Whether you plan to job-hunt next year or not, an annual resume update is a very good idea. You are the CEO of your career. Your resume is your presentation to people who don’t know you. Make sure it still represents who you are!
When you take the time to reflect on the past year — or whatever period of time has elapsed since you last read your resume —you set intention for the year ahead. You tell the world and yourself “Here’s what I want.”
When you get ready to update your resume, there are a few important steps to take before you start writing.
You could simply open the resume document and check over the resume to make sure nothing important has changed, but how would that help you?
You can do more than add one or two bullet points to your resume when you give it a 2018 makeover.
You can put a tremendous amount of power and punch into your resume by adding a human voice.
You can tell anyone reading your resume (including yourself) not only what you’ve done professionally so far, but also a bit more — perhaps the reason you chose your field, or your specific take on your profession, or both.
It takes time and energy to put a human voice in your resume, because it requires you to ask and answer questions about your brand — that is, questions about who you are and want to be professionally, and what you want from your life and career.
Most of us don’t think of a resume-updating project as a deep exploration of our life goals, but it can be that — and it can only help you to step into your resume-updating adventure with that mindset.
Your resume starts with your name and contact details at the top of the page.
After that you’ll write a brief Summary that describes you and your background in a few words.
Your Summary is a mental frame you will build for the reader to step into:
I got into HR through the side door as a career counselor at my local community college. My goal as an HR Manager is to make my organization a great business and a great place to work — by recruiting and supporting talented employees, developing new leaders and building a vibrant, healthy culture for success.
Right now you might be thinking “I didn’t know I had to write a resume that gets into my motivations and my worldview about my profession. I didn’t think I had to think through all those topics!”
We never incorporated this information — why you chose your career, how you view your profession or what you’re passionate about — in a resume before. It’s a new millennium now! Even when they’re not aware of it, people want to learn about other people more than they need to read another boilerplate bullet point or more corporate jargon.
The standard resume format is dead and dusty. Readers have a hard time focusing on the details in your resume when the human life is sucked out of it. You are a real and amazing person, but a traditional resume won’t make that clear.
A boring, dusty resume will never get a reader’s attention. Also, a drone-type resume sends the message “I am anyone — or everyone. My goal in this resume is to sound exactly like everyone else.”
Drone-type resumes are dangerous. They flatten their owners out into identical robotic cubicle-filling units. That’s not the best way to bring your message across!
When you take the time to think about what you want to do next in your career, your pulse will quicken.
Your vision will sharpen.
You will have a bit of that elusive thing: clarity!
That clarity will help you as you begin updating your resume. Once you know who you want to be in the working world, it becomes much easier to write about yourself.
Can you submit your resume with its human voice into an Applicant Tracking System? Of course you can, but that is not the best way to reach your hiring manager.
Your new resume is designed to go through the mail in an envelope, stapled to a Pain Letter. It is designed to reach a hiring manager’s desk in hard copy form, shaking them out of their to-do-list-stupor for a few seconds. You can find that hiring manager using LinkedIn, Google and the firm’s own website.
Here are five things to do before you begin upgrading your resume for 2018:
1. Get a journal and write in it. Write about your career so far. Write about your ideal job, and why that job will be perfect for you.
2. Tell a friend that you’re thinking about your career. Pick a friend who is wise and real — someone who will tell you the truth and take the time to consider your question “What do you think I should be doing in my career?” Our good friends often know us better than we know ourselves.
3. Think about your childhood and early adulthood. What did you like to do the most? What were you really good at doing? What are you good at now?
4. Think about your ideal job. What would that job look like? In that job, what sorts of Business Pain will you solve for your employer?
5. Think about your past work, school and volunteer experiences. Begin to collect your Dragon-Slaying Stories. You will use them in the 2018 version of your fabulous resume!
The more reflection you do, the clearer your direction will be as you head into 2018. Any time you can stop in your tracks and get altitude on your life and career, grab the opportunity!