Monday, August 2, 2010
Your Career and You..."Spring Cleaning for the Present...and Future"
I spent this weekend reviewing resumes from a couple of friends and checking out some LinkedIn updates for others. Once again, the great epiphany fell from the sky and I realized that it was time for me to haul out my own resume and make sure it was current.
No, I'm not planning on going anywhere. I am incredibly happy at Curry College working with some amazingly experienced and supportive colleagues. But somewhere in my cyber-pile of stuff, I like to know that my professional life and accomplishments are documented...just in case.
Why? Because you never know when you might have a need for the information. And the years sneak up on you...along with the kudos for a job well done, volunteer activities that you're involved in...promotions.
I recently threw my name into the pile for a volunteer opportunity with the Public Relations Society of America. As part of the application process, I had to pretty much regurgitate the past 40 years of my professional life, including some recent honors and awards and some other volunteer activities.
I had let my resume lie fallow for about six months, and it was out of date, which meant my having to reconstruct the past roughly one year. Had to do some rapid scrambling to pull together all the current pieces.
The beauty of doing this "spring cleaning" exercise now...when you don't need it...is that you can approach the task from an objective point of view..."How does the format look?"..."Are the paragraphs and bullets lined up?"..."Where are the typos?"
When you're actively applying for a job, you have a tendency to look at your resume subjectively..."Do I address the needs of the future employer?"..."Do I have all the places I've worked and/or all my internships?"
You miss the other stuff...like typos, as I mentioned in an earlier post...that can come back to haunt you.
To be clear, you need to look at your resume both ways, but job search life is a lot less stressful when you've kept your stuff pretty much up to date.
Also, your perspective changes over time. Things that you thought sounded cool or important six months ago may not seem the same today. A resume is a living, breathing organism, and it grows and changes daily.
Finally, as I also have said a gazillion times, let someone else take a look at your stuff...preferably someone with more experience than you. If you're working, a trusted colleague or friend. If you're in college... undergraduate or graduate...let your advisor or your professor take a look. He or she most likely has been through this exercise enough to be able to offer some constructive guidance.
And, if you're in college...go see your Career Services folks...that's what they're there for!!
Bottom line...do your "spring cleaning" now, and you'll be prepared when the time is right for action.
"He who knows the enemy and himself
Will never in a hundred battles be at risk;
He who does not know the enemy but knows himself
Will sometimes win and sometimes lose;
He who knows neither the enemy nor himself
Will be at risk in every battle."
Sun-Tzu, The Art of Warfare, Chapter 13, "Planning the Attack"