Time For A Tune Up

Periodically, just about everything needs a little tune-up.  You know?  Maintenance!   Not necessarily a major overhaul, but the kind of routine attention that keeps systems working as optimally as possible.  The first thing that requires a tune-up is our bodies so they can serve us for many years to come.  Our cars and other transportation devices need regular tune-ups to get us where we need to go.  But you should also remember to give a tune up to your resumes and professional profile every now and again too, to make sure they represent the progress you’ve made over time and improve your chances for career growth and development.
I’m not referring to updating your status on your social network of choice, although a little humble bragging about a professional achievement is worthy of posting!  But keeping your resume and professional profiles up-to-date – even if you’re not actively looking for a job – will convey your recent activities, successes, your mastery of new skills, professional memberships and your participation in their related activities, promotions you’ve received, and relevant education, learning, certifications, and honors .
Why is it important to maintain these things, even if you’re not actively looking for a job?
In many fields, employers are doing more and more recruiting by looking at the online profiles, LinkedIn pages, and even the websites of their competitors to source potential hires, even though they may not have any openings.  Increasingly, hiring managers and human resources staff actively recruit employees from other companies, called “poaching”, to lure workers that have the skills and experience an employer needs.  If you’re building your credentials and trying to make a name for yourself within your industry, having an updated and finely tuned profile is a good way to help employers understand what you do and the experiences you’ve had that may be relevant to their goals.
In this age of social networking, the importance of nurturing real-world connections and communication should not be discounted.  Not everyone is lucky enough to already have the direct contacts needed to attract the recognition that gets them hired.  All the more reason to keep up your face-to-face networking, no matter where you are in your career!  It’s not just the people you know, but the connections of your contacts too.  You can’t be shy about letting others know who you are, what you do, and what you’re looking for.  And it’s just as important to encourage others to do the same for you!  If one of your personal contacts, through someone you don’t know, becomes aware of a position for which you qualify – even if you already have another job – your acquaintances can direct their contacts (the employers and recruiters they know) to look at your profile to gauge your appropriateness to fill their hiring needs.  If your professional profiles are out-of-date or incomplete, not only do you present an incomplete picture of what you can do for prospective employers, you also potentially cause embarrassment to the person who spoke on your behalf.  Neither benefits you!
Before you post anything or distribute a new version of your resume, write down all the skills and experience you’ve gained, and accomplishments you’ve achieved since you last update.  This could be a long list if you haven’t tuned up your documents in a few years!  After you’ve gotten it all noted, choose the accomplishments most important and relevant to your career objectives, and merge this new information into your older versions. Maybe you’ll need or want to take out the oldest or least relevant information to make your document as strong as possible, or comply with special considerations.   To make your life easier, the professional networking sites have tutorials to walk you through the process and provide clear examples of how and what to post.
If you are among the long-term unemployed, you should still tune up your documents.  Add comments about your own professional growth and learning, or any positive thing you’ve done that relates to the type of work you’re looking for, including volunteer efforts!  If you haven’t done anything to update your skills and experience, start doing so as soon as possible.  Take a class at your local community college, get a certificate from an online training course, create a blog or become a regular contributor to online discussions about your industry.  Join an association or a committee in a local service organization if you can’t find something that’s industry related.  You’ll be able to add things that indicate professional growth and development in no time.
Luckily, giving your documents a tune-up doesn’t require professional intervention.  Sure, you can get help from career development specialists (like yours truly), but in most cases updating your profiles and resumes doesn’t require an advanced degree.  So spend some time giving your documents a tune-up.  And don’t forget to check under the hood (read:  remember to change your oil and get that colonoscopy)!
For more tips on job search, career development and giving your documents their proper tune-up, please search this blog and visit:  hanklondon.com