Imagine for a moment that you’ve just heard the dreaded words, “We’re going to have to let you go.” A lot of people have heard this phrase over the last several years, and most have probably reacted with some degree of panic: How am I going to pay my bills? Where am I going to go? What am I going to do?
Obviously, this frame of mind is not a great launching point for your next job. Writing an effective resume and cover letter requires analytical thinking and confidence in your abilities. So let me tell you a little secret: the best time to write your resume is when you’re perfectly happy at your job!
I’m not saying that you should have a perfectly marketable document ready to go every moment of your life, although that’s not a bad idea. I am suggesting that it’s smart to keep a running list for yourself of all your different jobs and what you’ve accomplished at each. There are several reasons for this. First, it’s easy to forget three years later that you wrote the proposal that won your company a $500,000 project. Second, quite often your company doesn’t publish or share numbers that reflect your contribution to their success. For instance, while you may be well aware that your efforts expanded a new store from just yourself to a staff of 25 employees, that information will probably never make it onto the company’s Web site.
Perhaps the best reason to keep a running career document for yourself is that if you do unexpectedly find yourself out of work, you won’t have to rack your brain to remember details from your professional past. It can be particularly hard to ascertain measurable results when you no longer have access to a company’s documents. By keeping track of your work accomplishments on an ongoing basis, you have the ability to go through your list and pull out the key highlights anytime you need them—like when you’re frantically searching for a new job.
Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, speaker and President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast. She creates high-impact, best-in-class, resumes and cover letters that transform job searches into interviews and ultimately job offers. For more information about professional resume writing or to read more career and job search related articles visit http://www.greatresumesfast.com or call 1.800.991.5187.