Over and over again, I meet with resume clients that say something similar to the following, “There is this great job opportunity that I just found out about. And, I haven’t updated my resume for years. Do you think you can help me?” Because writing resumes is a large part of my business, of course I can help these people! However, if you are more of the do-it-yourself type of resume writer, I have some tips for you.

Update your resume at least once per year. This does not mean that you actually have to send it to a prospective employer. The once-a-year rule simply means you open the file (or pull out the hard copy) and review it. Think of the things you have done during the last year and update the information. Have you added new skills? Taken additional classes? Earned a new job title? Now is the time to add that information to your resume.

Reviewing your resume once per year also serves another purpose; it allows you time to reflect on all of the positive things you have done during your career. A resume highlights the positive aspects of your job history, so take it in and absorb your successes. And, in the meantime, if you have received an award or have been nominated for an honor, add that information to your job search documents.

Finally, updating your resume gives you another chance to back up the information. I always tell clients to keep it in two places electronically and print it out. If you lose the document that contains names, dates, and specific tasks, it can be difficult to recover that information.

Maintaining your resume and keeping it up-to-date makes your job search easier and can help assure you are prepared when you see that perfect job listing. Take time to maintain, organize, and back-up your job search documents today. You won’t regret it.