Is Your Resume (and Job Search Strategy) Obsolete?

As a result of the economic downturn that began in full swing in 2007-2008, many previously secure executives unexpectedly found themselves caught in wide-scale reductions-in-force, plunged without warning into a fiercely competitive job market. While the economy has righted itself to some degree since then, many companies continue to operate in “lean” mode, and so budget cuts and reorganizations remain a relatively common occurrence.

Right-Sizing & Executive Vulnerability

It’s always prudent to ensure that your Resume is polished and up to date, but it’s particularly important now. With so much flux in the business world over the past several years, there is no guarantee that a position will remain intact.

Right-sizing” refers to the process of reorganizing or restructuring a large company via cost-cutting, reduction of workforce, or reorganizing upper-level management. The term right-sizing is often used  as a softer sounding alternative to the term “downsizing” as it provokes a more positive image, e.g. “right”; while it can reflect the growth of a business, in most instances it is a reduction in the workforce and synonymous with downsizing.

Frequently senior managers and executives earning at a higher compensation level are more vulnerable, as businesses looking to cut overhead can reap a higher cost-saving return on a lesser number of executives than a broader right-sizing (down sizing) lower level staff. A common practice during a massive restructuring is removal of an entire layer of management  from the organization.  Over the past several years, we’ve seen a significant increase in this type of situation with our clients. Sometimes the executive is downsized, but other times is demoted to his or her previous role. This action derails the executive’s career path, and frequently prompts preparation for an exit and a search for a more stable company or industry.

Other Compelling Reasons to Maintain a Current Resume

Aside from having the advantage of always being prepared, there are plenty of

Who’s looking for you? While you may not be actively searching for a new opportunity, recruiters and HR managers may be looking for you! By maintaining an up-to-date resume (and LinkedIn Profile), you can present all of your current accomplishments, and this could lead to an unexpected offer. We’ve worked with many executives whose career path took an unexpected – and welcome – turn at a time when they had no plan to make a major career/job change as an opportunity found them that was simply to good to pass up.

Internal promotion opportunities. Ensuring that your resume is fresh and updated with recent achievements enables you to take advantage of advancement opportunities that open up within your organization. Opportunities can open up unexpectedly, e.g. an executive spot opens due to a vacancy or retirement. It’s always better to prepare for these eventualities and  get your name in front of the decision makers early than to scramble under pressure to update your resume.

Alignment with Current Trends/Norms. If you have been in the same company or industry for a number of years, chances are you either haven’t needed a resume, made do with an old, and now obsolete resume or maintained a brief career outline. However, as the job market, the search process, career industry trends, and technologies continue to change, your career marketing documents – along with your approach to the job search – should reflect those changes.

These developments – driven in large part by technological advancements – have been significant over the past decade. For example, in the 21st century. the first review of your resume is much more likely to be a software program, known as an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) rather than a human screener. The ATS is a database virtually all large (and some midsize) companies and government agencies use to store and access the large volume of resumes typically submitted via online portals. Your resume should be strategically developed in alignment with these systems to improve the score (key word hits) your resume receives.

Job searching via online social media is another more recent development. Your LinkedIn Profile should be maintained in tandem with your core presentation resume. After your resume makes it through the ATS system, it will be viewed by a human. This screening process may entail an online search, including a review of your LinkedIn Profile. Thus it’s important that your Profile is up to date, and provides a professional reflection of you as a senior candidate.

Also new on the job search horizon are variations of traditional career marketing documents such as the E-note, which is a brief introduction sometimes used as an alternative to a formal introduction letter.

Partnering with a career professional can help expand your job search success and ensure you are prepared in the face of unforeseen changes within your company or industry, as well as pursue unexpected opportunities that may have a profound impact on your career.At Executive Resumes Atlanta we employ a strategic, collaborative process to identify your unique selling points and create powerful career marketing documents that help you succeed in a highly competitive and volatile job market.