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The Importance of Being Resume-Ready

Especially If You&rsquore Not Actively Job Searching

Author: Katherine S. Prieto

We often think about updating our resumes when we decide it&rsquos time for a change: increased potential for growth, income, or elevated job status. When we take this approach, it&rsquos easy to spend more time updating or rebuilding our resumes than on researching or submitting applications for the ideal position. It&rsquos an easy trap to fall into, and because of it, we know the importance of keeping our resumes updated in anticipation for calculated opportunities. However, we often forget about the many benefits having one provides outside of intentional career navigation. While an accessible, updated resume offers numerous benefits, this article discusses three ways regular resume maintenance can be advantageous to passive personal growth and development: prevention of scope creep, identification of appropriate monetary worth, and preparation for unforeseen opportunities.

Scope Creep

Scope creep often occurs when control of a project or parameters of a role become blurred. This can happen when expectations are not communicated, roles are not clearly defined, or large-scale turnover causes an employee or team to pick up interim slack.

One of the best ways to review scope creep and determine what is truly on your desk is by regularly maintaining and updating your resume. Accurate portrayal of tasks, skills, and abilities necessary to fulfill the current role shed light on often overlooked responsibilities. Key words to consider in evaluating scope creep via resume are “title” and “task.” If the title is, “Associate Director” and the task is “oversee office administrators,” then chances are that it is within an Associate Director&rsquos scope to oversee a team of other roles necessary to complete administrative operations. However, if the title is the same but the task changes to “complete data entry from customer application,” then it is likely that the Associate Director is experiencing scope creep and has somehow become responsible for a task better suited for the team of administrators they manage. Regularly correlating title to task during resume maintenance will help to identify scope creep in a timely manner and open your desk to opportunities of growth that are more appropriate for our role and salary level.

Monetary Worth

Such as with scope creep, when regularly maintaining a resume, it is crucial to correlate “title” and “task” to determine the monetary value of the work you are completing. This is especially important in identifying tasks that are above title and pay grade. In many cases where employees are both loyal and skilled, it is easy to overlook the fiscal worth of the work they are doing and its correlation with income. How often do we say, “Sure, I can help with that,” knowing that we have the skills to assist and wanting to improve rapport? Regularly reviewing and updating your current position on your resume can help determine if the work you are doing warrants a request for increased salary, and if submitted, acts as concrete evidence to support the request.

Unforeseen Opportunities

We don&rsquot know what we don&rsquot know, meaning we don&rsquot always know what opportunities for advancement or redirection are out there. Some of them are actively searched for; others seem to appear unexpectedly. Your current company has an open position for advancement. A recruiter calls asking if you&rsquore available for new opportunities. A friend tells you their company has a role that you would be perfect for. If you say yes to any of these scenarios, the likely response will be, “Great! Send me your resume!” While sending the resume may not be dire or urgent, timeliness plays a vital role in representing yourself as the ideal candidate and ensures your skills and qualifications will be reviewed in the first wave of applicants. A regularly updated resume that is quickly accessible makes for a speedy review-and-submit before sending it out for your next big break.

Review of Best Practices

Having an updated resume on file is not only beneficial for planned career growth, but is also advantageous for passive and spontaneous personal development. Regularly maintaining resumes with current tasks, responsibilities, enhanced skills, and certifications ensures that the qualities making you the ideal candidate are highlighted and housed in one, accessible document.

How often do you review and update your resume? If it&rsquos less than twice a year, consider a bi-annual or quarterly routine to reflect on your current role. Use the “title” to “task” method for identifying scope creep and determining the monetary value of the work you&rsquore providing. For unforeseen opportunities, be prepared. You never know what possibilities await you, if you have an accurate, accessible resume!