Is Your Resume “Old News”? Think Resume Update

It’s the start of a new year, and you probably have a list of things you need or want to do. Looking at your resume might not be one of them unless you’re on the verge of launching a serious job search. (Some people don’t do it even then, although they should!)

The fact is, any point at which you’re not in or planning a near-term job search is an excellent time to haul out your existing resume and dust off the cobwebs. For one thing, you can do it without the added pressure that a full-blown job search exerts. That means you can give careful thought to the present condition of your resume, consider what might have changed since you last updated it, and take steps to refresh it.

5 Key Points to Consider for a Resume Update

  1. How long ago did you last do a resume update? If it was less than a year, you probably don’t need a complete overhaul. However, anything new that has happened since then, particularly if it has expanded your list of accomplishments, belongs in the resume. Why wait until later to put it there?
  2. If the last update was more than a year ago, has anything significant changed that really should be taken care of? For example, if your job title or scope of responsibility is different, you could be missing a bet by not adjusting your resume accordingly. It might increase your chances of landing the next big job opportunity when the time comes.
  3. Deadwood often needs to be pruned to make a tree healthy and more attractive. The same holds true for your resume. It’s not just that you don’t want to end up with a 6-page resume (you don’t!), but also you don’t want to advertise to potential employers that you’re either stuck in the past or not interested in moving forward in your career.
  4. Even if you had a great resume 5 years ago, times have probably changed since then. The language (wording) you used back then might be considered obsolete, out of date, or otherwise “old hat.” And if you don’t know what that last phrase means, look it up 🙂 .
  5. If you’ve moved in a new direction since your last resume update, the resume needs to reflect that new direction, including any significant changes in the nature or level of your responsibilities, as well as what you might have accomplished in that new area.

Does Your Resume Shout Value to Employers?

Well, no, your resume doesn’t exactly have to shout anything. However, it does need to make your unique value so clear that busy employers can’t possibly miss it in a quick scan–which is about all you can count on with that first look. It has to cause what I call the “eyebrow raising” moment. You know, where the employer goes, “Hey! Maybe we should talk to this person! He/she could be just what we’re looking for.”

If your existing resume doesn’t do that–whether it was last updated 5 years ago or 5 months ago, you have a different challenge: what do you need to do to make that raised-eyebrow reaction happen? For the purposes of this post, though, I suggest that you think in terms of doing a resume update that also (not coincidentally) sharpens your value-added message to employers. That way, your resume won’t be mistaken for “old news” that an employer can afford to skip over. And isn’t that what you want?

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Career Success–No Fear in 2015

With all that’s been going on in the world during the past months and years, you might roll your eyes at the very thought that you could pursue career success without fear this year, and it would be hard to blame you. However, I’d like to offer some encouragement with this thought: fear paralyzes; hope energizes.

I know it’s easier said than done to tell you to put fear aside as you plan your career steps this year. Like you, I’m not immune to the jabs that fear can take at us when we try to move forward in a desired direction. What helps each of us might not be the same for all, but for me, looking beyond my own admittedly limited resources plays a key role. The main point is to find what works best for you and put it into practice.

No Fear in the New Year

Jon Gordon revises his newsletter column titled “No Fear in the New Year” every year, and I always enjoy reading it. His experience 14 years ago might inspire you to look differently at your own situation, however challenging it seems, so I encourage you to read the entire article (signing up for his newsletter is easy and free).

One excerpt that resonates with me is this: “You will always feel fear. Everyone will. But your trust must be bigger than your fear. The bigger your trust the smaller your fear becomes. And the more you trust the more you become a conduit for miracles.”

He then goes on to explain how a financially grim picture was completely transformed in ways he couldn’t have predicted at the start. Within four short years he was in an amazing place in his career and his life. What’s to say you couldn’t experience a similar transformation in terms of your own career success, whether it’s a short-term job search or a longer-term career change?

Big Leaps Can Bring Big Rewards

Making a big leap in your career management (including things like a major job change) can seem really daunting at times. It’s what a respected colleague of mine once called “big gulp” time!

Now I’m not advocating an action such as the adoption of bungee-jumping as a spur to tackling difficult career challenges (although that might work for some of you!). I’m just saying that we sometimes need to move well outside our comfort zone if we hope to achieve a significant growth goal in our career–or in our life, for that matter.

For me, personally, this view has meant considering–and now actively planning–a cross-country move from California to Massachusetts to be near my sister. Many aspects of this planned relocation are challenging, not the least of which is eventually driving myself, my son and two small dogs more than 3,000 miles. Until now, my idea of a long drive has been 3-4 hours, tops.

I can’t foresee all the possible obstacles to be overcome in achieving this goal, but I do know I have a strong reason for doing it, and that motivates me. That might also be what helps you to move forward–to get past the fear you feel at the thought of making a big change in an uncertain world. I certainly hope it does and you reach the end of 2015 with a resounding “YES!” at how far you’ve come.


New Year–New Job Search?

Did your new year get off to a strong start? If not, don’t worry. There’s plenty of time to make a course correction. However, if you were thinking about launching a new job search this year, you’ve already missed your chance to gain early momentum (late December would have been a good time for that). As the saying goes, though, “all is not lost.” You just need to get cracking!

Key Points for Your Job Search

As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” That’s probably as true for job searching and career management requirements as for anything else in life. While keeping that in mind, the following are still potentially valid points to consider in planning and conducting your next job search:

  • Last year’s trends might not be this year’s trends. Be aware of them and remain alert to signs that the “old” ones are either strengthening or diminishing in the coming weeks and months, but don’t get fixated on them as you develop and adjust your career management plan throughout the year.
  • Complacency is not your friend. Don’t allow the comfort of your current situation (if comfort exists) to lull you into a false sense of security, as a result of which you let active job search energy dissipate into nothingness.
  • Revitalize your network. Touch base with key people in your network to (a) see how their year is going, ask how last year was for them, etc.; and (b) share with them appropriate information about what you’re up to. The main point is to demonstrate sincere interest in them, and you’ll probably find that interest reflected back to you.
  • Ignorance is definitely not bliss. Although you don’t necessarily have to be on your (mental) toes nonstop, you shouldn’t assume that what you don’t know won’t hurt you. Make it an important part of your job search and ongoing career management to stay on top of emerging developments that could affect your career and/or your job prospects, either adversely or favorably.

Job Search Preparation and Execution

Preparation is the process of getting ready for something or taking the steps necessary to make it happen. While getting ready for your job search (making plans) is certainly important, remember that plans that are never executed do not produce desirable results–they can’t. A job search that stays in your mind amounts to nothing more than wishful thinking.

Wishful thinking never accomplished anything worthwhile. Note: This is different from dreaming and visualizing a goal that impels you to take action to achieve it. Action is a key component of that process.

Where do you really want to be at this time next year? What do you want to see yourself doing? Figure that out as soon as you can and begin moving in that direction.

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Do or say it now, as in Go ahead and call him—there’s no time like the present. This adage was first recorded in 1562. One compiler of proverbs, John Trusler, amplified it: “No time like the present, a thousand unforeseen circumstances may interrupt you at a future time” ( Proverbs Exemplified, 1790).
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary, Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company.