Although debatable whether the resume still has a place amongst LinkedIn and Github profiles, I like to keep mine up to date and at hand to attach to introductions and job applications.
Every time I’ve changed jobs, or considered doing so, I’ve encountered the pain of having to make changes to my outdated resume. Whilst thinking about how to keep my resume up to date I came up with the metaphor of treating my resume as code and this post lists the benefits of doing so.
Monthly resume review
I’ve schedule a monthly recurring event in my calendar to review my resume and keep it up to date on where I am at in my career. This enables me to add newly acquired skills and projects I’ve worked on whilst the experiences are still fresh in my mind.
Its easier to keep an application running smoothly up to date by continuously spending time refactoring and updating dependencies. The same follows for keeping a resume up to date. Why not spend 30 minutes every month and always have an up to date version, than having to scramble and spend hours when you eventually need to send your resume to a potential employer.
Keeping your career on track
Another benefit of routinely reading and editing your resume is that you get to check whether your profile is moving towards where you want to be. You might also discover that your career is stagnant if you don’t have anything useful to add over a period of time, a sign that you are not learning and growing in your current role. Have you been able to add to your resume in the last 6 months? If not it might worth taking a closer look at whether your current situation is aligned with your career goals. Are you too invested in one stack? Does your skills include outdated elements like DHTML and Dreamweaver?
A resume should hint at the future
I like to include a brief part in my resume on what I’m currently learning to give an idea of where my career and skill set is heading. This enables possible employers to see that your skill set is not stagnant. What skills or technologies are you currently working on?
Keep a version history to watch your career progress
By keeping a version history of your changes, you will be able to see at a glance what changes you made in a given time frame. This is useful when doing a yearly review etc. Being able to tell exactly which things you’ve learned in a year is highly valuable in performance reviews.
I’m using Google Docs for my resume and it includes a nice browsable version history of edits. Another solution could be to use markdown or latex and check it into Git.
Reviewing my resume every month for the last year has worked out great for me and I implore you to try it out for yourself. The process described above has evolved my resume into this.
If you have any good career practices I’d love to hear them.