In this article, we continue talking about resume update best practices. In the previous article, I shared with you about capturing new hire information for resume use.
To keep your resumes updated, is another entire initiative that can be overwhelming. You can overcome this overwhelm, by setting up a system that works for the size of firm and project types. Use the following steps to develop a resume information management system for your firm.
Determine the Frequency
Resume updates can be a big project depending on the size of your firm or the size of the department/market/region you are responsible for. At the bare minimum, I suggest that everyone have a chance to update their resume at least once per year. Depending on the size and duration of your projects, this might need to be twice a year or once every other year.
Determine Who’s Resume to Update
Let’s just say you decide to make it an annual update. Then you will want to decide if you want to update everyone’s at once (you can even theme it or make it a big deal/event) OR on an on-going basis. I have done it both ways and personally prefer the on-going basis. I have split it up by work anniversary, meaning everyone who started at the in February, I focus on their updates. Next month is March and then focus on everyone who started in March. While this seems like you are creating more work with having tasks every month, there may only be a handful to focus on rather than 20 or 30+ if you just do once a year. Again, this will be entirely up to you and will depend on how many resumes you are responsible for maintaining.
Either route you go, the next steps can be the same.
Hand Them a Current Resume
Provide them what you have on file or in the database now, give them instructions of what you want them to do with it, give them a deadline, and gather the updated information.
You will notice I say HAND THEM the current resume with instructions/checklist. I have had the most success with physically walking around the office and handing them these papers and explaining to them the importance of this tasks and asking if the deadline can work with their schedule. It is so easy to ignore an email, it is a lot harder to ignore someone standing in front of you. This also helps to build visibility and rapport with your technical staff.
Below, I provide sample instructions that you can provide on top of the current resume.
Give Them a Deadline
Provide a deadline. Again, ask if it works with their current workload and be okay adjusting if they request. Hold them to that deadline by sending an Outlook request for the actual deadline and possible some reminder alerts.
Schedule an Interview
Sometimes (depending on the level of person or their expertise), I might even schedule a one-on-one meeting to conduct a mini-interview. I have found I get more information from folks, especially very busy folks, by talking with them than by giving them a worksheet or resume to mark-up.
Gather the Information & Update the Master File
Eventually you will get the information and you may need to follow up and get clarification. Then use that information to re-write or add to their bio and projects showing on the resume. Either update your database or update your master resume file.
Case Study: A/E Firm Annual Resume Updates
My last firm grew to about 300 people before I left. Because of the size, we decided to do annual resume updates but break it up into monthly tasks. We used the work anniversary approach. This meant that we pulled a list of who was hired each month and focused on their resumes. Our process is outlined below.
- Each month, we would pull a list of employees based on their work anniversary. We had access to our database. If you don’t have a database, you can ask HR to give you a work anniversary list.
- Then we would put together the current master resumes we had on file along with the resume update memo/instructions (provided below).
- We distributed the master resumes and resume update memo/instructions. We would hand deliver to those in our main office. We had six other offices, so we would try to give the marketing coordinator in the other offices to distribute. If the office had no marketing coordinator, we would try to work with the office manager. However, sometimes, we had to resort emailing the employee.
- Put reminders of due dates on calendars. We typically gave them two weeks.
- Schedule one-on-one interviews as needed.
- Collect the updated resumes and employee information.
- Edit and re-write as needed.
- Updated our database (Deltek Vision), which updated our master resumes. If you don’t have a database, you would just update your master resume file.
Annual Resume Update Memo/Instructions
Below is a link to a template of the annual update memo/instructions we would include on top of the employee’s master resume. Feel free to use and adapt for your firm.
No Database, No Problem
You can still set up a system even if you don’t have a CRM or database like Deltek Vision or Cosential. You will just need to be very diligent on how you set up your folders and files in Windows Explorer. You will also have to make sure security rights are accurate for both access to read and modify files.
I would suggest setting up a series of folders to house both your original new hire paperwork and your annual updates as well as the actual master resumes, headshots, and licenses. I would strongly suggest making the master resume files (the actual InDesign or Word files) read-only. A sample folder structure is shown.
Instead of entering the data in the database, marketing will need to file it in these folders and create the master resume file with the start date in the file name (starting with month). This will make it easier to identify those to focus on each month of the annual updates. You can do the same thing with the license expiration date but starting it with the year. This will make it easier to spot those that are expiring in the current year and send out notices.
Automating Your Resume Update Process
Who doesn’t love automation? I also think of the “Set It and Forget Guy” from the informercials when I think of automation. I am constantly trying to think of how we can use our current software and systems (even in other departments) to help us do our work. Below are some strategies you can consider to automate your resume update process.
Using a CRM System
If you have a CRM system, you set up workflows to identify and alert when a resume is due to be updated based on a start date or resume last updated field. You could even have that workflow send the current resume with instructions in the message to both the employee and marketing.
Without a CRM System
Your firm probably has some kind of annual performance evaluation and review for all employees. Can you somehow tie in the annual resume update during that performance review period? Can you make it part of the completion of the employee self-performance review?
Another approach could be to have the supervisors review the employee’s resume. This could be done as part of the annual performance review process as well.
How do you currently maintain resume information? I would love to hear other best practices. Share yours in the comments below.
Also, if you have any questions about this approach, please comment below as well. I will answer them or find the answers for you.