Your monthly career refresh guide – what to update and what to include without stressing out.
One way to make the job search less brutal? That age-old advice to never actually stop looking. We don’t mean to always needlessly apply to roles or stuff your calendar with networking events. There’s a better way to maintain your professional presence, all from the comfort of your couch.
It all comes down to minor daily tasks and a monthly refresh so you don’t forget projects you completed or praise you received, and you don’t miss out on job opportunities that could be a perfect fit. By maintaining things like your profile and resume, you’ll never feel unprepared for that great job post you came across, a friend’s referral or a recruiter’s outreach.
1. Keep notes throughout your work week
As mentioned already, it’s a smart idea to keep track of what you’re working on from the perspective of your own accomplishments. You don’t want to brag or take all the credit at work, but you should absolutely make note in your personal files of what you contributed – and don’t be shy about it! Save these thoughts in a running email draft, Google doc or notes app on your phone. Think about how you launched a new project, brought in hard-won business, improved processes, or exceeded goals after executing on months-long strategies.
You should also keep note of praise or feedback you received from peers or managers, as well as any new skills you learned. Coworkers who support you are good connections to maintain in your career, and adding new skills equals ongoing resume boosters.
2. Do your research
Be aware of how your industry is evolving, even if it’s slowly over the course of years. For example, on social media, are you seeing professionals start to talk frequently about a specific topic? Or, if you’re regularly perusing job postings, have you noticed certain skills popping up? Are you subscribed to industry blogs, newsletters, podcasts or other media to stay up-to-date on trends?
When it comes time for you to actively apply for roles, it shouldn’t be a mystery as to what companies want to see from candidates in your field.
3. Seek new opportunities
Take on new projects, volunteer to work with a new set of coworkers, sign-up for an online class or mentor beginners in your industry. These can all be great opportunities to add to your skillset if you feel you need them, as well as to flex current ones and add experience to your resume.
How do you actually keep your resume updated without being obsessed? Set a date.
Just do it once a month. That’s it! Schedule one hour (or whatever feels appropriate for you), make a snack and grab your notes (like, step one) because you’re going to:
- Listen to, read, digest and absorb the media in your industry. If you have time throughout your workday to do it, even better, but if you don’t, that’s okay. We’re all busy and reading a couple of newsletters or blogs once a month is better than not at all!
- Refresh your candidate profile. Fill in those proficiency levels or add your career goals. This part of your application is perfectly suited to ongoing maintenance to reflect who you are throughout your job experiences.
- Update your resume. Then, based on your profile and your work notes, make any necessary changes to your resume, specifically any accomplishments or skills worth adding.
- Apply to jobs. If you are actively looking, you should definitely be routinely updating your materials! After updating your candidate profile and your resume, you’re ready to apply to jobs.