” and “worked on that”.
Today, I will update my resume to reflect work on an Internet Explorer custom toolbar and Browser Helper Object that I have worked off and on for the past 6 months to get into a production ready state. You should set aside time on your calendar in the next week (and at least quarterly from here on out) to update yours.