Friday, July 2, 2010

Stay Current

I now think it was a mistake. For all the years when I worked a full-time job, I never updated my resume. As I have mentioned many times here before, I absolutely loved the job, and never looked for another. For me, not having an updated resume was a matter of pride, a kind of loyalty. I now feel that I was mistaken in my thinking.

And as I now know, it is very important for those who are thinking of taking a break or a sabbatical to maintain an updated resume. (Some people might imagine never ever having to deal with the annoyance of resumes once they are 'retired,' but it doesn’t work that way.)

For those who are on a long sabbatical, there are a number of reasons for doing short assignments in your line of work, and not all of them are financial. Taking on short-term consulting assignments serves many other purposes. You refresh your skills; there is continuity in your resume (in case you ever need to come back to regular employment); an opportunity to interact with people in your industry; and some intellectual stimulation.

I was talking to someone who used to work at GE, and he told me that as part of their annual performance review, everyone in his group was required to provide an updated resume. He said that thinking about the year's accomplishments in terms of 2-3 sentences suitable for the resume was a valuable exercise.

That, to me, sounds like a very good practice. (I know, because I have tried to summarize what I accomplished years ago, and that was not easy.)

So here's the lesson for those of you planning about leaving work and taking a break. Once every six months, be sure to update your resume. And we've just finished the first half of 2010, so now might be a good time to start.

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