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11/07/2011

Why Your Resume is Becoming Extinct and What to Do About it

NoResumesAs America’s corporations try to figure out how to compete in the global economy, we all need to step back and examine our own abilities and if they are still relevant.     More than ever, employees are reflecting upon their careers and what the future has in store for them.   Some are scared and most uncertain about their career advancement and how to avoid a personal recession. Unfortunately in today’s marketplace an old-fashioned resume just isn’t enough.

When was the last time you reviewed that old resume in detail?  Have you noticed that the success stories that once gave you leverage no longer have the same impact as they did before?   How do you plan to manage your career and its advancement when your resume and skills are becoming extinct?

With the recent announcement by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that America’s unemployment poses a national crisis ringing in our ears, more and more of us are having trouble getting jobs because we are no longer qualified for the jobs that are available. The bottom line is that the market is moving too fast for old skills to remain relevant. 

On top of that, the traditional workplace makes it very difficult for you to market the internally focused skills you’ve developed working at your current job.    The skills sets that we have been taught in the workplace and in business schools no longer are transferable and quickly lose their value.  Through outsourcing and crowdsourcing, it has become much easier and less risky for companies to borrow talent for a defined period of time rather than assuming the growing costs of employment as healthcare inflates and 401ks become less attractive to retain talent.

What steps should you take now to keep yourself relevant?  A few things to reflect upon:

  1. What are the characteristics that make you relevant in your work today?
    1. a.     How do they contribute to your success and eventually significance in the organization you serve?   Are you actively investing in these characteristics?   Your investment isn’t just about money alone, but how you are developing the right network of people that can help you make the best investment decisions in support of these (6) characteristics.
  2. Are you building your personal employee brand?
    • Ask 20 people to answer the following questions about you
    1. What is your enduring idea? 
    2. What is your primary differentiator?
    3. What is the primary experience that you deliver to those around you?
    4. Whom does your personal employee brand serve?
       If 90% (18 out of 20) give you the same responses, you have a powerful identity that you need to leverage more actively in creating opportunities that matter for your career goals.  If that number is below 90%, you have some work to do and I highly recommend that you download my eBook, Why a Personal Employee Brand will Save Your Career and Your Workplace.    Having an identity that you can control in the workplace is tremendously important before you get ready to make your next move.  

3.  What is your unique Point of View (POV)? 

What gets others to talk about your ideas and perspectives in meaningful and purposeful ways? What is your unique point of view (POV) that can cultivate new growth opportunities for your existing employer – or a new one?  Your POV must help guide a new type of conversation that broadens your impact and influence and that showcases your skills with other influencers in the organization. In today’s marketplace, you must work to get discovered!

I recently met with a senior executive who had just been laid off.   He was not given a legitimate excuse by his employer, just a formal six months’ notice.  When I asked him to answer the aforementioned questions, amongst others, he did not have any real answers.  He looked at me with a blank stare then quickly referred to his resume and reference letters as if to impress me. When he asked me to be frank about my observations of him and his situation, I said, “You have lost your relevancy. You have no game.  Though you have an impressive background and education full of awards and accolades, you need to rewire yourself to think differently about how you represent, sell and package yourself for today’s marketplace.”  Upon reflection he said, “Thank you for the truth, I can’t disagree.  I have worked for my current employer for over 25 years and have lost touch with how the marketplace has changed and what is required to create impact and be relevant.  I have spent most of my career selling people internally that speak the same language and I’m wired to operate in a linear thinking environment.  It’s time for me to start over.”

These are the realities for most of today’s employees and those in transition.   Most people just don’t know how to sell themselves in a genuine way that represents who they really are and the value they are capable of offering an organization.  I suggest that you videotape yourself delivering a 30 second elevator pitch.  Do you like how you sell, what you sound like and the impact that you create? Evaluate yourself critically because in the end you must trust yourself enough to feel that you can make a difference, be relevant, impactful and hirable.   

Here a few final tips that you should be able to consistently deliver to make yourself relevant in your search for career stability, advancement and new opportunities as you navigate the changing terrain:

  • Embrace Your Immigrant Values:  focus on seeing and seizing opportunities previous unseen by being your authentic self in the workplace. 
  • Always Mitigate Risk:  embrace the ability to lead and manage crisis and change.  Allow risk to be your best friend.  Make sure that others know that you are comfortable with transformational changes.
  • Trust Yourself:  never give up in your passionate pursuit to make things happen that make a difference to those around you.  Think about those around just as much as yourself.  This means that you are a dependable team player.
  • Be a Thought Leader: share your ideas and ideals freely to help those around you achieve their goals.  Share the harvest of the momentum you are building with others every day by being a community-minded leader.
  • Be a Focused Farmer:  shift your mindset to continuously cultivate new ideas in the most fertile grounds.    Continually sow seeds of opportunity that focus on building relationships, advancing commerce and that better humanity. 
  • Legacy Builder:  focus on leaving a legacy for the organization your serve and its people so they can teach others how to do the same.     

 Armed with these new approaches to your career and your current job, you can increase your relevance, your portability, and your personal employee brand.  Each of us must take on this challenge to keep ourselves relevant as we navigate the difficult economic waters of the current unstable recovery – and a highly uncertain future job market. 

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