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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

You Are the Diamond—Your Résumé Is the Gift Box

Diamonds are the most precious of gems—we value them even with their imperfections. Human beings are a lot like diamonds; each of us is like a multi-faceted precious gem that develops over many years, sometimes under heat and pressure. When it comes to our accomplishments and careers, we shine more brilliantly when we keep an active, updated résumé. However, a surprising minority of us actually do, which means when new opportunities arise, our response is less than optimal—and potentially not our best.

Have you chronicled the events that made you the professional asset you are today? Have you recorded the years of heat and pressure—the challenges and experiences that have influenced your development and helped polish your skills? Like diamonds, we truly shine and radiate only in the right setting. What is the right setting to achieve our potential?

The quality of our work is shaped over years of diverse challenges, experiences and achievements. How have you kept track of these milestones along the way?

A résumé is a perfect place to chronicle experiences that have refined the value you offer. In a recent online survey of career professionals, the greatest majority of respondents reported that they update their résumé only when planning to change jobs or after they get a new position. A large number stated that they try to continuously update their résumé but it often turns out to be two to three years before they record changes and career accomplishments.

My work as a professional résumé writer validates this trend. Most clients seek help with their résumé when they need or want something—usually a new position. These individuals need to update their résumé to get what they want. However, it is usually more difficult to effectively document success when a lot of time has passed since it was achieved.

Proactive clients continuously update their résumé just in case they need to self-promote within their own company, and some wise individuals just want to be prepared should a recruiter call with a new opportunity. And although some clients tell me they document their specific achievements in a personal career file, the biggest trend is that people do not keep an up-to-date record of their success.

I’ve learned there are both easy and difficult ways (pay now vs. pay later) methods for updating résumés. My best analogy relates to tax season. How many of us wait until the last minute to document all of our expenses? When we do, the task becomes monumental. If we had simply done a little work each month, the task would be much less overwhelming. In addition, quality is more difficult to achieve when under a deadline.

Cultivating a network of references is another aspect of documenting your achievements and achieving your potential. It is important to stay connected to these gems—and not just during a transition period or job change. Take them out to lunch from time to time; listen to their career advancements. Send them an occasional note. It is much more important to be current with them as individuals than to simply know their current contact information. If you are scrambling for this information, you are likely also missing out on your own accomplishments in your résumé.

Your résumé is the gift box for a magnificent diamond: you! It can help you radiate and shine. You’re most likely to achieve your potential when you keep it up-to-date with these helpful tips:
  1. Be aware of résumé-worthy accomplishments as they happen. Incorporate them into your résumé periodically.
  2. Revisit your résumé or work with a professional résumé writer when you are not in the midst of a job change. 
  3. Cultivate your references along the way.

Many individuals have benefited greatly from utilizing an executive résumé service like JD Coaching and Consulting. Interested in learning more about what this type of service entails? Contact JD Coaching and Consulting today.

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