Quick Tips: Save backup copies of your resume!

Don't PanicYou work so hard to tailor your resume for each specific position. You word-smith and tweak, re-size and fuss until it is absolutely perfect. You submit the resume for the job and follow up with the employer a few days later, only to receive awful news. The file got corrupted somehow and they couldn’t read your resume!! You tell them it’s not a problem and that you’ll re-submit right away, but quickly discover that your resume file is completely corrupted on your hard drive!

To avoid the scenario above, here are some tips to ensure you always have backups of your resume. Some of these tips may seem over the top, but if you ever find yourself in a situation where your computer has failed or your file has been corrupted and you need to re-send your resume to an employer, you will appreciate having extra copies available. Many of these tips can also be applied to your cover letters, and to any other important documents.

  • Don’t just save over older versions of your resume whenever you tailor a new version for a new job. Save a brand new document, naming it lastname_resume_jobtitle_company.docx
  • Save the final copy (the one you submitted for the job) in a few different locations, such as:
    • on your hard drive,
    • on a USB key or other portable drive,
    • in a cloud service (such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, iCloud, etc.), and
    • email it to yourself and save the email in a folder called “Application Materials.”
  • Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date. This is a good idea for any job seeker, but if you find you’ve lost your resume file, you can pull information from your profile as a last resort.
  • If your school has a career management tool, take advantage of the option to upload different versions of your resume to your account.
  • Finally, for a low-tech back-up solution, keep printouts of your tailored resumes with the name of the company to which it had been sent, written in pencil, in a corner on the back.

Recovering your file
If you find you’ve already lost your resume and are desperate to get it back, there are a couple of options:

  • Scour your email. If you have sent your resume as an attachment recently, it may still be sitting in your Sent folder.
  • If the file was corrupted, you may be able to find an older, clean version on your Windows hard drive.
    • In Explorer, browse to the folder where the file had been saved.
    • Right click on the folder, then click on Properties.
    • Click on the Previous Versions tab. You should see a few previous backup versions of your folder going back a month, or so.
    • Within these previous versions, you should be able to find a copy of your resume from before it was lost or corrupted.
    • (I’m less familiar with Mac O/S, so if you’re a Mac user and know of a similar way to restore files or folders, let us know the steps in the comments.)
  • If you have had your resume reviewed by your school’s career center, Sweet Careers, or other career professional, they may have old copies saved. (Keep in mind, if they have a copy, it is probably one of your original drafts that has their comments or notes written on it, but you may be able to at least pull the contents into a new document.)

If all else fails, this could be the perfect time to redo your resume from scratch!

Image source: State of Security

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