Recently, I had a conversation with a person who works for a company that has had complete job security. Now, though, sites are being closed, layoffs are happening and he’s worried about if this company is still the place to work.
The first step if you are worried about your job is to get your resume in order so that if you decide it is time to leave, you can pull the trigger and have the most important document ready for your job search. The problem with this person? He hasn’t updated his resume. In ten years.
Imagine him now having to construct a resume from thin air, staring at the computer screen with that blank page waiting for electrons to fill. Waiting for the key components of the resume beyond the employment history — your business results, actions taken to get those business results, and your job skills in an easy place to view.
You can see him hours and hours doing this task. Then, the most important part, failing to get interviews because the resume just doesn’t cut it.
Job search skills are the least used by all of us because we use them so little. It’s not like we use our job search skills — resume building, business networking, phone interviews and face-to-face interviews — like we use Microsoft Office. Or Facebook.
Updating your resume is a job search skill that needs consistent attention. Always having that resume ready with the most current skills and business results is the one job search skill you need to be using.
My suggestion? Update your resume once a quarter. You’re already updating your goals for your performance review once a quarter, right? Ahem…right? So update your resume at the same time with those results.
There is a school of thought out there that says your resume should be concise. A study of presenting your skills and results in a finite amount of space that is easy to read and uses powerful language.
That would, for the most part, be true.
But the concise study of your skills and results is something you build when you create your resume for submission to a job posting. NOT when you update your resume with your latest results.
What is true is that it is far easier to cut out material from something when you have a focus to use — like a specific job description — than it is to try and remember what it was that you did that so awesomely fit the job description in front of you. Especially with business results presented with numbers.
When you are updating your resume, then, just put in all of your business results for the quarter and the projects you completed. Someday that ridiculous project you just completed at work that you thought was entirely irrelevant to your career will become yet another nugget in the story of you meeting your dream job description and being able to prove you can do that work.
Put those quarterly resume update dates down on your calendar right now for the entire year.
And in case you don’t have that appointment to update your performance goals for the year, you can add that one on your calendar at the same time. 😉
Build your resume. Keep it up-to-date. Be ready to move knowing your skills and results are now available to use to start a new job search.
And if you want a resume review, click the link for the Cube Rules Resume Review.
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. In 2005, Scot started sharing these hard lessons at CubeRules.com, a site devoted to Career Advice for knowledge workers, whom he calls Cubicle Warriors.