I sure hope you don’t read this and say to yourself, “The guy makes a lot of sense, people should update their resumes; but I personally don’t need to.” I’m addressing this to you; if you have grown comfortable and stagnant in your current job and the last thing you think possible is that you might soon be looking for work.
So you’re working and you’ve been there for some time now. Could be that it’s between 4 to 20 years let’s say, and you seldom if ever think seriously about having to look for another job. Why on earth would it be good for you to update your resume? Wouldn’t that just be a lot of work for no immediately obvious reason? So why bother?
The most obvious reason of course is that you are involuntarily added to the ranks of the unemployed. Whether its your company moving in a new direction, downsizing, cutting it’s workforce, picking up and moving to another city or country where wages are lower, or you find yourself fired, you’re out of work. In any of these situations, you’re going to spend some time (short for some, longer for others) in a state of shock and denial. This stage is not the best time to be intelligently putting together your resume. You’re not going to produce your best.
You may also find that your old resume is locked securely in your desk drawers at work, and you no longer have access to it. All those dates, training courses you’ve taken, certificates you earned; oh how much easier it would be to recall them all if you could just browse your file where you kept that information. You may eventually get that information, but it means contacting the employer or HR, and you’re just too angry to do that with grace and class.
On the positive side, let’s assume you don’t lose your position. In fact, let’s go in the other direction and view you working with a proactive Supervisor who takes an active interest in their immediate employees. He or she comes to you and talks about wanting to help you grow and re-ignite that desire for self-improvement. You look at potential opportunities together and realize there are some positions in the organization that you hadn’t previously considered and now want to apply to. You’re going to need a decent resume and in short order. So much easier if the resume is fairly up to date to start with.
Now these are but two kinds of situations you might find yourself in. Others might be that while the organization as a whole is going to stay solvent, the department you are in is penciled in for dismantling. Move quickly and make a lateral move or risk being out on the street. What about a physical move to another city by your spouse requiring you too to journey to another location where you have to look for a new job? Yes, that too would be so much easier with a resume already relatively current.
But I suspect that you are still clinging to the notion that this is a good idea for others but not for you. I for one sincerely hope you don’t find yourself looking back and chastising yourself for not heeding such advice while you had the luxury of time.
While resume construction isn’t something that gets people all excited, it does make a lot of sense to do, even if just to remind you what you’ve done, achieved and the scope of the skills you’ve used and now possess. Do it well and you’ll look at yourself on that marketing document and feel pretty good about yourself. Let a co-worker seemingly see it by chance and you can have some fun with the rumour mills in your workplace too as they whisper to everyone that you must be moving on even if you’ve got no plans to do so!
Still, this advice is like telling someone to set aside a fund for their next car when they’ve only had the current car for six months. “Yes, good idea but I’ll worry about that in the future”. Let’s hope that car you’re driving now lasts and you do start that fund soon so you don’t find yourself having no money to put down on the next one because you never got around to it.
Remember you don’t have to do your resume in one shot. You can start with your contact information which only takes a few moments. You can gather all your certificates from the folder in your desk or look at the walls if you mounted them there and get the proper names of courses and the all important dates.
You could start with your current job description or get a current one from HR and then write down the things you’ve accomplished in your job or are in the process of accomplishing. What kind of impact are you having on the bottom line or the people you work for?
So my challenge is for you to take action now and start working on your CV or resume. Make a copy and take it home so it’s accessible no matter what. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities, news, forthcoming changes etc. Don’t wait until it’s too late and you’re scrambling. Few people do their best work under such pressure!