We are all experiencing an unprecedented time that transforms on a minute-by-minute basis. If anyone had a dependable crystal ball to sell, he/she would become an overnight bazillionaire. Unfortunately, no one has solid answers and all of us seem to be grasping on to any scrap of positive news regarding our collective future.What will occur in your particular career, your particular industry, and your particular job? Very few have the luxury to understand that, but regardless, there is one thing you can do to empower your career today. Remember that old resume that’s been moldering in your computer for years as our economy has grown gangbusters? Well, may I suggest in the strongest of terms that you liberate that document and become well acquainted with it once again? Because we just don’t know, but being prepared is key to both your professional success and your ability to gain a sense of control over your future. In my work as an executive recruiter, I have seen an unsettling trend. People who have been laid off or furloughed are taking weeks to update their resume. I have a personal theory as to why. My experience is that when faced with the unknown, humans tend to go into a mind frame of either flight, flight, or freeze. Our choice to move into fight or flight have essentially been taken from us. So, that leaves freeze mode—that mental space where maybe we will deal with uncomfortable realities tomorrow, but for now, pass the chips and my weighted blanket. Yep, that’s freeze. I get freeze. I deeply honor the emotions engendered by fear and grief. Losing your job is just that…a huge loss. It’s a loss of identity and a loss of security. It might feel like a betrayal from a company you gave your all to. However, the optics of taking weeks (or even a week) to update a resume are not in your favor. No matter the position, employers want to hire resilient, driven individuals who embody intrinsic motivation. There is an unfavorable message communicated when time has elapsed while someone has been unemployed and a resume still requires significant updating when requested. I recently had a conversation with a gentlemen who had been laid off after a decade with the same organization. Understandably, he felt deeply distressed, yet, he had a killer draft of a resume created overnight. Kudos! I realize this is not always realistic after tough news. Really I do. But somehow we must dig into our mental reserves and get this vital document completed. Even if you are highly networked and have an in within an organization, human resources is going to want to see a resume before hiring you.
What about if you are happily employed? Please, do yourself a favor and brush up that resume anyway. We just don’t know what might happen. And, if an employer who is actually still in the process of hiring right now comes calling, I believe it behooves us all to at least have a conversation. As long as you can be assured of confidentiality in your process, it never hurts to understand the opportunities that still exist. And if you don’t end up needing that resume now, you’ll thank yourself in the future when you do.
With so much uncertainty in the world, updating and polishing your resume is a relatively easy way to help you sleep better at night. I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of sleep.
Shauna Packer is a national award-winning writer and a Senior Recruiter with the McSweeney Group.
...it never hurts to understand the opportunities that still exist.