Resume Help/Resume updates


Hi Dr Converse,

My question is fairly straightforward - how often should I update my resume?  I have been in my current job about 3 years, but I am looking for a change.  Thanks!

Hi Demi,

The answer to your question is equally straightforward: your resume should be updated every time you apply for a new job.

The reason lies in understanding the true purpose of a resume.  Like every other document you send to a prospective employer, the resume should reflect not only your skills and abilities, but it should definitively demonstrate how those skills serve the needs of the employer that receives them.  In other words, every employer has their own specific needs and what you send them about you needs to describe exactly HOW you fit those needs better than anyone else.

That's why you can't send the same resume to any two employers; every employer has different needs and requirements and your documents should show that you understand that.

Certainly you want to define all of the relevant skills you possess, but be mindful of the job announcement and the requirements listed in it.  If the employer lists skills X, Y, and Z.  Then your letter, your resume, and any other documents should tell the employer exactly what you have done that convincingly demonstrates that you can do X, Y, and Z.  And list those skills upfront in the resume.  Don't bury them internally somewhere.  Those are the most important things to the employer so they should be the most important things you tell about yourself.

Hope this helps; feel free to send me your resume as an attachment to the email address below and I'll be happy to give you a free appraisal before you submit it.

Best wishes,

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Ralph D. Converse, Ph.D.


I can answer questions about general job searches, resume construction, crafting an effective cover letter, and how to prepare for, and conduct, a winning interview. My speciality is the field of education, but I also have extensive background in business and administration. I know what works and what doesn't work and I can make your application package stand out from the rest ... because that is what you have to do.


I have interviewed for, and held, dozens of jobs in a career going back more than 42 years. I have taught at all educational levels including middle school, high school, community college, and university. In more than 42 years of experience on both sides of the job-search process, I have interviewed hundreds of applicants and have reviewed literally tens of thousands of job application packages. I am the author of 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them! I conduct workshops for job seekers in a variety of locations every year.

Music Educator's Journal, Teaching Music, Music and American Culture (forthcoming, 2013), Last Teacher Standing: The Job is Yours Now! and 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them!

B.A. New Mexico State University; M.Mus. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D. University of California and University of North Texas

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