4 Tricks for Keeping Your Materials Current
How often do you update your resume? Your website? (You DO have a website, right?) These days it is super important to maintain an up-to-date presence online. Take a look at this screen shot:
So it’s obvious that people with hiring potential DO check up on us online. With this in mind, two things could happen if your online presence is out of date:
Someone interested in hiring you sees that you haven’t updated your materials in quite some time, and will assume that you are no longer working, keeping them from even trying to hire you, OR…
Someone interested in hiring you will think you’re available according to your online schedule (which doesn’t have anything recent/upcoming listed) and contact you, only for you to have to turn them down. You will look like you don’t have your act together, plus it will have been a huge waste of time for the person trying to hire you.
In either case, things don’t turn out so well. The benefits of keeping your website and other materials (resume, biography, etc.) up to date extend beyond keeping good relationships with potential employers. When you update regularly, you will come across as more professional, as having a steady performance schedule, and you won’t run the risk of forgetting to include things you have done.
Convinced yet? Good. Here are four tricks I use to make sure my materials are always up to date.
1. Decide how often you should update your materials
This will depend somewhat on how frequently you are performing. Personally, I try to update my website, resume, and full CV once per month. I do enough work to make significant additions to my materials in a month’s time, but not so much that I forget to include any of my activities. If you are still in school and not performing as much, you may be able to get away with updating your materials every two months or even quarterly. If you are performing far more frequently, you may want to update every two weeks so that you are sure not to forget anything. Analyze your performance schedule and decide on a period of time that works best for your work load.
2. Set reminders for yourself
Using the Wunderlist app on my phone, I created a recurring to-do list item called “update website and resume”. It pops up once a month, and after I check it off the reminder automatically reschedules itself to come back a month later. You can create a similar recurring reminder using your favorite to-do list app. Another option is to physically write a reminder in your planner or calendar on the days that you have decided to update your materials. Use the system that works for you to achieve your goals.
3. Keep a checklist of items to update
Between updating your website, resume (current AND comprehensive), CV, biography, and more, you may find it difficult to remember all of the things you have to update when adding one new item to your materials. I use Evernote to keep a list of all of the materials that need updating. This keeps me from accidentally forgetting to put something on my resume even if I have put it on my website, CV, and biography already. Note: You may not need to update your biography as often as you do everything else. Feel free to wait a little longer between bio updates.
4. Keep track of the date you last updated
This is perhaps the one tip that will save you the most headaches in your career. After a while you may have several different versions of your biography or resume floating around. You may not be sure if you updated your website when you updated your resume. Please, PLEASE, help yourself out and include dates on everything you update. On your website, find a place in the footer for a line that reads “Last updated on XX/XX/XX.” On your biography, include a line such as “Last updated XX/XX/XX. Please destroy any previously dated materials.” For your resume and biography, put the date of your update in the file name. Include the day, month, and year. This will help you see when you last updated the file without opening it and keep you from mistakenly sending an old version of your resume to that last-minute gig possibility.
Using these four tricks have helped me stay totally on top of my materials so that they are always current. Do you have any tricks of your own? I’d love to hear about them – leave a comment or send me a message!