Though networking is a proven means of advancing one's career, it'll only get you so far without a solid resume. And while you may have been warned to keep that vital document clean, concise, and completely devoid of spelling and grammatical errors, there's one resume rule many workers inevitably overlook: Always have an updated version.

Given the extent to which job-hopping is rampant in the workforce these days, you'd think more people would be taking steps to update their resumes consistently. But according to a recent GOBankingRates survey, the majority of Americans are walking around with outdated resumes.

Woman holding up a resume


Here's how the data breaks down by age group:

Age Group

Percentage of Workers With an Outdated Resume











65 and over



Now we'll give the 65-and-over set a pass, because while it never hurts to have an up-to-date resume at the ready, it's also fair to assume that most folks in this age brackets are either retired, or about to be. Younger folks, however, have no excuse for falling down on the resume front, especially since you never know when you might need to kick-start a job search.

You need an updated resume -- period

While not having an updated resume might boil down to laziness for some, for others, it could be a matter of a false sense of security. Imagine you've been at the same job for several years, and have no intention of leaving anytime soon. You might think there's no point in updating your resume since you're nice and set where you are. But what happens when boom -- your company gets bought by a larger corporation, and suddenly you're downsized out of a job? At that point, you'll need to scramble to pull your resume together if you don't want to delay your search for new work.

Here's another scenario that might come to be. Say you're at a business conference, and a contact of yours mentions a fantastic opening at his firm that you'd be perfect for. The only problem? His company is looking to make a move immediately, and your resume hasn't been updated since 2006. By not refreshing your resume, you could end up losing out on a key job opportunity when you least expect it.

Don't rush through that update

Now at this point, you may be thinking: "So what if my resume is out of date? I'll just update it as the need arises. It won't take that long."

And here's how that might get you into trouble. Your resume isn't the sort of thing to just throw together in 30 minutes or less. Some people spend weeks crafting and reworking their resumes, and they aren't just being perfectionists. Because your resume can make or break your interview chances, you need to get that document just right.

Not only must you reread your resume several times before packaging it up in a neat little PDF, but you should also, ideally, enlist the help of others to ensure that it's spot on. This might mean having your old colleague review that document for content, or having your grammar-obsessed editor friend review it for errors and consistency. And these things can take time, since your outside helpers won't necessarily be available at a moment's notice.

Furthermore, having an updated resume on hand at all times might give you some unexpected peace of mind. You never know when you might get fired or laid off, but having that resume ready to go offers a modicum of protection that you're positioned to start a job search without delay.

Now this isn't to say that you ought to update your resume weekly, or even monthly. But as a rule of thumb, glance at your resume once every three months, and make changes as necessary. It may require a little extra work, but it's a worthwhile investment to make in your career.