Printed 2017/08/23 08:16AM

Dust Off That Resume

By Tim Mitchell, 2013/02/28

Since I started regularly attending SQL Saturday events some five years ago, I’ve sat in on a number of professional development sessions by Andy Warren, Buck Woody, Don Gabor, and others.  Each one offered different bits of advice based on his or her own experience, but there was an overriding theme in all of them: Don’t wait until you need a job to start grooming yourself as a candidate.  Start building your network right now, they would all advise, regardless of your current employment status.  Push yourself to learn, especially where you see a shortage of skilled workers.  Stay visible, stay relevant.

But what about that resume?  After all, the resume is just a very small piece of the big picture… a document that be easily thrown together as soon as you need it – right?  (Note: If you nodded after that last sentence, please, keep reading.)

2585643891_dc3e1b8c4c_n“Tell me about yourself…”

Writing an effective resume isn’t easy.  Most people think writing about themselves is easy until they actually go about doing it.  To describe oneself in a way that is flattering but not overly boastful, colorful enough to be interesting yet still truthful, while keeping the description to one or two pages at most, takes a great deal of time and concentration. Sadly, I see some resumes that appear to be an afterthought – just a means to an end, without much planning or proofreading involved.

Resumes that were thrown together at the last minute have several telltale signs:

My friend Steve Jones delivered a professional development presentation some time back in which he recommended that everyone touch their resume at least once per quarter, regardless of whether they were actually looking for a new job.  I believed in that advice so strongly that I’ve repeated it numerous times since.  However, like an out-of-shape cardiologist, I’ve been quite adept at ignoring my own advice.  When I recently needed a current copy of my resume for a training initiative, I discovered that I had not updated this document in over three years.  I succumbed to the thought that “I’ve got a good job, I’m not looking to make a move, so it can wait” and let the information go stale.

5217079666_076cdc469a_mBut I’m not looking for a job…

Is keeping your resume up to date really necessary, unless you are (or expect to soon be) looking to make a career move?  I submit that it is important, for several reasons:


Keeping your resume up to date takes time, and it’s even harder to motivate yourself to keep current if you’re not looking for a job.  But in the same way you continue learning and networking while not actively shopping for a new position, it’s beneficial to keep your resume polished and ready to go.

Side note: If you’re a senior BI professional and are looking for a new challenge, why don’t you send me a copy of that freshly-updated resume?  My employer is hiring, and it’s a great place to work!

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