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3 Reasons to Update Your Resume Today

J.P. Morgan in NYC recently announced a round of layoffs expected to come down in the coming months. That could mean countless new participants in the job market with a direct impact on our city. I’m getting mixed messages from my friends in finance — some tell me that the worst is over and their firms are looking to hire and expand again, while others are still in the midst of adjusting to all of the new regulations that are putting pressure on everyone to cut costs and “optimize” headcount from the front office to the back. Because of lingering uncertainty, you have to be ready to move and compete for a new role at a moment’s notice. Here are three reasons why it makes a lot of sense for you to update your resume today.


Reasons to Update Your Resume Today (Illustration: Mary-Louise Price Foss)

Unexpected layoffs
No matter what kind of company you are in — blue chip, startup, medium-size — a layoff can impact you when you least expect it and it isn’t just bad if you are the one out of a job. If your colleagues are released, leaving you behind, guess what, their work still needs to get done and you’re the one left holding the bag. Spending a spare hour to make sure your resume is in fair shape will help you be ready for an unplanned career shock.

Luck finds the prepared
Having your resume up-to-date and looking great is just good business. In the same way, you never know when you’ll lose your job to negative market forces, you also never know when a great opportunity will find you. Increase the chances that the odds will ever be in your favor (thank you, Hunger Games!)

Attention spans are decreasing
The average amount of time a potential hirer looks at a resume has dwindled down to six seconds. This number seems to get less and less and less each time I research it. Exactly how much can you communicate via the written word in six seconds? Not a whole lot. This is why formatting is so critical. A poorly formatted resume that is hard to read has a high probability of getting tossed if a recruiter can’t get the gist of your story and value add in less than 10 seconds.

It won’t hurt you to fire up your resume this weekend and make sure all of your pertinent contact information and current achievements are on there. Keep it handy wherever you go — emailing it to yourself so you can do a simple search for it on your smart phone is best practice. If you just don’t have time, invest in a professional writer who can package you in a professional and meaningful way to help you make the most of your background should you find yourself in a situation to take advantage of a new opportunity.

Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at

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