This is the first installment of a series I’m calling “Five-Minute Betterment.” Somewhere in all of the job-hunt and self-improvement materials that I’ve gone through over the past few years, I heard: “if it takes less than two minutes to do, do it now.” That way, you stay on top of the little things and they don’t pile up or get passed over. Honestly, there are more two-minute tasks slipping through my fingers than I’d care to admit, but it’s a work-in-progress. However, it was this thought process is what inspired this series. Like Lao-Tzu said, we create time, and we should take care to spend it wisely.
I like to TCOB (Take Care of Business). I have a hard time sitting around on the weekends or aimlessly surfing the internet. I like there to be some sort of purpose to the activities that I do, so I try to stay busy and, well, TCOB. There are times, however, when I find that I have five or ten minutes to kill in between tasks. It’s too long to sit and wait but not long enough to start anything too extensive. So what’s there to do? Hopefully a lot of things so this series will have some longevity! I would encourage you to give these a try. Here it goes.
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Five-Minute Betterment: Revisit Your Resume
I feel like I’ve been on a perpetual job hunt for the last, I don’t know, five years or so. From 2009-2012 I worked at a nationwide used car dealership and after a excelling at the job and showing promise and initiative, I got passed over for a promotion in 2011. It was really back-handed. They pretty much told me that I wasn’t going to go to the manager training program that I needed to complete to move up because it was around the time that my daughter was going to be born. I didn’t make that decision, mind you. They made it for me. I had pretty much been doing the job already and my previous duties were divided amongst my colleagues so after they gave the supervisor job to the outsider with no industry experience that I had trained, I didn’t really have much of a place in the department. I felt betrayed and adrift so, shortly thereafter, I quit. I respectfully gave my two weeks’ notice and two weeks later we parted ways. I didn’t have another job lined up but I did have enough savings put aside to make it for a couple of months. And how long could it take?
It took 8 months to find a job where I was making enough money to cover all of our expenses. By then, we (my wife, nearly one year old daughter at the time, and I) had gotten the notice to vacate our apartment, my phone got shut off and bills were piling up. That was honestly one of the darkest times of my life. Had I known then what I know now about finding a job, it wouldn’t taken nearly as long.
Revisiting your resume is not a one-time task. It should be something you do on a regular basis to ensure that you are able to portray yourself in the best light possible in case your job situation becomes less secure. There are little responsibilities in our day-to-day work lives that add up to a lot ot time and responsibility. These are the things that you should consider adding to your resume. And don’t be shy. Be confident and have pride in your accomplishments, no matter the size. A good example. One of the Aha! moments I’ve had on my own resume would be for my current position as a music teacher. I like to tinker with the instruments because I have a mechanical mind and because this is probably the only opportunity I’ll have to get my hands on conga drums and bass metallophones and stuff for a while. So I tighten screws and replace pegs and I tune autoharps and I make sure everything is in good order.
These are things I enjoy doing. No one asked me to go through and make sure that all of this stuff done, I just had some time between classes or after school and didn’t want to sit around and do nothing. But (!) it feels good to be able to add something like this to my resume: “Regularly inspecting all musical instruments to ensure that they are in proper working order / Performing maintenance and repairs on instruments when needed.” I also got the chance to use one of my favorite words, which is “spearheading.” I wasn’t asked to do it, I took the initiative. Spearheaded.
So. If your resume isn’t readily accessible (Google Drive is awesome because you can access your stuff anywhere and it auto-saves), figure out a system that will allow you to have one around. Put a hard copy on the fridge or leave one in your car or briefcase and make notes on the changes you need to make when you have more time. Make it work for you and it’ll pay of in the end.