It’s the Boy Scout motto, and also a very good song from one of the greatest Disney films of all time, The Lion King. Scar, the villain of the movie and brother to King Mufasa, has coveted the power of the throne for years. He has planned. He has schemed. And he sings to his hyena army of the importance of preparation so that you can take advantage of the opportunity when it arrives. (Though, of course, fratricide, regicide and and any other -icide are to be avoided.)
When I was applying for admission to the Hugo Wall School of Public Affairs to obtain certification in Non-Profit Management, I found myself unprepared for one important aspect of the application process that working professionals have to navigate: the resume. It had been over three years since I had last sat down and really prepared a resume. I wasn’t expecting them to ask for one as part of the admissions process. But they did, and I was operating under a deadline…they needed the resume that evening. So I spent several hours trying to craft a resume under deadline. It was accepted, and I began classes soon afterwards. But it left me uncomfortable knowing that I had put myself in a situation where I was forced to craft such an important document so quickly.
Those of us who are classified as Millennials know that life is uncertain, and that includes your job. We grew up watching our houses get foreclosed, our parents and friend’s parents jobs evaporate along with their savings, and education no longer being a reliable path towards good employment and a middle class life. For us, change is the only constant. That is one of the major factors in lower home ownership numbers and shorter periods in jobs; we have to be ready to accept any opportunity that comes our way, especially knowing that your position is always at risk.
This is why, even if you are satisfied with your current position and you feel like it is relatively stable, you should always keep your resume up to date and available. Your resume is a very important key to unlock new opportunities, and you don’t want to be in a position where you need a job but you haven’t looked at your resume in years. Creating such an important document under deadline is not the best way to make sure you are putting your best foot forward for potential employers.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Review your resume at least quarterly. Make sure your skills are still relevant and up to date. If not, update them.
- When you take on new responsibilities or projects at work, update your resume to reflect them. Important: Don’t wait until you have completed the project…get it out there as soon as you start.
- Hop on the job boards and look up your position or the position you would like to have. Review several announcements for keywords and skills required and match them with your own skill set. When you have a match, make sure to add it to your resume.
- Bonus Tip: If you notice a skill in demand that you don’t have, think about ways to get it either through your current position or through certification or online learning.
Once you have an up-to-date resume, I also recommend immediately adding it to various job sites like Monster, Career Builder and updating your LinkedIn profile as well. This is for two reasons: First and foremost, it prevents you from forgetting about it after you update the information. Second, it makes you available for opportunities you may not know about. Even if you are satisfied at your current position, you should always be in a position to accept a new opportunity if a good one comes your way. Remember…change is constant. Be prepared!