Intuit estimates that by the year 2020, more than 40 percent of the American workforce, or 60 million people, will be freelancers, contractors and temp workers. You may see me reference this stat from time to time, and I do so because considering the W-2, 9-to-5 kind of world we live in, this stat is staggering.
Intuit’s research tells us three things. One, you will most likely become an independent consultant at some point in your career whether you want to or not. Two, as the pool of contractors increases, so will the competition for new clients. Three, we are all our own brands and we should be selling ourselves as such.
So as you plot your next consecutive career moves and go out there to market yourself, you know that your resume could use some polishing. But how can you even think about your resume and life after your current job when it consumes so much of your time and identity?
Decide what you want to do next.
This step is critical. Questions like, “Where do you see yourself in the next five years?” may seem corny when interviewers ask them, but they are legitimate questions. When you close your eyes and think about your career, what do you see yourself doing? What kinds of companies do you see yourself working with? If the time comes and you have to strike out on your own — and chances are likely — what would that situation look like?
Divorce your job.
No, this doesn’t mean quit. It means take some time to separate your identity from your job, because these two terms are not interchangeable. After you’ve determined what you’d like your career to look like after your time at your current job is done, start planning how to get there. But this can only happen if you stop thinking that your current job defines you.
Act like you don’t have a job.
That’s right. Continue to go to work, give it your all and produce circles around your co-workers like you normally do, but in hour head, pretend you’re unemployed. Or more realistically, pretend that this job could end tomorrow. Start thinking about and jotting down all the things you’ve accomplished in this position, the goals you’ve met or exceeded and any accolades you’ve received. You’re going to need this for the next step.
Revise your resume.
Read this document carefully. Are you using the current industry jargon to describe your skills? (Jargon is not always a bad thing. You’ve got to give hiring managers what they’re looking for.) Is there anything that you failed to elaborate on or describe? Here’s an exercise I like to use with my clients. Think about your past and current positions Take out a pen and paper and make a list of all the tasks you performed for each job. See if you can re-write your resume strictly from memory. If it helps, think about how you spent your days, any major projects you worked on, and the results you achieved from your work. When you’re done, compare this list to the resume file on your computer and fill in the gaps with the information from the previous step and any other details you missed.
Your resume is done, but you’re not. Use the information in your resume to update your social media profiles. And be thinking about other things you can do to continually build upon your personal brand and differentiate yourself from others in your field.
Share with us: How have you revised your resume and perfected your personal brand?