A job seeker contacted me last week. We had talked a while back, but he decided he just wasn't ready to update his resume. He wanted to wait until he was ready, he said. Understandable, life is busy, so I figured he would contact me when the time was right.
But this time, he was frantic, and needed a resume - and he needed it fast. Why? Because his dream job had opened up, he just found out about it and the deadline to submit resumes was in two days. He had not updated his resume in four years, since he was hired in his current role. Not only that, he didn't really keep track of any of his successes and accomplishments in his current job, so he was almost in panic mode. Through some hard work, digging on both of our parts and communication back and forth, we got the resume in on time. Crisis averted. And in this case I actually knew the recruiter too, so he was able to get an interview set up because he not only applied through the company system, but was able to contact the recruiter directly and they were impressed with his matching background and the glowing recommendation I put forth on his behalf. The lesson was learned though, updating a resume now can help out in more ways than you realize later.
Here is how and why:
1. Stress reduction: There is nothing like panic setting in when that dream job opens up and you are not ready to apply. It doesn't even have to be a dream job - just a better job, or for some who are unemployed or underemployed - that new job they are hoping to apply to. With an existing, updated resume, all one has to do is make a few tweaks to direct it to that job and focus on networking instead of updating the resume.
2. More time to network: Notice the last statement in the above paragraph "more time to network.” If you have followed anything I write in the Star Tribune Jobs section, you will see I am a huge advocate of networking. Anytime a resume client contacts me, I ask him or her how they are networking, who they are contacting and what they are doing to reach out to people. A good resume - backed by a strong networking plan is what is needed in today's job market. Here's the problem though, without an updated resume, you can't network, because you are not prepared when that colleague, former boss, recruiter or HR person says "send me an updated copy of your resume." By this time, five other qualified candidates have already sent in their resume and are on that hiring manager's radar. Be ready in advance by updating your resume now.
3. Skills update: Notice how the client I referenced above didn't keep track of his skills and achievements? By updating your resume now, you are forced to look at what you have done in your current role. What new skills have you added? What additional training have you completed? What big projects did you work on? What new products did you launch? How about that promotion? What awards did you win? How have you succeeded as a manager? The list goes on. Updating your resume forces you to update and look into all those important items to be added to the new resume.
4. Fill in the skill gaps: By updating your resume now, it also covers another important step. It allows you to analyze your current skills and accomplishments and compare it to what is needed or asked for in job descriptions related to your field. For every job you are interested in, look at the job requirement, skills needed and background needed. Does your background fit? I mean, does it really fit or are you just pretending it fits because you really want the job? Are you missing key technical skills? Key leadership experience? Do you need to take on new projects to develop those skills? Are you short a few years of experience? Do you need more education? Are you missing the computer skills? An updated resume can help you fill in the missing pieces - before you want to apply for that job.
5. Confidence: If your resume is updated, you feel more confident in your job search. Why? Because you have a better understanding of what you have accomplished and how your skills, achievements and experiences can benefit and match the needs of the next employer. Your confidence will shine through when you network, whether it's in person, over the phone or via email - a more confident you will improve your professional image and make you stand out among your more sheepish, less prepared and intimidated peers.
Don't wait until it's too late. The best time to prepare for the next job, or that dream job, is when you have a job. Get ahead of the game and get ahead of your competition. Update your resume today, launch a successful job search tomorrow.
Want to update your resume now? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more about how Matt Krumrie can help you write your resume.