If you’ve been happily employed at the same job for several years, there’s a good chance your resume has been gathering virtual cobwebs.
You’re certainly not alone—my resume has yet to be updated with anything I’ve done for the past year and a half or so on the job. And if you’re not planning on searching for a new gig anytime soon, you might think this is perfectly fine.
Well, I’m here to tell you that, unfortunately, it’s not. In fact, a polished resume (and LinkedIn profile!) can be almost as valuable to you now as they are when you’re in the middle of a job search.
Read on for six good reasons to keep your resume updated—always.
1. In Case You Want to Present Yourself as an Expert
Speaking at conferences, contributing articles to publications, or giving quotes to the media as an expert in your field are all excellent ways to grow yourself professionally without leaving your current gig. But when you pitch yourself to the media or conference organizers, you’re going to have to be able to adequately strut your stuff.
By keeping your resume and LinkedIn profile updated, you can send them off without blinking an eye. (And after you’ve given an amazing presentation or had your article published? You should probably, you know, add it to your resume.)
2. In Case Someone Wants to Nominate You for Something
A friend of mine recently had a colleague nominate her for an award, but when he reached out to ask her for a resume to send to the committee, she realized she hadn’t updated hers in years—and therefore it only showed a sliver of her awesome achievements!
Instead of feeling totally excited for the recognition, she found herself scrambling to fix up her resume, and ultimately sending in a document that didn’t represent her as well as a carefully updated one would have.
By having your LinkedIn profile and resume no more than a month old, you avoid selling yourself short (and leaving a generous colleague hanging).
3. In Case You Want to Pick Up Some Side Work
Even if you’re not looking for a new full-time job, you may decide you want to pick up some freelance work or collaborate with someone on a side project. And if a great opportunity lands in front of you, you’ll be happier and more confident if you aren’t scrambling to get your resume up to snuff.
For example, I was passively considering picking up some freelance work recently when what seemed like the perfect opportunity presented itself. I wanted to get my name and expertise in the hiring manager’s inbox ASAP—when I realized that not only did I not have an updated resume, I didn’t even have a copy of one on my new computer. Rookie move.
Don’t find yourself in a pinch like me. Keep an updated file of your resume somewhere it’s easy to find, along with a document containing all the experience not on your one-pager (in case you need to tailor the experience you’re showing off for a specific position).
4. In Case You Have Secret Admirers
Just because you’re not looking for a new job doesn’t mean someone else isn’t looking for someone exactly like you. Recruiters or people looking to collaborate on projects are often actively keeping an eye out for the perfect fit. If they call you up asking for your resume—or come across your three-year-old LinkedIn profile—they’re unlikely to be impressed.
But if they see an up-to-date document or profile detailing all of the impressive things you’ve done recently? They might just extend you an offer that you’d have a hard time turning down (and, at the very least, it’ll be a nice confidence boost!).
5. In Case a Promotion Comes Up at Work
Even if you adore your current company and have no plans to leave, you may eventually be ready for a more senior position. And even though your manager has firsthand experience of your incredible work, the powers-that-be who are making a decision may still want to see it all on paper.
By having an updated resume on hand, you’ll be able to get your application submitted in a timely manner, showing off your experience, work ethic, and enthusiasm for the new position.
6. In Case the Worst Happens
Unfortunately, no matter how much you love your job or how stellar you are at it, a situation may arise where you get laid off or let go. And if that does happen, you’re going to have enough to think about without adding updating your ancient resume into the mix.
Do yourself a favor and regularly update your job search credentials even when you’re not looking for a job. By keeping your resume current, you’re just a cover letter away from bouncing back into the job-searching market.
The best part of all of this? Keeping your resume updated doesn’t have to take a huge amount of time, especially if you’re doing it regularly. Simply carving out 30 minutes or so every month can be enough to give your resume the polishing-up it needs.
Erin Greenawald is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist who is passionate about elevating the standard of writing on the web. Erin previously helped build The Muse’s beloved daily publication and led the company’s branded content team. If you’re an individual or company looking for help making your content better—or you just want to go out to tea—get in touch at eringreenawald.com.More from this Author