A well-crafted resume is indispensable, even when you’re not unemployed. A resume is a living, breathing document you can turn to at a moment’s notice for all manner of guidance. These career historians and bridge-builders can synthesize your professional and personal life in ways you might not have considered. They are record-keepers, brag walls, path makers and gatekeepers, and they can be the trail leading you back to the work you loved and lost.
Let’s look at how resumes:
- care for and feed not just our careers but our souls
- chronicle skills that might have gone unnoticed
- give us credit for “failed” projects
- help us find our true “heart’s desire” when it comes to work
Care and feeding
Updating your resume is like adding nutrients in the care and feeding of not just your career, but yourself. When you experience a setback, professionally or personally, pulling up your resume is a great way to remind yourself what you’re truly capable of; that you’ve had achievements, that you’ve built strong skill sets, and that you’re capable of a lot more than you’re giving yourself credit for. And it can remind you of places in your career you once explored and might want to revisit.
Anomalies? Not necessarily
By updating your resume frequently, you’ll chronicle the addition of skills that might slip through the cracks otherwise. If you did it once, you can do it again. Let’s say you work in HR. Your boss asks you to plan a special training for new hires, something you’ve never done before and might never do again. It occurs to you that even though Excel isn’t your thing, you can use it to keep your planning process on track, ensure that you’ve got the trainers scheduled, document that IT knows to be there to ensure the PowerPoint presentations run smoothly, and documents the procedure for others.
Add those details to your resume while they’re fresh. It’s easy to forget about all that once the project is over. But if you add that experience, detailing what you accomplished and how you used Excel to do it, you’ll be able to draw on the experience up the road, proving organizational, project management, training and technical skills. Again, you did it once and can do it again. What feels like an anomaly in terms of your skills and abilities can be useful after all.
Credit for “failed” projects
What if a project you were instrumental in never went anywhere? It might still belong on a resume and it might still say good things about you. If your role in that “project to nowhere” was a constructive one, include it on your resume without mentioning the project’s untimely demise. If it comes up in an interview, say something like, “Even though the decision was made to halt the project in the early stages, I made key contributions that taught me a lot about my abilities and interests.”
Moving up in the organization
Resumes can play a part in helping us grow within organizations where we already work. When opportunities arise in your department or elsewhere in the company, your resume can be your guide to selling the powers that be on how you’re the one for the job.
The magic tome
These documents called resumes tell us a lot about ourselves, helping us remember what once lit a fire under us along with what we didn’t feel that hot about. Throw it all into your resume – even if it results in a 10-page doc! Pull from it what is useful, and let that magic tome serve as a portrait of you, your skills, your past ambitions and the goals that might be again.
Bread crumbs and time machines
Remember what we said about work that was once loved but lost? By writing it all down, you leave a trail that can lead you back to more satisfying work should the day come when you’re no longer happy with what you’re doing.
A resume is a time machine that can propel you forward even as it guides you back. It really is that powerful.
Good luck and we are here to help!
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