Thursday, February 26, 2009

Keeping Your Executive Resume Current

Many people do not like the idea of keeping their resume up-to-date, and for a number of reasons. It may require that you admit that your job is not as secure as you wish, it may seem like too much of a chore, it may seem too difficult, or it could just be that you don't feel you have the time. However, maintaining a current executive resume, particularly for those in executive careers, is a wise decision for a number of reasons.

Yes, the job market is volatile, and even though no one likes to think about it, your job may not be as secure as you believe. Having a current resume is like having an insurance policy; should the worst happen, you'll be prepared. When unexpected layoffs, mergers, or changes in job functions occur, the stress compounds when it comes to updating that resume. For those who keep a current file, however, that stress can be greatly reduced, allowing you to focus on executive jobs rather than your paperwork.
Another, more positive reason to keep a current resume is that you never know when an opportunity may present itself. When you have reached the executive level, chances are much greater that an executive recruiter or another firm will call. If it's one of those opportunities that is too good to pass up (or at least investigate), having an updated resume is a distinct advantage. The option may be fleeting, and your competition may not be as savvy as you. While they struggle to update their resume, you can hand over an executive package complete with resume, biography, and sample projects summarizing your executive career.

Time can definitely be a problem, so consider keeping a file strictly for your resume and portfolio. Even details from the most impressive accomplishments can fade with time. As you complete projects, make a few notes, copy the numbers, and add the information to your file. As you receive positive feedback from senior management, customers, board members, or shareholders, keep records of this information as well. A quality quote or recommendation from a superior can sometimes spice up a resume or executive biography perfectly.

Hiring a professional for writing or executive coaching can also be a great time saver, particularly if you're one of the many people who feel intimidated by the resume writing process. A professional resume writer and career coach will have a good understanding of your industry and know the best keywords and phrases to include, while still tailoring your resume to your unique situation. When time is a factor, many will be able to provide a fast turnaround.

Regardless of whether or not you enlist the help of a professional, it's a good idea to keep your resume file current. Even the best professional will not be able to pull your accomplishments out of the air--you need to keep track of the important information. A good resume will quantify achievements, so pay particular attention to the numbers and other quantifiers. How much money did you save? Did you considerably shorten a process? Remember that time save equals money saved. Keep track of sales figures as well--if the company realized a significant increase in profit during your executive tenure, you'll want to make note of that as well!

Finally, another good reason to keep your executive resume current is that it keeps your achievements fresh in your mind. As a business professional, you understand the importance of networking, for both yourself and your company. Use your updated resume to create a mini sales pitch that use can use as needed to sell yourself as an executive professional and to sell your company. You never know when an opportunity to promote yourself and your business will present itself. Stay ahead of the competition and be prepared.