Your career is a key project
Managing your career and your resume actively is an interesting exercise. It should be viewed as the most important project in your personal portfolio of projects. Why? Because the world of stable employment for decades in the same organization is long gone.
The pace of changes and innovations is way too fast. To survive it is important to be agile, and constantly adapt to the environment.
Even if someone thinks that he knows for sure where he will be in 5, 10, 15 or 20 years, it is all an illusion. Nobody knows. The future will be the future. Many unknown things will happen between now and 5 years, never mind what will happen in 20 years.
One of the best career site that I know of is Careerealism, and it says it very well:
The impact of changes on career
The fast pace of changes and innovations has important consequences on your career. First of all, the idea of a one-time education, acquired before your career is no longer relevant. Don’t get me wrong! I strongly believe that education and knowledge are essential. It is my favorite way to get an edge and a competitive advantage on the job market. Another easy way to have a competitive advantage is to know more than one language. Two is good, three is better. I am aiming for four: English, French, Spanish and Swedish. So the more diplomas and certifications you can have, the better it is for you. If you have a skill, and you can do a little extra to acquire a formal certification, do it! You will not regret it. And in my experience, you will likely learn something extra in preparing for that exam. Another key benefit of the advantage of knowledge is that it is with you, stays with you, and will leave with you. If for whatever reason, you lose your job, you leave with the knowledge. There is only so much that can go in a standard operating procedure.
Back to the idea that a one-time education is no longer sufficient. It used to be that you would learn a skill, trade, knowledge or profession, and could live on that knowledge for 30-40 years easily. The frequency of important changes and innovations was so low that every year of experience was an advantage. Now, things are different. The pace of changes and innovations is so fast, and will most likely just keep getting faster. Knowledge become obsolete and outdated quicker than ever. You have to keep learning and learning.
I love this quote: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler
Manage your career actively
All that to say that it is important to manage your career actively. It is also important to maintain your resume and support documents. I have been investing some effort in the past months to acquire more certifications, and refining my resume. I had to invest a lot of personal time lately in updating all documents and maintain a state of readiness. You never know when you may need to use them. You should never have to delay a response or miss an opportunity because you must update your resume or search for documents. Be ready!
Here are some key things to do:
Have your resume current and ready
You never know when you may need it. You want to maintain a state of readiness. Also, it is much easier to update when events are fresh in the memory than trying to remember the past 5 years of your life one day because you have to update and send your resume. It is also much easier to have a high-quality resume if you update and improve it frequently. A complete redesign of resume is difficult to do. Small continuous improvements are much easier to manage.
you probably need a classic resume based on the positions you had. However, if you worked on projects, like many interested in project management, you should also have a project-based resume. It provides a better view of your experience, the type of project you did, their size and complexity and your role in them.
Electronic Support Documents
Make a digital version of all support documents. This is 2014. Be ready to send a support document quickly electronically by email. So make a scan of all diplomas, certifications and other relevant support documents. I have them accessible anywhere from my box.com account. You could use other similar online cloud storage services. If this applies to you, have your work portfolio ready.
Diplomas and certifications
Acquire at regular interval a new diploma or certification. A full university diploma may be too much, but it is often not too hard to add a certification relevant to your work.
Keep your network alive. You never know when it could be useful, and it will open many more doors than you can imagine. The best way to do that is to give and help others. Participate in some online forum related to your work.
First have one. This is 2014. LinkedIn is part of professional networking in 2014. It is pointless to fight it with some rationalization. Second, just like your resume, keep improving it. Regular small improvements will give you an excellent profile. And probably a much better approach than trying to take a 3-day vacation to design the perfect profile.
Managing a career could not be left to random events of life. Manage your career actively. And be in a state of readiness, to be agile, able to react quickly to the events of life.
The extra box
Currently reading this interesting box from John Acuff, titled “Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job”
Michel Dion, PMP, CPA
Founder and Developer of Project-Aria
Discover my book:
Leadership Toolbox for Project Managers: Achieve Better Results in a Dynamic World