Whether you’re the owner of a business or self-employed – I’ll bet the day you stopped being an employee and became business person, you thought you could kiss your resume goodbye – am I right?! Being in business means no more dreaded job searches, applications, interviews – yes. But I’m here to share with you why you shouldn’t ceremoniously shred the ol’ CV just yet, and in fact, why it is possibly more important that ever to keep your resume up to date.
“So what do I actually do with my resume when I’m self-employed / a business owner? Why would I even need one?”
I’m so glad you asked.
Here are the 3 key reasons:
- To keep track of the goals you’ve kicked.
How good is your memory? In order to make credible claims that we can do what we say we can do – we need proof!
During the everyday grind and busyness of running a business, we tend to celebrate then move on from the achievements and accomplishments we’ve made, not really taking note of the important specifics which give us the all important proof that highlights our performance, our capabilities, or the details which really captures the depth and significance of the achievements we’ve made. By recording these details as they happen and on a regular basis, you don’t run the risk of forgetting or incorrectly listing these critical details.
What could or should you be taking record of? Tangible facts and figures. Context is also very important too – you need to illustrate the circumstances around your achievement to help illustrate its importance. Some of the achievements you could be noting:
- Client achievements – what results have you supported your clients or customers to achieve?
- Projects, contracts or events managed or won – did you have to compete for a contract/project/event? Why was it awarded to you? What budgets did you work with? What were the tangible outcomes (attendees, sales, project outcomes, etc)?
- Sales records – have you, your team or business made significant sales growth?
- Innovation – have you innovated a product or service, been a thought leader and written white papers, undertaken research or study?
- Awards and recognition – list actual awards, honours or recognition received, testimonials;
- Media and public relations – have you been featured or interviewed in news or media? Been a featured writer or contributor? Collaborated or partnered with another brand? Been a guest speaker?
- Did you build your business? In sales or financials (month or year on year growth)? Win key clients? Innovated a process? Grown in team members or number of locations? Built impressive social followings?
- Portfolio of work – don’t forget to keep samples of your best work! Whether it’s graphic design, writing samples or articles, photographs of your work, client/customer testimonials… whatever it is that you do – curate samples that showcase the best you have to offer.
To format your accomplishments, try using the CAR format – Challenge (C), Action (A) and Result (R). Outline the challenge, situation or context, then detail your actions and contributions, and finally, the results, using hard data, figures and facts wherever possible.
- Leverage your business and professional profile.
Do you think showcasing your achievements, capabilities and expertise is reserved only for blowing the socks off an employer?
Of course not!
Most of us in business are vested in solidifying our reputations as experts or leaders in our respective fields, niches or markets. Most of us also strive to build our business – which means building our brand, and making and increasing sales.
These both require essential ingredients: credibility + proof.
Enhancing our professional image, authority and positioning as businesswomen hinges on highlighting and sharing our accomplishments and capabilities. By adapting your resume, creating a capability statement, or polishing your LinkedIn Profile (ideally all 3), you can begin to:
- Pursue board or committee appointments;
- Leverage more public relations opportunities in the media;
- Reposition your brand (especially if you’re self-employed, a service business or professional consultancy);
- Or compete for tenders, projects or contracts, just for example.
In order to be competitive and successful in achieving any of the above, communicating your value is vital, and you shouldn’t be shy to share the feats you have accomplished. Especially as businesswomen (ahem, women in general) we tend to feel it’s arrogant or the technical term I believe is ‘icky’ if we share our achievements. We have to stop this limiting thinking! How can your clients and customers build trust with you? How can others see you as a respected professional in your field? How can you compete for meaningful work (and win it!), without demonstrated evidence of what exactly you’re capable of?
But it’s also more than that.
How many times have you been inspired and motivated by hearing and celebrating in the success of others? How can we know what’s possible if we don’t share our achievements? What if you could inspire someone else by sharing your (to use another technical term) ‘awesomeness’?
It’s what helps build your professional profile, as well justifies the value of our service or product offerings too.
- You never know when you might need it.
Sometimes life throws us curveballs. For any infinite number of reasons, sometimes our circumstances and priorities change, and we may find ourselves looking for traditional employment again.
Can you imagine dusting off your resume which hasn’t been looked at in years and wondering what you should even put on it, much less think of anything impressive that’s going to get you noticed?
That’s right. You’re on a one-way trip to Stress-ville.
By having your resume updated on a regular basis, with regular meaning:
- Every 6 months detailing your key accountabilities and value adds, and;
- Every time you make an achievement, are recognised for accomplishments, reach a milestone, and;
- Master a new skill, earn a new qualification or do professional development or training;
you will have an up to date, capability, expertise and achievement detail loaded ready resume, ready to go when and if you need it.
Here we have it – 3 important reasons to keep your resume up to date, even when you’re self-employed or in business. Have any questions? Comments? Please share!