06/21/2017 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

When Do Job Search Documents Expire?

Whether you're in the midst of a search or thinking about starting one up in the fall, you should be aware of the shelf life of your job search documents.

Maybe you're jumping into the job-search ring now that summer has started and you have more free time. Maybe you’ve been quietly searching for a new job for a while, or maybe you're planning on restarting a job search this coming fall. In any case, you’ve likely accumulated a thick file of documents to support you in your job search along the way.

How long do those documents stay effective? Six months? One year? Two? When it comes to your job search file, is there an expiration date?


Your resume is the document in your file that should be updated most frequently. Every time something changes in your employment—you spend another year at your current school, you tackle a new volunteering opportunity, you acquire a new skill—you should reflect that change on your resume. Importantly (something many candidates forget), you should also update your resume when your contact information—address, phone number, email address—changes.

Personal Statement

The personal statement has the most preservative power of the documents in your file. In some cases, the educational philosophy you describe in your personal statement at age 25 may be the same philosophy to which you subscribe at age 50. Check it over from time to time, though, and update any references you make to current teaching jobs that have become stale. You should review this document each year and assess whether your experiences in the past year could inform a better statement more in line with where you want your search to lead.

Letters of Reference

Analyzing whether to keep or cut letters of reference in your file can be tricky. After all, it’s hard to remove kind words in support of your candidacy. But if your letters are several years old, and you haven’t replaced them with newer ones from a more recent school, then you need to freshen up your references. If you’re searching confidentially, it’s okay not to have a recommendation from someone at your current school, but try to include letters within a year or two of the current date, regardless of whether you decide to keep older ones or not.

If you ever have a question about your job search documents, your Placement Team is a great resource. Reach out to your Team to schedule a time to chat and ask any questions you might have.

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