It's smart to review and update your resume periodically. How often? I would say as often as I change my hair color or style, but updating a resume weekly seems excessive. So the right answer is: Now! Your resume probably sits in a folder on the computer and, like holiday decorations, you don't think about it until you need it.
Unfortunately, if you wait until then, it might be too late. When you pull out your resume to dust it off for a job hunt, you may struggle to remember all that you've accomplished since the last update. Your listings of special achievements and details about new duties could be the difference between landing or losing the job. Keep in mind that a resume shouldn't just be a tool you grab when frantically searching for a job. It’s also useful in your current position to boost your morale and show your boss all that you do. Presenting your updated resume as a visual aid for your annual performance review is good for you and your boss. Your manager feels great that he or she employs such a motivated team member—maybe one worthy of a promotion or raise—and you get a chance to sit back and be proud of all you've accomplished the past year.
To make certain your resume is always in tip-top shape, keep a document on your computer or set aside a notebook where you can quickly jot down changes that affect your professional life. Did you learn how to use Power Point or some other sought-after computer skill? Did you take an accounting or leadership class? Have you received a relevant award or certification? All of these add value to what you're selling on that resume—you. Donna Bauman, CVPM, is practice manager at Ottawa Animal Hospital in Holland, Mich.