Did you know that September is “Update Your Resume” month?

woman writingI didn’t know either…until my friend, Shannon, from Resume Confidence told me, that is.  And then I couldn’t stop telling everyone about it.

The idea of updating having a particular time to update  your resume actually got me all sorts of excited….because that also means that NOW is the perfect time to get your online, social presence – along with your resume – current and up to date.

So henceforth, I proclaim that we’ll refer to September as “Update Your Online Presence” month.

And I know, I know, you’re a small business owner and not looking for a job.

But you never know when someone is looking for someone with your skills and experiences and might need to see the resume…or might need to check out your LinkedIn profile and recommendations to see if you’re the real deal (and you ARE on LinkedIn, right?). Or when you might decide that it’s worth it to get a J.O.B for a year or so to get you out of that house and socializing with others.

So let’s start with the basics….

You HAVE a resume, right?  Or more to the point, you have one and you know where it is.  And it’s a bit more recent that your last job, right?

Because here’s the thing…I don’t care if you’ve been working from home for the past 5 years.  You my friend, still need a resume.

The good news is that it doesn’t need to be perfect and it doesn’t need to be complex.  And heck, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it doesn’t even need to all fit on one page.

Here’s why…your resume is a document that sums up your educational and your business experiences all in one place.  It allows you to focus on your successes and your accomplishments.  It let’s you brag about what makes you so great at the work you do.  So if you include all the important stuff, it WILL be longer than one page.

And trust me when I say, this is important stuff to have on hand and easily accessible.

You see, you never know when you might need that updated document.  Maybe your husband loses his job and it’s time to head back to the J.O.B. to get that medical insurance at a reasonable rate (that’s how I ended up getting back to teaching).  Maybe you wake up one day and realize that you want to have a place to go every day.  Maybe you’re tired of doing it all alone and miss the teamwork, the water cooler gossip, or even a reason to get dressed in “real” clothes and makeup (something I didn’t realize I missed until I started teaching again).  Or maybe you’re ready to buy a house or get a new car and need to show a little work history and some earned income again.

Or maybe, when you least expect it, the absolutely, most fabulous job, with the coolest company, became available.  And well, you weren’t even considering looking for a job, but there you have it.

Having a resume on hand, makes taking advantage of any of these (quite realistic) opportunities a piece of cake.

Now let’s pretend that none of the above is happening.  And instead you’re looking to get more speaking gigs, or to secure some JV partners for a new product launch….

This time, you need to make sure you have a strong online presence.  And while I’ve spoken about the need for this strong presence (and being “findable”) before, I don’t think I’ve ever really spoken about how your resume and your online presence are closely related.

You see, as I mentioned above, your resume is a snapshot of your many, skills, gifts, experiences, and talents…all the stuff that make you good at what YOU do.

This is also the stuff your future clients and customers want to know about you.  They want to know why they should hand over their hard-earned money and what makes you so wonderful.  And while testimonials count for a lot (and boy howdy do they ever), your previous experiences offer up still more.

So what I suggest doing is taking the info that you fleshed out for your resume – your jobs, your titles, your gifts, your experiences, your talents…your youness – and start incorporating that into your social media accounts.

First: start with LinkedIn and get that profile up there (being sure to avoid these mistakes).  Keep it simple, use the very information, phrasing and keywords that you used on your resume.

Second: think about your story.  What brought you to where you are today?  How can your past skills be a part of what makes you perfect for what you’re now doing.  Then take a pass at updating your About Me page.  I suggest writing the long version first.  You can tweak things later for a shorter, more casual version.

Third: get clear on what you do, who you work with, and what problems you solve.  This is where clarity matters.  Know your strengths, your weaknesses and your values.  When you get clear about this, it’s much easier for folks to recognize, at a glance, if you’ll be a good match…for their needs, for their money, or for their job.

Fourth: figure what EXACTLY it is that you do (see #3 above) and put that into a short and sweet sentence or two.  If you need help, here’s an article with step-by-step instructions: “How To Tell Others Exactly What You Do.”

Fifth: Update ALL your social network profiles.  Much like your About Me and your bio, these little blurbs often get stale and need to be updated.  Once you’ve written out your shortie bio (shoot for Twitter-length, 160 or so characters), tweak it for all your various social networks.  This will be a quickie cut & paste job, so you can tackle this while watching TV.

So get busy.

And if you need help, drop Shannon a note…she’s absolutely amazing at what she does (and yes, she did help me update my resume when I was ready to return to teaching – I did the LinkedIn updates after she worked her magic). She’s got a wealth of information out there that’s free for that asking…like this one on “How NOT Updating Your Resume Regularly Can Really Hurt You.”