Why you are not ready to find a new job even when you say you are

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Nov 06

Most people think that if the unthinkable happens — they get laid off or their company goes belly up — that they are immediately ready to look for another job. I know this because Robert Half published a survey that asked — and 82% of the respondents said they were ready right now.

Next, they asked this question: “When did you last update your resume?”

That’s when things got interesting:

…if they lost their jobs tomorrow, only 20 percent had updated their resumes in the last three months. Forty-four percent hadn’t revised their resumes in more than a year.

Ready to look for your next job — even in your own company? Not without a current resume.

The killer quote, spot on, is this one:

“Workers who are prepared in the event of a sudden job loss also are ready when new employment opportunities arise, including those within their own companies,” said Reesa Staten, senior vice president and director of workplace research for Robert Half International. “A current resume is an essential career tool — the longer it remains untouched, the harder it is to update, since specific achievements are not always easy to recall.

How do Cubicle Warriors beat out their coworkers on the resume front?

You need to know what you want in a job so you can put it on a resume

This is totally obvious, right? But many people are so into the weeds from their current position — or trapped — that they really haven’t thought through what type of work they like, the type of management that works best for their style of work and what kind of team they’d like to work with to produce their best work.

Once you have sat down and worked through your ideal working environment, you can focus your resume on showing your accomplishments in the areas of work you like best.

You need to track your accomplishments

I was asked for some resume advice this week and noted that this person needed to put the results of their work on the resume so recruiters and hiring managers would see their success.

And then came the story of throwing out all of the past performance reviews (“I thought I’d never need them…”) and all of the reports that showed the metrics necessary to show accomplishments.

Cubicle Warriors know their accomplishments are all that separate the great employee from the average and the good job candidate from the great job candidate. Tracking helps you write your performance review, too.

Review your job and resume once a month

Time flies. And conditions change. Your job that looked so safe last month all of a sudden looks like a risky proposition. I worked for the largest savings and loan in the country — what could go wrong? And then Washington Mutual went belly up…

Plus, that fabulous project you worked that provided so much growth in your old position no longer matters much when companies are desperately trying to cut costs. Yet, the resume shows the great growth project and casually gets set aside because what is important now is not what was important then.

Reviewing your work and resume monthly with a critical eye on conditions is almost the only way to ensure your resume is up to date.

Move your accomplishments off of company systems

When I was laid off from Washington Mutual, I walked out of my manager’s office, turned in my laptop, Blackberry, building pass and was out the door in fifteen minutes (my rule: one box, ten minutes and I can be gone — they took longer getting my company assets back!). Not that I was some sort of threat by staying; management simply decided all the people laid off were done being in the offices that day.

Now, think about that. If I had the current version of my resume only on my company laptop, I no longer have it. If my performance reviews were sitting in my desk drawer, I’d no longer have access to them. If all the reporting about my performance and work were sitting on corporate servers, I’d no longer have access to them.

Your career is far more important to you than anyone else. So why would you store all of your career information on corporate premises when a company can lay you off in a cold-blooded minute?

I’m not suggesting you break Code of Conduct stuff; but you have a responsibility to be responsible for having the information that supports you getting your next job. Your company won’t care. You need to.

Are you ready to find your next job? Really?

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.