Your resume is the most important document to help you in your job search. Yet, we treat it like a second class citizen and only pay attention to it when disaster strikes: when we need to find a new job. You know how that script goes — you decide to find a new job or are laid off, search frantically on your hard drive to find your resume last updated three years ago and now struggle to figure out what you did over the past three years to add to the resume.
You fail miserably because the mind has a terrible memory. Especially for such joyous events as your terrific business results you need to add to that three-year old resume to make it shine in today’s job market.
So instead of trying to figure out all your New Year’s Resolutions or determining your Word of the Year or deciding on your goals for 2011, do something doable, solid and valuable to help your Employment Security from this point going forward: update your resume. Here’s what you should update:
Your previous jobs from your last on the resume to now
If you haven’t updated your resume in three years (or more!), the first order of business is to add in all of your positions since your resume was last written. This seems like a simple task — until you start figuring out exactly what your job titles were, the dates you were in the position and then the results you achieved in the job. Get all of that in as a bare minimum so you don’t have to go through figuring it out two years from now when you are even less likely to remember what you were doing in 2007.
Your business results
Hey — you just had your annual performance review or just completed a year’s worth of SMART Goals — so how did you do? Those are business results that you contributed to the department. If your goals were set up right, you have specific measurements that tell you your goal attainment and that is either in your performance review or your goal attainment tracking. Now is the time to pull all that and put it in the resume.
And pull ALL of it — every last business result that helped your manager. It is far better to have way too much information in the resume now. Far easier in the future when you are looking for a job to pare back the information in the resume to match up with the job. But something minor — like having the State Government as a customer — could mean the difference in getting a great job (with the government because you had them as a customer differentiating you from all the other applicants!) simply because you added it to the resume now so you don’t forget it later.
Formatting doesn’t matter
All that stuff about one page resumes or four page resumes doesn’t mean anything now. Write a book about your business results. You can pare back the information later and format the resume following whatever the 4,000 rules are for resumes when you go look for a job. Right now the most important thing is to get your accomplishments into your resume so you have them and all the supporting documentation for use later when you look for a job.
Invest in your career
Listen, the key to careers now is achieving employment security — not job security. Employment security means you can find a job in any economy because you’ve built the skills needed to be a Cubicle Warrior. And part of those skills is taking the time to update your resume with your great business results from 2010. Get them in the resume before it all fades to black.
Take out your resume now. Are you ready to look for a job?