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If you’re looking for a job, you’ve most likely updated your resume. But even if you’re not looking, you should still be giving it an annual overhaul. That’s according to William Vanderbloemen, author of Be the Unicorn, who has conducted over 30,000 job interviews. He founded one of the world’s biggest executive search firms and knows a thing or two about what makes a resume stand out—and what creating a good one can do for you.

Practical reasons for updating a resume every year

Vanderbloemen puts it simply when explaining the practical value of updating your resume every year: “You never know when you’re going to be looking for a job with the volatility that’s happening right now. Who knows when you get replaced, when you want to take a new opportunity?” 

Layoffs and restructurings can leave you without a job. Your own personal desire to switch gigs can come up out of nowhere. Having an up-to-date resume gives you an edge and removes a ton of the stress associated with those early job-hunting days. 

Vanderbloemen recommends sitting down once a year, usually in January, and reviewing what your current resume says about you. Add the things you’ve accomplished over the last year. Remember: Accomplishments and actions are more important than a laundry list of where you’ve worked and gone to school. If something on there from 10 years ago is outdated or no longer relevant to where you’re at in your career, cut it and put in something more recent and useful. Keep the resume as up to date as possible in case of emergency. It’s that simple. 

Personal reasons for updating a resume every year

This isn’t to say you should always be in panic mode about a possible layoff or unexpected desire to abandon your current position. Having an updated resume on hand for when you need it is great, but even the act of updating it at all has benefits for your current job. 

“It gives you a long, hard look in the mirror,” says Vanderbloemen. “Some years, you might look in the mirror and say, ‘I didn’t get anything done. I just pushed paper around.’ Other years, you say, ‘No, I’ve done this, this, and this.’ It’s almost like a self-assessment … Updating the resume is not so much because you’re going to be looking for a job. It’s the undervalued practice of self-examination.”

If you’re completing your annual update and realize you did have one of those years where you “just pushed paper around,” it can compel you to work harder in the coming year to get some action items on the board, so your next update is pure fire. Vanderbloemen suggests asking yourself questions during the update, like, “Am I adding value? Did I get anything done, make any accomplishments?” He says that usually spurs people to get creative when planning what they want to do in the next 12 months, making them better workers overall. 

If you did get a lot done, this is also a great way to find some motivation. You should always be keeping detailed records of your accomplishments at work so you can see your own growth—and make a solid case for yourself during performance reviews or meetings with higher-ups. Moving those from an accomplishment journal to your actual resume will reinforce how powerful the accomplishments are and what they could tangibly get you, like a new job or promotion. Even if you never submit that resume anywhere within the year it’s active, just having it will give you a boost. 

After interviewing 30,000 candidates, Vanderbloemen and his team came up with 12 habits that make the most qualified workers stand out. One of them is self-awareness. It’s hard to come up with all your accomplishments in a pinch, when you’re rushing to submit an application at a dire time, but doing it annually when there’s no pressure will give you time to self-reflect and become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, which will help you in your day-to-day job just as much as it could help you when you’re ready for the next.