Résumé at the Ready is Key to Success in Business and at Work

I was patronizing one of my favorite local small businesses in honor of Small Business Saturday yesterday, and for the fourth time in two weeks, I heard from a very capable professional that they did not have an updated résumé.  The prior three very capable and employed professionals did not have a résumé at all, and subsequently scrambled for up to a week to construct a current résumé in response to an unexpected but very welcome opportunity.  During our conversation yesterday, the owner’s bright and very capable daughter informed me that she did not have an updated résumé. I considered it progress that she had one at all.  She did not, however, have a LinkedIn profile:  the 21st century trope of having a résumé at the ready.

“Definitely please update your résumé,”  I coached.  “And I’d be happy to take a look at it for you.”  She grimaced a bit.  “But I don’t know what I want to do next.”  I smiled with the knowledge of a career hunter.  “What do you like to do?”  She did not hesitate.  “I like to sell, whether it’s here or in my previous position.”  Her proud mother piped up.  “And she’s great at sales.”  I smiled again.  “Sounds like you have a general idea.”  She was outnumbered.  “Okay, I’ll update my résumé,” she agreed.  “And think about a profile on LinkedIn,” I added.  “I’ll update my résumé,” she compromised.

Again, most of you did not have my salesman father as an early career mentor, whose constant mantra to me was to always have an updated résumé at the ready – clearly, not a fair advantage.  I am, however, always willing to share the career wealth.  “But I’m happy at my job, Dad,”  I’d respond over the years.  “I don’t need an updated résumé.  And it feels disloyal to my current employer to have an updated résumé.”  As was typical of his coaching, it was his career way or the highway.  “You just never know when an opportunity will present itself,” Dad would always respond.  “And you want to be ready for that opportunity.  You’re not being disloyal, you’re being prepared.”

Having a résumé at the ready is not just about being prepared for a career opportunity (or, knock wood, a layoff or job loss).  We entrepreneurs are often asked to produce an updated résumé to move our businesses forward.

As part of the application process for the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan that launched Joel’s business in 1994, we were both required to submit updated résumés.  Joel did not have a résumé then; he does now.

Even though it still feels a bit weird to submit a document which summarizes my background in the third person, a well-written speaker’s biography (a.k.a., my résumé) is a standard tool for my business, whether I’m delivering a workshop, a presentation or facilitating a strategic planning session for a diverse group of key stakeholders who have not worked with me before.

And the document critical to the due diligence required to approve my certification as a New York State Women-Owned Enterprise (WBE) was not my genetic test results proving conclusively that I was indeed a woman:  you guessed it, it was my updated résumé.  (Disclaimer:  genetic results are not required as part of that application process.)

Is your résumé at the ready, poised to support your success in business and at work?


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