"Have it for a rainy day” is an expression that most of us are familiar with. You never know when you will have an unexpected downpour of misfortune, so be prepared. This is true in your career, as well. Many people are caught by surprise during a corporate layoff. After the initial shock, followed by anger, you realize that you have not updated your résumé in years. Being prepared for this “rainy day” will foster some level of preparedness to help you find the sunshine once again. Here are three simple ways that you can ensure your résumé is ready should you need to get going with a job search in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
1. Track your accomplishments. It can be challenging to remember achievements from a few years ago. You probably know what you did in general terms, but the measured results may be tough to recall. Keep a folder where you can store e-mails, reports and performance evaluations that document your achievements and the statistics. It only takes a few seconds to tuck this data into a safe place for review at a later date. When it is time to update your résumé, you will be glad you saved those documents.
2. Keep your LinkedIn profile current. Your LinkedIn profile is much easier to update and maintain than your résumé. You don’t have to be concerned about the appearance or spacing. You can quickly drop in a few lines about a recent project or new certification. Also, you are probably on your LinkedIn profile page at least once every week or two. Each time you are on LinkedIn, it is a reminder to add important new accomplishments.
3. Refresh your résumé twice annually. Waiting one or two—or more—years to update your résumé can be a large endeavor. The thought of such an effort can cause you to delay until you absolutely need a résumé. Rather than wait that long, update your résumé at least twice annually. Follow this checklist when performing your refresh:
• Have your career goals changed?
• Do you have a new position, new employer, new award or new degree to add?
• What are your top accomplishments since your last update? Can you add a measured result for the accomplishment?
• Is your résumé style and format current?
On a rainy day, things will be more pleasant if you have an umbrella. You will have a better chance of career success if you are prepared for all scenarios, including layoffs. Be prepared by having your rainy day résumé plan, which will ensure that you have your critical information in place and an updated résumé ready to use.