Updating your resume is a chore that often gets put on that “Someday” list.
It’s tedious, requires a lot of heavy thinking, and takes up time you would rather be using to do something much more fun.
One of the best ways to get a project done when you don’t feel like working on it is to break it up into small chunks and reward yourself when you finish each piece.
Getting your resume updated while binge-watching your favorite show is the perfect way to use this principle.
First, the basics.
- Turn off auto-play so you can create your own timeouts in between episodes.
- If you want to get your resume done faster, shorter (half-hour) shows work better than longer (one-hour) shows.
- You can break this into several evenings or days of binge watching. Breaking it up can actually be more effective, because it allows time for your brain to marinate and come up with better ideas.
Let’s get started!
Watch your first episode.
Step 1 (first timeout): Find your resume.
During the first timeout, find the most recent version of your resume, save it to a new file, and print it out. You can do this work on screen if you prefer, but it is more difficult.
That was easy, wasn’t it? On to the next episode.
Step 2 (second timeout): Mark up your resume for revision.
During the second timeout, mark up your resume, either on paper or on screen. Circle, underline or highlight everything you need to change, update, or delete. Don’t make the changes yet, just mark them for later.
These are the areas that frequently need updating:
• Contact information
• Current job title
• Most recent work experience
• Summary/profile missing keywords or significant recent experience
• Older experience that’s no longer relevant that can be deleted or minimized
Once you’ve done your markup, you can start the next episode.
Step 3 (third timeout): Write a bad draft.
Time to go to work. Start with the most difficult piece to tackle. This is usually updating or adding your most recent work experience.
Begin by writing a bad draft of the new information.
What’s a bad draft? A bad draft is when you don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or the perfect words. Just get your thoughts down, even if it’s just a few words for each thought or a note to yourself about an experience you want to highlight.
For example, let’s say you are currently working on a new project that isn’t on your resume. What are the one or two skills or experiences you want to showcase from that project? Write your bad draft without worrying about the perfect wording.
Once you’ve tackled the most difficult piece, move on to writing bad drafts of the other pieces you need to add or change.
When you’re done with your bad drafts, reward yourself with another episode.
Note: If you have a lot of sections that need rewriting, you can use more than one timeout to finish your bad drafts before you move on to revisions.
Step 4 (fourth timeout): Polish.
Now, rewrite your bad drafts using action words and (where possible) numbers to quantify your results.
Polish up your drafts until you’re happy with them.
Enjoy another episode.
Step 5 (fifth timeout): Finish the revisions.
Make the rest of the changes you marked earlier, updating and changing the easy parts, such as contact information, titles, dates, etc.
On to the next episode.
Step 6 (sixth timeout): Proof your resume.
Proofing your resume is critical!
You can use spell-check, but that’s only the first line of defense against errors. You need to proof your resume manually word-by-word to ensure that you haven’t typed “there” when you meant “their” or something else that spell-check won’t find.
The easiest way to do this is to read your resume out loud.
Enjoy another episode.
Step 7 (seventh timeout): Send to a friend.
Email or give your updated resume to a friend or relative and ask them to proof it for you.
No one can effectively proof their own creation. And a resume is one place you cannot afford a typo!
Ask your friend to look at it and respond within the next few days.
Step 8: Celebrate!
Crack open your favorite beverage, sit back, and enjoy yet another episode of your favorite show as your reward!
But, what if your resume needs more than a simple update?
If your resume is more than a year old, or you need to make bigger changes, you might need an entire weekend (or a few weeknights) of binge-watching to get it done.
When someone asks,”What are you doing?” You can say, “I’m updating my resume.” 😉
What better excuse to hunker down for a weekend of no-guilt binge-watching?