End-Of-Year Career Review

by Brian Skory

As we approach the end of another year, I once again encourage everyone to take advantage of any holiday down-time to spend a few moments updating their resume. But why would I recommend this for people who aren't even looking? Following are just a couple of real-life examples I've seen recently.

Companies are more fluid now than ever. With the increasing frequency of mergers and acquisitions, it is not unusual for someone to find that their position has been eliminated. In the event that you find yourself in this stressful situation, the last thing you want to think about is bringing your resume up to date.

You might suddenly come across a job opportunity that's just too perfect not to pursue.
The window of opportunity is generally small in that case, and any delays on your part could make the difference between getting or not getting an interview.

Life circumstances may have changed.
For example, the kids are now grown and you'd like to spend more time traveling. A job in academia with a bit less salary but a whole lot more time off may be just what you are now looking for.

Take Inventory of the Year

  • If you haven't yet added your current position to your resume, take care of that first.
  • What new responsibilities have you taken on over the last year? Have you been more involved in mentoring, or added any leadership responsibilities to your job description? Have you completed any major projects, releases or other milestones?
  • Have you started to become more active with local user groups, or are you contributing more to Stack Overflow or open source projects? Note those down as well.
  • Have you begun using new technologies, languages or frameworks? Be sure to highlight those, too.

In with the new, out with the old. Now would also be a good time to jump to the end of your resume and see if there are opportunities to trim off some of the fat. If you are 30 years into your career, you can probably delete the two years that you spent as an RA at your college dormitory.

Have a friend do a review.
Our minds are quite clever, and it's quite amazing how they seem to autocorrect those mistakes so that our eyes don't even see them. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes is just the thing to catch those little mistakes that are lingering out there.

We hope that everyone enjoys this holiday season and can look forward to starting the new year with a freshly updated resume.

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