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The Importance of an Updated Resume

reviewing a resume

Once you land a job after your military career, you might feel it’s time to relax and put your resume away. After all, you’re employed. However, today’s professional recognizes that having an updated resume is not only good for your job search, but it’s also a good career resource that you should have ready to send to someone when asked (*this also applies to all online versions of your resume).

Here are five reasons to always have a current resume available:

  • Job Security Doesn’t Exist. No job or career can ever guarantee you absolute security of position, pay or responsibility. Most civilian jobs are dependent on both parties (employer and employee) being satisfied and the parameters of that “satisfaction” can be discretionary. I’ve spoken to many veterans who were shocked when asked to leave a job, or when their position was eliminated.
  • Memories fade. After a few months or years, it will be hard to recall important details about your current job and responsibilities. Instead of leaving it to chance that you’ll remember, each time you hit a milestone (i.e. job promotion, new title, tangible result at work,) update your resume with the information.
  • Your circumstances can change quickly. If you were suddenly relocated because of a family issue, spouse’s job change, or other reason, having an updated resume allows you to begin positioning yourself to new employers quickly.

    Additionally, sometimes your circumstances require you to earn more money, or take on a second job. Having a current resume on hand is valuable to meeting these goals in real time.
  • You are available for other opportunities. Have you considered joining a board of directors? Interested in being featured in the media for your expertise? Do you want to update your online social media profiles? A current resume is a reference point for you to be considered for positions (paid and volunteer) outside of your job.  
  • Recruiters can find you. Even if you aren’t actively looking for a new job, recruiters are looking for you. If something truly interesting crossed your path… and you want to inquire further, the first thing they would ask for is a current, updated resume.

What to Update?
Update the following information on your resume:

  • Contact information (cell phone, home address, email address)
  • Objective (if you include this, be sure it reflects your current goals)
  • Skills (update with any new experiences, skills or training)
  • Job history (if using a chronological resume, be sure to include your current job first, with a bulleted list of successes and results)
  • Unique accomplishments (did you receive the President’s Award at your company? This would be a good thing to add to your current resume!)
  • Certifications and accreditations
  • Education (update with completion dates)
  • Volunteerism (have you joined the Board of Directors of a local charity? Do you volunteer to mentor other veterans? Be sure to update your volunteerism.)
  • References (if you include your references on your resume, be certain they are still willing and comfortable being listed. Otherwise, replace their names with others.)

Instead of making it a burden, get in the habit of updating your resume. Set aside time every month to review your accomplishments or activity from the past 30 days and note the ones that should be listed on your resume.

Related Topics

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Lida Citroën, a branding expert based in Denver, has made a career of helping people and companies create new or enhanced identities. She is passionate about helping veterans learn how to compete for careers in the civilian sector. A TEDx Speaker, Lida presents her unique personal branding training programs across the U.S., at military installations and events, serves on the Board of Directors of NAVSO  volunteers with ESGR, and has produced numerous programs and materials to help military veterans successfully transition after service. If you have a transition question Lida can help answer, email her at She is also the author of the best selling book, "Your Next Mission: A personal branding guide for the military-to-civilian transition," available at and on Amazon.