If you’re an unemployed professional it’s a no brainer that you need to make the investment in a professionally prepared resume as part of your job search portfolio, in order to stand out above the competition.
But does this truism also apply to professionals who are currently employed? Even if the more accurate unemployment rate is somewhere around 15% to 20%, this means at least 8 out of 10 Americans of working age have a job. And let’s assume the figure for out of work professionals and executives is as high as 25%, and the average time for them to find a new position is now 36+ weeks, this means that 75% of all professionals have a job, and therefore have no need for a professional resume at this time. This makes perfect sense – Right?
Wrong! In my opinion, and the opinion of most career service professionals and recruiters, every professional, manager and executive needs a professional resume on hand at all times, especially if there are one or more job changes ahead until they reach their ultimate career goals.
So why do so many professionals and executives who already have a job balk when it comes to professionally updating their resumes? From people in the know that I speak to, the answer seems to be two-fold.
1: They are unaware of the new reality of how the current job market works and are still under the old misconception that “the only time I need a resume is if I’m actively looking for a new job, and in a pinch I can update the old resume I used to get my last job.” In reality that resume is outdated and beyond the capacity to be updated into a 21st century marketing document.
2: In this economy too many professionals think staying put in a dead end position is the way to go; they subscribe to the “better safe than sorry” approach. This may be true for some but definitely not for all.
Well I’m going to let you all in on a ‘not so secret’ secret; this mindset is a career killer today as much as it was 5 or 25 years ago.
As I mentioned perhaps 75%-80% of America’s professionals, managers and executives have a job, but how many are now working in position they don’t enjoy. And how many are underemployed and/or underpaid because they need a paycheck? From the countless professionals I hear from the number is staggering.
So if you fall into this category you need a professional resume and you need to be looking for a new job before you reach the point of diminishing returns.
Although under the current economy and national leadership (the President and the Congress) job creation is moving ahead at a snail’s pace, the point of diminishing returns in a career remains constant, and so does the need for a professional resume and well thought-out career planning.
Consider this, if you stunt your career growth by allowing yourself to be content and stay where you are for too long, when the time arrives that you want to – or worse yet are forced to make a change, you are more likely to be less qualified than your competition to move upwards. And making a lateral move against younger and lower cost competition can be an impediment to your career as well; and you may end up in the long run having to settle for another position where you are underemployed and underpaid just to get a paycheck once again to cover the bills.
So point #1 is no matter what the pundits tell you, as a professional you must still plot your career wisely and be open to opportunity at all times.
Remember this in today’s economic reality, most professionals have limited job security, even after 5-10-20 years at the same company. Plus the opportunities for internal promotions are slowing as well unless you want to relocate. The great job you have today that pays the mortgage, tuition, insurance, car and utility bills, and puts food on the table can be gone completely or moved to Mumbai or Booneville, Missouri with only 2-4 week’s severance pay in the blink of an eye. So I tell every professional I meet that they need to be prepared to move quickly at any given moment to find a new job, because this could happen to anyone, and having a professional resume ready to go will save valuable time and aggravation if this scenario becomes a reality for you.
Here is another point to ponder. As a recruiter I position professionals and executives in 1 of 3 categories. They are either A’s / EO’s / or HBT’s. Being on my A list does not mean you’re a cream of the crop candidate. It stands for employed and unemployed professionals who were actively looking for a new job regardless of their qualifications. EO means you are gainfully employed but are career conscious enough to listen to potential opportunities, thus earning the designation ears open or EO. The final category, HBT, stands for happy beyond temptation. These are professionals who for whatever their reasoning, valid or misguided, will not listen to a recruiter’s pitch irrespective to what a recruiter has to offer.
My personal favorite candidates, and the ones I made the most money placing, were the EO’s. Why? Because they are generally well qualified and valued by their current employer, but more important they are career conscious and know that to get ahead in the business world when ‘opportunity knocks’ they have to be prepared to open the door and walk on through. However for an EO to walk through the door when a recruiter reaches out to them, they still need a competitive edge. This is why anyone in the EO category needs to have a professional resume in their back pocket at all times.
Finally, on average every six months on the job a professional, a manager and an executive will grow on the job, learn new skills, gain more experience and have more achievements to speak of. It is important that these be captured on paper at least once every six months, lest they be forgotten. If your resume is already professionally prepared reach out to the preparer and work together to update it, and if your most current resume is out of date in terms of its marketability as well as in terms of its content, then retire it to the antiquities file and invest in a new professionally written resume.
The bottom line is this, every professional, whether employed, unemployed or underemployed needs to have a resume that is professionally prepared available for use at a moments notice; unless you just put in your retirement papers. Still, if you are about to retire from the military, are taking early retirement mandatory retirement the likelihood is that you too will be looking for a new job or career and will need a professional resume to get on with your professional life.
Perry Newman, CPC CSMS is a nationally recognized executive resume writer, career coach, AIPC certified recruiter and SMMU certified social media strategist known for his ability to help his clients get results. You can view his sample resumes at http://www.perrynewman.com, and email him your resume at firstname.lastname@example.org for FREE resume critique.