If you’re like most employed executives, you’re too busy protecting your company’s P&L to think about refreshing that dusty old resume or making use of that LinkedIn account you opened up ages ago.
But this is the precise moment when you can best prepare yourself for change—whether it comes by your own choice or by external forces (that can hit like a freight train).
Below are the top 3 reasons to craft your resume and LinkedIn profile BEFORE you are engaged in a job search.
1). The very exercise forces you to define your brand and identify skill gaps
A critical part of resume development is defining what you want to be known for so that others will see you as the obvious choice for right-fit opportunities. Articulating this brand in writing will help you to identify the messages you need to communicate externally AND internally in your current job—in order to be perceived as a good match for projects that will advance your career. Carefully considering your strengths will also put the spotlight on any gaps that must be filled, as related to your just-over-the-horizon career goal.
2). Building your online identity takes time
LinkedIn is a powerful means to project your brand to your entire network via a well-crafted profile, insightful status updates, and the sharing and creation of goal-relevant content. But building an online identity and social media following is a long-term endeavor—and one that is never too early to begin. Once you are in job search mode, those vying for the same positions will be rushing to develop an instant online presence. You will be at a great advantage if you have built a repertoire of thoughtful content and a faithful following of recruiters, decision makers, and connected individuals BEFORE you need to reach out about job leads.
3). You’ll be ready when an opportunity arises
An executive job search requires a daunting amount of serendipity to result in the perfect match. In order for your unique skill set, your career advancement goals, AND what’s most important for your personal happiness to all come together, the stars have to practically align. If you add yet another variable to that equation—the fact that you NEED a job NOW—the likelihood of serendipitous alignment gets even smaller. It is perhaps more likely that this will happen when you least need or expect it. Don’t you want to be ready with a stellar resume and LinkedIn profile when the call of opportunity rings?
While it may be difficult to juggle managing an executive career with running a successful enterprise, carving out the time to carefully deliberate your brand identity and develop polished career documents is a must. It will enable you to communicate the messages that support your career goals over time, and it will ensure that you are ready to act on opportunity at a moment’s notice, placing you miles ahead of the competition when the winds of change begin to blow.