We’re in the midst of the busiest time of the year. Flash sales, mob crowds, deep discounts, holiday parties, family events, travel adventures. Expectations to give and receive all the latest technology: gadgets, toys, toy batteries — in every size. You’re running around, exasperated.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed this time of year. It’s also easy to lose one’s sense of self.
Usually, during this time, depending on one’s line of work, you’re either working a lot of long hours and late nights, especially if you’re in retail, restaurant or service industry, or you’ve got some down time, via work-paid holidays or even some vacation days off. Most offices are like ghost towns, particularly during the days surrounding Christmas and New Year’s.
As you plan out these weeks, I challenge you to also make time for yourself, especially when it comes to your career.
Don’t think of it as a resolution. Don’t attempt to write your entire resume in one day. Just block out 20 – 30 minutes a day and make yourself your priority.
Day 1: Print. As in go into your computer, find your most recent resume version and print it out. Next, shut off the Internet, the phone and any other distractions and read the document out loud. Does it reflect your most current you? Or an older version of someone you once were professionally?
Day 2: Reflect. What have you accomplished over the past year? You may want to reference your annual job review, though those tend to be far more subjective. But they are a good start. How much did you make a company? How much did you save? What kind of client did you secure? Did you get a promotion? Start adding these distinctions.
Day 3: Prune. Now that you’ve added things, what are you going to remove? Perhaps some of the older positions — or older accomplishments — no longer hold water to the successful employee you are today? Only you can decide.
Day 4. Volunteer. Maybe you’re volunteering during the holiday season. Take all the community work that you do and add it to the bottom of your resume so that you can signal a life outside the office. Don’t be afraid to add interests. These can be valuable talking points during your interview.
Day 5. Format. While the standard resume still holds true, there’s some wiggle room when it comes to font and layout. No matter what you do, be sure that it’s easy to read and that all the same information (company names, job titles, locations, dates, etc.) can be found in the same place and treated the same way, position to position.
Day 6. Socialize. Your resume can’t live in a vacuum. Whether you’re job hunting or not, be sure to update your LinkedIn profile, incorporating the highlights and key information. Be careful with hard numbers, though. LinkedIn is public and some company info is confidential. It’s acceptable to share to some of the figures on your physical resume, but it’s best to be a bit more general on social media.
Day 7. Upload. Get your resume live on the various career sites. This will help those sites collect and post the best opportunities for you. Select the best privacy options for you. Most sites will allow you to upload with your name and contact info to remain private, which is important for security issues, not to mention if you’re currently employed.
Day 8. Share. There’s a good chance you’ve had recruiters contact you. Check your inbox and contacts and drop them each a personal, quick message. Let them know that this is your current resume and if something specific of interest comes their way to keep you in mind. This makes their job easy and, most likely, you’ll be the first person they think of when the right opportunity appears.
Day 9. Risk. Apply for a job that you don’t think you’re qualified for. You never know what happens. Also, companies keep electronic resumes on file for a certain specified time period. Perhaps you don’t get that dream job but, down the line, the firm may contact you regarding another position that you are perfectly suited for and, eventually, get.
Day 10. Review. Ask someone you trust to review your resume. Be sure to respect their schedule and understand that you may have to pay them for their expertise. Give them permission to be honest. You may not like what they have to say. The good news is that you can take all or nothing of their feedback. However, know this: there’s always room for improvement and an objective professional may give you that one piece of goodness that will take your document to the next level.
Day 11. Schedule. Whatever calender program you use, be sure to schedule quarterly reviews of your resume and stick to those dates. If you don’t put yourself first, the rest of the world will put you last.
Day 12. Save. Save that document in multiple places. Whether you have a back up system or not, find several ways to save it off your hard drive so that if anything happens, you can easily retrieve it. One easy way to do this is to email it to yourself.
There you go. Now you can kick off your 2013 in professional style, ready for wonderful opportunities to come your way. And, if you’re still feeling even mildly guilty about giving yourself the attention that you deserve, realize that when that promotion or new job does become part of your reality, it will positively impact those those who already love you anyway.
A resume investment in yourself is the gift that keeps on giving… way after those toy batteries stop working.
First written in December 2012.
Reprinted with permission and gratitude from CoolCleveland.com.
Next CareerTOOLBOX Column: Change Your Career. Change Your Life. Part 1.