This article first appeared on the Kung Fu Drafter website on February 13th, 2012
We want to tell you a story about a close friend of ours. Let’s call him Steve. Steve has spent the past seven years working for the same firm as a CAD manager. Most of Steve’s days were good, some better than others. He liked most of the people he worked with and had no real problems. His boss liked his work and things seemed fine. Then one day, Steve lost his job.
Reason 1: The Unwelcome Surprise
It’s very rare that we hear of someone “expecting” to lose their job. Far more often this sort of thing comes as a terrible surprise; a shock to the system. One day things are fine and you are complaining about the work piling up. The next, you are contemplating no longer having a job. It’s all very sudden.
So sudden in fact that Steve didn’t have his resume ready for this unexpected turn of events. Why would he? Steve had a good job for seven years. He had no expectation of needing a resume any time soon. He was not even sure where the file for his resume was stored. Was it on his desktop at home? On a flash drive in his laptop bag? Lord, was it on his work PC?
Reason 2: Not So Up to Date
Actually, in Steve’s mind, it is almost unimaginable that he would need a resume ever again. It has been seven years, after all, since he has even looked at it. Seven years! That’s why it is seven years out of date.
When it comes to this sort of situation, the comment we almost never fail to hear is “I need to update my resume. It’s years out of date!” You don’t have to be lazy or absent minded to let your resume fall out of date. In fact, if this situation were to speak anything about you it wouldn’t say “this person is lazy.” It would say “this person is loyal to his current employer.” You simply do not expect to look for another job so you don’t see any point in updating your resume.
The only thing you use a resume for is getting a job. Right? Wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Reason 3: Resumes Aren’t Just for Job Hunts
A resume is not a page that says “I need a job.” No, it is summation of a person’s skill and experience. It is the repository of your professional history where you state the worth, potential and actual, of your professional history. In that sense the European term “Curriculum Vitae” (literally “the course of life”) is probably a much more appropriate term.
It’s true that the number one purpose of a resume that comes to mind is for job hunting. But there are other uses. Many corporations use resumes to determine things like promotion and project team management. Your resume can also be used to expand your current employment position or negotiate your compensation!
Your resume is also an excellent resource for biographical information for publications and presentations. Similarly a resume can be used to expand your current position through submission for public speaking event. All of these opportunities can both enhance your current industry standing and enhance your resume! As long as you keep it up to date.
So What About Steve
Steve learned that his resume is not a key to the secret doorway of employment, to be disposed of once you get the job. He realized that his resume is an important facet of his skill set, but it was one he had neglected for too long. And now, that he was in desperate need, he had to update that skill before he could find new employment. But update he did and now Steve is back on track to finding his next job.
Hopefully our little story has made you think about your own resume and realize the importance of keeping it up to date. We never like to think about the need to use our resumes, but we must be prepared should the need arise. As for Steve’s story, all we can do is hope that it will soon have a happy ending …