Building a better resume requires that we see the document as a living map of our career path. When you’re good at what you do, when you’re comfortable in your job, and when you’re content with the direction that you’re career is taking…you don’t typically spend a whole lot of time thinking about what your next job might be, let alone the need to construct a better resume. However, keeping a resume current is an important aspect of a successful professional development plan.
A map is not a stagnant document. It is intended to help lead us forward and guide the way to a particular destination. If we can agree that a resume is a map of our career path, then it should also be understood that the best way to get to our particular destination is to keep our map as current as possible.
A resume can serve as the foundation of a professional development plan. It allows us to summarize and reflect on our career path, documenting our experience and achievements as we continue to move forward. But by keeping the document current, we are also granted an objective perspective on what we’ve done, as well as offering a point of view on what we may need to work on to help us get us where we want to go. As a vehicle for growth, crafting a better resume can be one of the most important tasks in your professional career.
An “opportunity” can be defined as an appropriate or favorable time or occasion; a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal; or a good position, chance or prospect for advancement or success. Nothing in that definition implies that the only time we should look for or respond to an opportunity is when we are unemployed or in an unfavorable career position. In fact, the best opportunities often come when we’re not looking for them. Waiting until a need or opportunity presents itself may lead to delays, mistakes or exclusions that can prove costly in landing the opportunity of a lifetime. Show the organization and foresight that comes with being prepared.
There are many different factors that go into building a better resume. But considering the time and effort that we put into our careers and the energy that goes into constructing a quality professional development plan, we should be willing to take the small steps that put us on a successful career path. Such details can make a big difference in the search process, and might guide others in their decisions as well.
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This post ws originally published in 2016 and was updated April 15, 2020.