“All men have limits. They learn what they are and learn not to exceed them. I ignore mine.” ~ Batman
Riddle me this, Govies – you’ve worked at your current job for 8 years. Three out of four of your coworkers have been there less than two years each, with the fourth one closing in on the 25-year mark. Collectively, the five of you comprise 100 years of experience, and everyone is very happy in what they do. Which one of you should have the most up-to-date resume?
Answer – KAPOW — All of you! Now, let’s go to the Katcave (see what I did there?) and unmask some ways to get started.
Any recruiter or job site will give you the top things to think about when creating or updating your resume – a summary of qualifications, success stories as well as given responsibilities and, since most employers rely on these job sites, use of keywords for SEO. And all of that needs to be grammatically correct. #HolyAPStandards!
Here are a few other thoughts to consider on why you need to update your resume – looking for a job or not:
One – Life Happens
We are not always in control of whether we get to keep our jobs. Enough said.
Two – Positive Reinforcement
Whether calculating your escape from the likes of Two Face, The Joker and Poison Ivy or hanging up your cape at the end of a long day saving the world, it’s nice to get a pat on the back every once in a while. Find your loyal Alfred of friends (preferably one who’s got the A/P Stylebook memorized) and work on your resumes together. Chat about where you each see yourselves in five years. Share and write down your proudest accomplishments and talk about what you’re both great at. List these out as if you were taking an inventory of office supplies – descriptive and without judgement. Trade notes and compile each other’s long-form document. I’m not saying don’t use a professional resume writing service, but they don’t know you like Alfred does. Alfred will help you find the good stuff you over look because, well, you’re you.
Three – Beyond the Three Fs
Whether building a resume from scratch or updating one that’s over a decade old, it’s always good to do some research. Take an in-depth look at resumes from other top professionals – go beyond the font, format and formality. Study what they say and how they say it. Discover how they market themselves. That’s all a resume is, right, a concisely worded self-promo? Create the content of you, then add in the three Fs. Do a quick search for “Resume Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo!” to see what I mean. The layout is super cool, true, but you also genuinely learn about the woman behind the title. Who wouldn’t want to work with her?
Four – Be Like Batman
It’s an old meme, but it still holds true: “Always be yourself unless you can’t then always be Batman.” This superhero is unlike so many others in that he doesn’t have oddly conscripted super powers acquired from a nuclear explosion on Mars. He’s a simple guy with lots of great tools at his disposal. And so are we. We all have unique talents that no one else possesses in the same way. We all have the drive in us to save the world – or, at least, our little corner of it. We all have the capability of answering “the call” when it comes. Be ready for it.
Our resumes can be so much more than a laundry list of work history. Just so you know, with the help of a friend, some solid research and inspirational models, I walked my own talk, so to speak. Feel free to check it out and happy updating!
Kathleen Vaught is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.
I truly love your creativeness and I would hire you in a second because I value creativity. I know, however, especially in government, that a campy style resume would not be taken seriously. At this point in my career, that’s ok with me; I don’t want to work for someone who doesn’t appreciate creativity and a flavorful eye. So my question is, would you give the same advice to someone who is not creative, or who may just need a job and need it fast?
Laura – thanks for reading! This is a great question and one I’ve actually considered. I shared both of my resumes because I maintain both. While I believe everyone is creative – whether they believe it or not – I understand the over-the-top blue script font and quirky confessions won’t necessarily be the “right” one to use if applying for, say, an accounting position. However, I suggest that the act of going through a process like this is more about the discovery of our own positives that might get lost after years in the same job or with the “same ole resume.” The more we know about our true selves, our drivers and passions, and have those concrete reminders about our talents and accomplishments, the better we are able to market ourselves if we end up on the hunt. Some of the information found during a creative resume development might be go-to conversation material during an interview. Or reinforce that we are exactly where we need to be. And if someone needs a job fast, having two different resume styles might open up options when applying for various positions. Thanks!
What a cool article and I really like your writing style! I’m a big Batman fan so you really caught me with the 1960’s Bat-slang! Then I went and read your other articles, I look forward to reading much more from you,
Awesome blog. Thank you.
Love this! Well written and a creative spin on the dry, daunting topic of resumes. Going to follow your advice and go over resumes with a friend.
Thanks, Sheila! Good luck on the discovery process with a buddy. Let me know how it goes.
Awesome spin on this topic Kathleen! I am always guilty of not keeping my resume and Linkedin updated. Then the night before an interview I am scrambling to market my past jobs in the correct manner. I’ll have to take your points to keep it updated always! I especially like your point on working with a friend to share thoughts and help brainstorm ideas. Great great post!
Thanks! Who doesn’t love hanging out with friends and telling each other how great we are? 😉 And this way, everyone is a winner – you, your buddy and any prospective employer.