Last year when I published Money-Smart Millennials, I was working as a licensed banker. My experience working and helping my clients, particularly millennials, achieve financial stability in that environment was a major contributor to the content of the book. In the book, I’ve shared real-life stories of my clients who were able to improve their financial situation and drop their bad financial habits based on a personalized game plan that we designed. I enjoyed my job as a banker and sharing my knowledge of money management with those who needed it. Even though the real work had to be done by those who needed to change, it was fulfilling to know that I had been a helping hand in their lives.
Why am I talking about my banker job in the past tense? Well, because I am no longer a banker. I have transitioned into corporate finance. Sitting in front of a computer the entire day, alone in my cubicle, I am now working with spreadsheet and running analyses. After obtaining my degree in finance, here I am just a few years later well into my second corporate job at the age of 29. My wife has already worked 4 jobs (2 with the same company) just six years after graduating. For millennials, that is a normal trend. ‘Go to school, get good grades and get a good job’, our generation has heard it our entire life. The problem is for older generations, that good job meant 40 years of dedication and a pension. Today, there are no more 40 year careers with the same employer. We will not get into the reason for this generational change but it is important to note that people who graduated between 2006 and 2010 are most likely due to be working their 4th job (or 5th, 6th or 7th) by the time they turn 32 according to CNN Money.
Although traditionally switching jobs too many times and too soon may discourage recruiters, there are very good chances that it will not be an issue for this generation and upcoming ones. In fact, an unbelievable rate of 91% of millennials envisions to not work for the same employer for more than three years.
With such a rapid change of employment, it is inevitable to have to edit your resume every few years. From changing your job title to changing the industry in which you are working, constructing a new resume can become challenging and even boring. Plus, knowing what to remove, add or edit from a previous position to match a new job description may drive you bonkers. I have never met anyone who has said ‘I just love updating my resume’. I don’t blame you at all if you’ve had to copy and paste your resume for different job applications. I am guilty of that as well but truly, it is certainly not a best practice for success.
Let’s take the stress, the monotony and the boredom out of the process of updating a resume. If you follow the following tips, preparing for your next job application will no longer involve wasting time on being creative with your resume. I’m sure you’ve done it too: trying hard to add another bullet point to that title you had 3 years ago with absolute vague statements. If it doesn’t impress you, trust me, it will not draw the attention of the reader.
First, save the job description for your current position (on a Word or Google Docs document).
If you still have access to the job posting of your current job, it is where to start. You applied for that job because you related to its description and you saw yourself doing the tasks it requires. In general, the description portion of a job posting outlines your role and what it requires of you on daily. If nothing else, you could export the job description to your resume with a few edits. Want bullet points? Job postings are full of them. Your smart move is to use them to your advantage.
On the same word document (or Google Docs), create a chart with the following columns or sections:
- Daily tasks: from the day you start your new position, make it a priority to log your tasks. Whether it is proofreading a document or running reports on a spreadsheet, add it all. This is not the place to worry about polishing your sentences. The goal is to enter the information about the tasks which you accomplished daily. Let them pile up and do not worry about their length. When the time comes, you will have the authority to choose or omit what you find relevant or irrelevant. After a while, you will no longer have to enter daily tasks as they will be the same. As you become more proficient in your role, new daily tasks may be added to your plate and you will then have the opportunity to expand the ‘experience’ section of your resume.
- Projects: In the job description of my current position, there was not any mention of projects. Nonetheless, a few weeks into the job, the entire company decided to make major changes and consequently, my department was heavily involved in the transition. This was a great opportunity to add a valuable experience to my resume. In this section of your resume building file (call it whatever you’d like), add the different projects that you participate in. Whether it is a one day project or a quarter long project, it is important for your resume. Similarly to the ‘daily tasks’ section, the length of this section should not matter. Simply keep adding. In fact, the information you are logging may not be relevant to your next job application but rather to the one after.
- Leadership and team building activities: In the words of David Ingram, ‘Leaders are invaluable when it comes to formulating and communicating new strategic directions, as well as communicating with and motivating employees to increase dedication to organizational goals.’ There is no debate on the topic of the importance of leadership in the workplace. When employers recognize leadership traits in your character, you become a golden prize. Record the instances in which you are given the opportunity to lead others. You should even go further and look for opportunities to lead to hone those skills. Adding leadership experience to your resume makes the difference between having your application pinned and being just another candidate.
- Recognition and milestones: Unexpectedly, your boss recognized you as the employee of the quarter. You received a special recognition from a client on a project you were heavily involved with. A manager in another department praised you for taking time out of your schedule to help her team. These are all accomplishments that should make it to your resume building document. It may seem irrelevant today but these milestones could be the deciding factors in a future job search.
Finally, in today’s world run by technology and social media, it is imperative to utilize LinkedIn and any other worthwhile professional online networking platform. I like LinkedIn because through second and third degree connections, you’re able to reconnect with those you may have forgotten. Old co-workers can be very useful to you if you build and maintain bridges. LinkedIn allows you to give and receive recommendations. Those play an important role on your resume as well. I am not insinuating to copy the recommendations and include them on your resume, that would be a mistake. However, employers and recruiters do look up candidates online and such approval of your work increases your chances in the job market.
When it comes time to build a resume for a job application, you will have plenty of data to draw from. From the plethora of tasks, projects, achievements and recognitions that you’ve logged, you will be able to pull the ones relevant to any position you decide to postulate for.
You now have the tools you need to be ready when the time comes to be job searching. Your resume building document must be in an easily attainable location on your computer so that you update it regularly. I keep mine on my desktop. Apply these techniques and deliver yourself from headaches and boredom when playing the game of the corporate world: switching companies.