Recession-Proof Your Resume
September is National Update Your Resume Month. Did you know that was a thing? I didn't, until recently. If you need to dust off and shine up that old resume, now is the time to do it!
I've got 8 great "what-ifs" and a downloadable resume template just for you! It's the same template I have used to get director-level jobs. I think you'll love it!
Resumes are almost always the LAST thing a person wants to work on during their time away from work. There are so many other fun or important things to do. Well, if you study my teachings about fear, you'll know this truth - If you don't want to, then you must. Having an updated resume is important, no, it's more than that. What's a stronger word that important? It's critical. Not convinced? Here are 8 very convincing what-ifs that just might change your mind.
1. What if you wanted to ask for a raise?
Inflation is the word dripping from every tongue these days. Prices are high and wages aren't keeping up. Did you know that you are more likely to get a raise if you have an updated resume? Yep! You need to show your boss the new skills you’ve acquired and what you’ve achieved. When they see that, they are far more likely to increase your pay.
2. What if a promotion comes up at work?
You never know when your dream position will become available. Are you ready to strike? Maybe you've been ready for a more senior position and you've just been waiting for the right opportunity. Luck favors the prepared, my friend. Even though your employer has first-hand insight into your incredible work, they aren't usually the ones making the decision (at least, not alone). You need something tangible to tout your talents. By having an updated resume on hand, you’ll be able to get your application submitted quickly, showcasing your strong work ethic, relevant experience, and enthusiasm for the new position. One of things I teach about fear is to take immediate action. Otherwise, you may talk yourself out of it or miss the opportunity.
3. What if the worst happens?
Unfortunately, the only constant in life is change. A situation may arise where you get laid off or let go. If that happens, are you prepared? Will you be in the right frame of mind to update your resume then? Opportunities wait for no one. The word opportunity comes from the Latin word opportunus, meaning "in the direction of the harbor." The saying came about because seasonal winds would bring you safely to the location you were wanting to go. Seasonal is the key word. If you missed the winds because you waited too long, your sailing became a lot harder because you had to navigate opposing winds to get to the same destination. Do yourself a favor and update your resume and job search credentials on LinkedIn (even when you’re not looking for a job). Stay with those seasonal winds and you have a better chance of bouncing back into the job-searching market.
3. What if you're missing out on something better?
Recruiters are constantly on the look-out for talent. Even if you adore your current company, there could be something even better out there for you. Keep your resume and LinkedIn profile updated so those recruiters can find you! You want to be ready for those opportunities.
4. What if you need to keep track of your accomplishments?
You're doing a lot. Learning new skills, getting new certs. There's a ton to remember. Let your resume help you keep track of all those important accomplishments. Waiting to update it means you're more likely to forget something important. I once had a job that required an updated resume every six months to ensure I was on the right track. Another great reason to update your resume regularly, and it helped me form a routine. When you make updating your resume routine, it will be easier than only doing it when you want a new job. Do you only brush your teeth when you go out with friends or on a date? Ewwww.....
5. What if you want to be seen as an expert?
Have you ever wondered how those "experts" on the media got there? Sometimes you seem to know more than they do. You can bet they all have one thing in common - they all had great resumes. Whether you want to appear on TV, speak at conferences, write publications, or gather a social media following, you need to clearly define what you bring to the table. That's what your resume does for you. When you pitch yourself to the media or conference organizers, you’re going to have to be able to adequately strut your stuff. By keeping your resume and LinkedIn profile updated, you can quickly show the world your awesomeness. Oh, and after you’ve been on TV, or published an article...add it to your resume. :)
6. What if someone wants to nominate you for something?
You may think it unlikely, but this really happens. A while back, I was nominated for an award, but when the group reached out and asked for my resume, I realized I didn't even have one! My computer had gotten a virus and was wiped - nothing was backed up (another lesson for another day) and I would need to hurry and create a new resume if I wanted to accept the nomination. Instead of feeling excited, I felt stressed! Make a goal of having your LinkedIn profile and resume no more than three months old. You can relieve the stress of having to do a lot of updates or totally redo it altogether!
7. What if you want to pick up some side work?
When I was a professor, I found it useful to work side jobs, and did so often. Even if you’re not looking for a new full-time job, you still need a resume for freelance work and, sometimes even volunteer work. Again, be prepared. You never know when those seasonal winds will blow a great opportunity in front of you.
8. What if you have secret admirers?
If for no other reason, do it for your ego! I'm mostly joking, but it is a true fact that most people get jobs through someone they know, who is not a close friend. This means the person doesn't know all the ins and outs of your skills and experience. They will only know what's on LinkedIn and what you can share with them via your resume. Be prepared, because you never know when someone who secretly admires your great work would like to refer you to your best gig ever! An up-to-date profile and resume, detailing all of the impressive things you’ve done recently, immediately shows you're prepared, forward thinking, and on top of things. Who wouldn't want to hire you with all that?
How to Refine Your Resume
Start at your current employment. If they aren't listed, get them added to the beginning of your work experience section. Add in the new achievements, section by section. If you earned new certifications, a degree, or took continuing education classes, add those to the education and certification sections? If you gained a new skill, add it to your skills section. When you download my resume template (at the bottom of this post), it has all of these sections in it.
Sections not in the template, you may want to add:
Any relevant volunteer experience
Awards or accolades
Industry association participation
Special presentations you've given
Published articles or books relevant to your industry
Any committees you're part of
Finally, trim out anything that's no longer relevant. If you’ve earned an associate degree, don’t list your high school diploma. If you earned a bachelor or master degree, you may choose whether or not to leave the associate or bachelor listed. I always leave my bachelor listed because it's a slightly different set of skills than my master. Keep only the past 10 years of work experience, unless the position requires more. If it lists 15+ years of experience, then keep as much as is relevant.
The best part of all of this? Peace of mind. Another one of my teachings about fear is that fear decreases as your preparation increases. Start carving out 30 minutes or so for resume updating every quarter and you will be in good shape!