I have done something I tell others not to do, and I feel some HR shame about it.
I’ve avoided updating my resume.
I mean really, why should I? I’ve got a great gig, and I am a solid performer. Why bother? I’ve had it on my New Year’s resolution list since 2016, and I continue to mentally add it every year. And then I continue to successfully avoid the task, all the while, helping others edit theirs. I even ran a Resume Review this year. The irony is not lost.
But now is the perfect time to update my resume. I’m not complacent, but I’m happy. I’ve got access to performance appraisals plus year-end reports that give me a clear idea of accomplishments I can champion. It’s all very fresh and easy to detail out. I’ve got a peer that will happily edit my resume if I can just take the time to update the doc, and I should be ready…ready for that next opportunity. I work for a very large company and that opportunity could come at any minute…and all could be lost if I need a week to pull together my resume. Or I could be faced with one of those bucket list moments, one of those jobs at one of those companies on my “list” that I just have to go for. And again, am I ready?
But I can’t use one of those pretty templates, I just can’t make the info fit. But I do have to streamline. Thankfully, I have a copy of my prior resume, so at least a starting point. I fold in my current employment and add those highlights. I hem and haw how to detail some of the accomplishments, so much of the work is team focused and collaborative. I focus on detailing my experience for the past 10 years, and anything prior to 2008 is now falling under the category of “additional experience.” I leave off volunteer work and add in publications and speaking gigs and all those certifications. Mainly because I’m a classic introvert, and it’s important for a future manager to know that I’m good at public speaking and can step out of my shell on demand.
I take my peer up on their offer and ask them to review my resume. I’m
Turns out, it’s not awful.
And my recruiter friend did a few things that were incredibly helpful:
- Sample resumes. These were helpful from a formatting standpoint, guiding me towards a visual aid with appropriate font, format, and additional information (like a one-to-two sentence summary about employer and gig). My peer is an Executive Recruiter and views hundreds of resumes on annual basis. I got two examples, and that’s all that was needed to set me on the right formatting path.
- Prioritize the achievements. When you are writing your resume, you are too close to the content. Another set of eyes really guides you in how to clearly prioritize the most important wins, especially if the other set of eyes understands what you want to do next in your career.
- Question the content. That fresh set of eyes? It’s helpful if they don’t know everything about you. My peer has only known me for a couple of years and could question what was on my resume and what should not be on my resume.
- Encourage me to have the resume accessible. Store it on my phone, in Google Drive, LinkedIn, and in a .pdf format so it’s ready to go when needed.
The end result? I met the two-page challenge. Now I’m ready for whatever may be next.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.