Feature: You Need a Resume and a Career Record

Feature: You Need a Resume and a Career Record

Feature: You Need a Resume and a Career Record

Most of us spend the majority of our waking day at work, and the only record we have of that time and effort is a resume. We invest inordinate amounts of energy and emotion in our employment and memorialize that commitment in a document that is often out-of-date and incomplete. We strive to be the best we can be in our profession, craft or trade and keep track of our progress in a document that is limited to two pages and forced into a format dictated by employers. And when we do all of that-when we rely on a resume alone to manage our careers and celebrate our success-we sell ourselves short.

So, what do I propose? Well, in my view, all of us should maintain two employment-related documents: a resume and something I call a career record. What’s the difference? Take a look below.

Your Resume

  • It’s normally written and/or updated only when you are actively looking for a job.
  • Its purpose is to sell you to an employer by describing what you’ve done in the past that might be useful to the organization in the future.
  • Writing it is about as much fun as getting a root canal.
  • Your Career Record

  • It’s written continuously and reviewed quarterly. Think of it as a diary of your progress and your success in the world of work.
  • Its purposes are (1) to help you recognize and celebrate your career victories (i.e., your achievements at work) and (2) to determine if your career is in good shape or in need of an overhaul. In other words, a career record is written for you and describes what you’ve done for yourself.
  • Keeping a career record is a fulfilling and self-motivating experience. It enables you to pat yourself on the back regularly (or give yourself a pep talk, if that’s what is necessary) and set your sights on new goals at work that will lead you to additional career victories.
  • Now, I know what you’re thinking: it’s hard enough to write a resume and keep it current, so why am I’m proposing that you double the effort? Because, in addition to being a personal pat on the back (which is, itself, the foundation of a healthy career), a career record can also make writing a resume infinitely easier. Here’s what I mean.

    In the past, recruiters were willing to accept a generic resume from job seekers, as long as you were applying for positions within the same industry and/or career field. They knew how hard it was to produce even a single version of that document, so all they asked was that you include a cover letter to highlighted those aspects of your record that were important for their particular opening.

    Today, unfortunately, that kind of flexibility is gone. Thanks to the Internet, recruiters are receiving hundreds, often thousands of resumes for a single opening. They simply don’t have the time to read between the lines and ferret out your qualifications for their opportunity. Moreover, recruiters know that your resume has been produced on a word processor where it can be easily and quickly modified. As a result, they now expect your resume, itself, to be tailored to the specific requirements of their opening and your cover letter to reinforce its key points.

    So, what do you do? Well, there are two ways to develop a tailored resume:

  • One is to customize your generic resume. You simply add a little more detail to those points in the resume that are important to an opening and subtract detail from or delete altogether those points that aren’t important. While this approach can be relatively quick and easy, it is also likely to under-represent your qualifications. Instead of picking the best of your background for a position, you’re nipping and tucking at what’s immediately available.
  • The second is to tailor your resume from the bottom up. Admittedly, that would be a difficult and time-consuming task if you had to sit down and start from scratch. But you don’t. Your career record is a complete and up-to-date inventory of your skills, expertise and experience. It’s all of the best of you right there in one place. It enables you to pull out all of the factors that are most important to winning the job you want, and no less important, to incorporate those factors in your resume quickly and easily.
  • A resume remains the lingua franca of job search success in the world of work. For a resume to communicate your credentials effectively, however, it must be tailored to the specific requirements of a position vacancy. A career record enables you to accomplish that tailoring to your best advantage. And that alone would make it a worthwhile document. But, a career record does even more for you. It also provides a regular way for you to acknowledge your successes in the workplace-your career victories-and to direct your career toward those successes that are most meaningful to you.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Please tell your friends and colleagues about WEDDLE’s newsletter. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and benefit from your recommendation.

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Angela Manfredi, the Singled Out columnist for The Palm Beach Post, launched a nationwide search for the ideal husband. The arrangement would not be legally binding, but the selected person will be paid a salary for his two-week assignment. As Manfredi puts it, the relationship would be “strictly financial, not romancial [sic].” It’s not all fun and games, however; according to Manfredi’s Web-site, the hired husband must rescue her from lousy conversation partners at dinner parties, take care of her car problems, perform household chores, and-it’s Florida, after all-be responsible for hurricane preparations.

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that over a quarter of U.S. workers (27.5%) now have flexible work schedules, up from 12.4% in 1985. They are more prevalent in professional and business services jobs, with over a third of all workers (37.6%) using them, than in skilled trade and hourly work positions, where about a fifth of workers (20.3%) do so. What does that mean for you? If a flexible work schedule would help you to address a family responsibility or some other requirement (e.g., a spouse’s inflexible work schedule or a difficult commute), ask for it. You may just get the answer you want. Further, you can improve your odds by being well prepared. Before you make your request, think through your answers to the questions and concerns your employer will have: How will you attend team or project meetings and do whatever coordination is necessary to get your work done? How can the company monitor your performance? What additional work, if any, will this impose on your supervisor and co-workers? And, will the arrangement incur any additional costs for the employer (e.g., running heating and air conditioning longer in its facilities, paying overtime for security)?

    Harvard Business Review published an article entitled “Off-Ramps and On-Ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success” by Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Carolyn Buck Luce. The article discusses the results of a survey of almost 2,500 women in the workforce. Of this group, 37% reported that they had, at some point in their careers, opted-out of the workplace. What drove them out the door? Not the rationale given by most observers today: the pressures of juggling family and work outside the home. Only 6% cited that as the primary factor in their decision to leave. Of far greater consequence was “understimulation and lack of opportunity.” If that’s the situation you’re facing at work (and you want to stay employed outside the home), be sure that you exhaust all of your possible remedies before making an exit. These include (a) discussing the problem with your supervisor, another woman in the organization who has been successful there, and/or the HR Department; (b) seeking a new position inside your current employer; and/or (c) seeking a new position in another employer. There are, unfortunately, no quick fixes to institutional roadblocks, but they can be overcome or, at least, avoided so that you can pursue the career you choose.

    Market10 launched as a new employment resource. The creation of CareerBuilder.com founder, Rob McGovern, and a number of CareerBuilder.com veterans, it is being tested in the Washington, D.C. market and will likely roll out nationwide by the end of the year. What’s different about the site? According to Mr. McGovern, it offers three important benefits: intelligent or precision matching, feedback and confidentiality. He and his team believe that the opportunity to be matched with precisely the right position in a confidential environment and to receive feedback on your competitive position will attract even those of us who consider ourselves happily employed and not looking for something new.

    Parenting interviewed Chris Komisarjevsky, the co-author of Peanut Butter and Jelly Management. One of his most intriguing points addresses an issue that’s been getting more and more visibility these days: the confusion that currently exists among many managers and supervisors around the difference between treating employees fairly and equably and treating them exactly the same. As Mr. Komisarjevsky describes it, “Just as you value your kids individually, respect the different backgrounds and skills of those in your workplace. The more you appreciate individual strengths, the more you can take advantage of them.” To put it more bluntly, respect and support all of your employees, but recognize and reward those who make the greatest contribution.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. You’ve just quit your sales position with a retail clothing chain and need to find a job for the rest of the summer. If you’ve got experience as a lifeguard, which of the following sites would save you further effort?

  • ClubSwim.com
  • LifeguardingJobs.com
  • SnagAJob.com
  • TheLifeguardStore.com
  • 2. Your company has just downsized and you find yourself looking for a job. If you’ve been a trainer for the last five years, which of the following sites would help you learn about new opportunities?

  • TrainingCoordinators.com
  • Tjobs.com
  • Instructors.com
  • ASTD.org
  • 3. You’re a successful sales manager looking for a bigger challenge. Which of the following sites would help you find and sell a new employer fast?

  • SalesManagers.com
  • SalesandMarketing.com
  • SalesLadder.com
  • SalesCareersOnline.com
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guides and Directories

    FEI Career Center

    www.fei.org

    Financial Executives International

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – All

    Distribution of jobs: International

    Number of jobs: 100+

    Salary levels of jobs: Up to $200K+/year

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: 6 months

    Restrictions on who can post: Members of FEI only

    Other services for job seekers: Listserv/discussion forum for networking, Assessment tests (fee-based), Career information, Links to other sites with additional information/resources

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. All but TheLifeguardStore.com, the site of an equipment catalog for lifeguards.

    2. OnlyASTD.org; TrainingCoordinators.com is the site of a company that provides logistics support for in-house trainers, Tjobs.com is the site of a telecommuting job board, and Instructors.com is the site of a software training company.

    3. All but SalesManagers.com, the site of an agency for manufacturers’ reps.

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