The Living Resume! Have You Feed Yours Lately?

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The Living Resume! Have You Feed Yours Lately?

by Harlem Williams

Resumes are not something to be refreshed only when we need a job, want to apply for a scholarship or need to spruce-up our LinkedIn page. A resume is a map, a blueprint and a tool that outlines our entire professional, education and social career. Can you remember what you were doing during your college years? The clubs you joined? The awards or honors you were received? The projects that you developed? How about graduate school? What was your thesis about? Did you receive a scholarship? What initiatives did you help to change or start at your school? I know I can’t remember them all, but I am sure with my energetic spirit that I could have had many to share on my living resume.

By maintaining a living blueprint of your professional, educational and social activities and accomplishments, you equip yourself with a valuable tool. But wait, Harlem, you might be saying, I have been told that a resume should be concise, one page per every ten years of experience.

I am not suggesting that you share your entire living resume with the world. A living resume is just for you! It is a tool that you can then use to build many customized resumes, bios, blogs, career pages (ex. LinkedIn), applications and more. Here’s how you can go about building a living resumé.

  1. Take some weeks and go through all your important documents from birth to now. You might need to call your mother, father, wife, husband and the storage company, but in the end it will be worth it. Pull out all our activities, awards, projects, grades, recommendations, degrees, sports metals, pictures before digital cameras and even your yearbooks.
  2. Log into your computer and track down every resume you have ever made in your life for any purpose. This will be critical as your ability to express yourself and focus at each moment you created or spruced-up your resume was different. Maybe you included more detail on one, less detail on another. Collect them all and print them. I prefer to work with paper in hand and for such a big job, it will be much easier to organize.
  3. Go back to your computer and external hard drives and collect all your photos, educational and professional papers, applications (whether you were accept or rejected it doesn’t matter, what matters is that you applied).
  4. Grab some coffee or tea and start to build your living resume in chronological order. Include everything, even the things you don’t think matter or were too small or brief. This step can take days, weeks or months, depending on the time you have to give to it.
  5. Reflect! I love this stage. Pick any of your old resumes and compare them to your living resume. Did you notice anything? Of course you will! Notice how you forgot to mention so many things that were also happening in your life at the moment or before that would have improve your customized resume, bio, blog, presentation or cover letter.
  6. Keep watering your resume with every move you make in your life. Don’t save it on just your mac or laptop, put it on a cloud, external hard drive or in a self-addressed email. This way you never risk losing it.
  7. Give yourself a pat on the back or round of applause! You did it and now you are ready and equipped with a document that allows you to communicate fully who you are and what you have achieved in a matter of minutes.

Tip for readers with children: you can also as parents begin to build your child’s resume. I don’t have any children, but I built a living resume for my niece after I realized I could not remember most of her accomplishments. She was only 9 at the time but had already been accepted to Julliard, one of the top performance dance schools in the world, won several cheerleading and dance competitions around the country, was modeling for a kids’ talent agency and had received countless academic awards. Her mother laughed, but now every few months I get an email asking me to send her my niece’s resume, so she can apply for a new initiative, activity or award. So, as your children’s biggest and first support system, consider making their own living resume starting now!

Thank you!

Harlem Williams

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