Episode #105 – The Importance of Having Your Resume Ready at ALL Times

Samantha: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive search consultant and veterinary recruiter, Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both Animal Health and veterinary employers and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary employers hire top talent, while helping animal health and veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about the importance of having your resume ready at ALL times.

Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Samantha. As always, I’m glad to be here today.

Samantha: Stacy, we’ve talked often about the resume on this podcast, haven’t we?

Stacy: Yes, we’ve discussed the best ways to construct a resume, and we’ve also talked about how a person’s LinkedIn profile is not the same thing as their resume. But what we haven’t addressed—yet, anyway—is the importance of having your resume ready at ALL times.

Samantha: First, of all, what does it mean to have your resume ready?

Stacy: It means a couple of things, actually. First, it means having your resume accessible. That means you know where it’s at, it’s in a format that is acceptable, and you can provide it to someone at a moment’s notice. You shouldn’t have to go looking for your resume, and when I say that, I mean the digital format of your resume, such as a Word Document. It’s true that you could have hard copies or printouts of your resume. However, those are not used that often anymore. Most resumes are sent via email or over the Internet. Years ago when I first started working in executive search, we had a large room full of file cabinets where we stored resumes but today we have an applicant tracking system which is an electronic database for storing resumes. Now probably a few times a year I will still have someone put a resume in the mail and send it to me but then I don’t know what to do with it since we don’t have a room full of file cabinets to store resumes anymore.

Okay so moving on…

Second, having your resume ready means making sure that it is updated.

Samantha: How updated should it be?

Stacy: Well, in a perfect world, it should be 100% updated. That means when something happens that should go on your resume, you would put it on your resume immediately. But of course, we don’t live in a perfect world. That’s why I recommend updating your resume either every quarter or at the very least, every six months. That might sound like it would not be that difficult to do, but based upon my experience with some Animal Health and Veterinary professionals, it is difficult to do.

Samantha: I imagine you’ve spoken with quite a few Animal Health or Veterinary professionals whose resumes were out of date?

Stacy: I most definitely have. In the most extreme case, I once worked with a candidate who had not updated his resume in 30 years.

Samantha: Thirty years? How does something like that happen?

Stacy: Well, we all know how time can get away from us, and it certainly got away from this candidate!

Samantha: I imagine that it was difficult for this person to update their resume after 30 years.

Stacy: Oh, it was very difficult. What made it more difficult is that he did not record his accomplishments during those 30 years while they happened. He had to think back on 30 years of accomplishments and attempt to turn them into a resume that would help him land a face-to-face interview. That’s not just difficult. That’s an almost impossible task. But that’s not the only example I have of someone who was not prepared when it came to their resume.

I speak with candidates on a weekly basis who have not updated their resume in years. Sure, it’s not 30 years, but even going two or three years without updating your resume can cause problems because you can forget some of the accomplishments you have had and when you go a long time without updating your resume it makes it a more difficult task when you are attempting to update it.

Samantha: Stacy, do you think the prevalence of LinkedIn has something to do with that? As you mentioned a couple of minutes ago, we’ve addressed the issue of people thinking that their LinkedIn profile is the same thing as their resume.

Stacy: Yes, I do think that LinkedIn has been a factor. What’s happened is that professionals are more likely to update their LinkedIn profile than they are to update their resume. Over time, they begin only updating their profile and they stop updating their resume altogether, which is a mistake.

That’s one of the reasons why, when a recruiter or a hiring manager asks a candidate to send their resume, the candidate sometimes says, “See my LinkedIn profile.” The candidate says that because their LinkedIn profile is far more updated than their resume. There are some professionals who even think that the resume is outdated and should not be used anymore. Unfortunately for them, just because they think that should be the case does NOT actually make it the case.

As we’ve discussed before, an Animal Health or Veterinary professional needs to update their resume at the same time they update their LinkedIn profile. The reason is simple: hiring managers want to see both.

Samantha: So hiring managers don’t give one preference over the other?

Stacy: They do not. They certainly do not give a person’s LinkedIn profile preference over their resume. In fact, a hiring manager will want to see the resume first. Then they’ll look at the person’s LinkedIn profile to see if there are any discrepancies. If there are, that might be a “red flag” for the hiring manager.

I’ve had professionals lose their candidacy for a position because either their resume wasn’t updated or their LinkedIn profile wasn’t updated. For example, their LinkedIn profile would list their current position, but their resume did not. Instead, it listed the position they held previously as their current position. Or vice versa. When a hiring manager sees that, it can be a “game over” for the candidate. Those are the kinds of mistakes that job seekers and candidates just can’t make. We had a Country Manager pass over an executive candidate because he didn’t have his current position listed on his resume so the Country Manager of a major Animal Health pharmaceutical company said the candidate was not current with technology so he chose not to interview him. The candidate was highly qualified but had been derelict about keeping up his LinkedIn profile.

Samantha: Stacy, why else is it important for professionals to have their resume ready at all times?

Stacy: Keeping your resume updated consistently and having it ready at all times is part of a mindset or mentality. I consider it a winning mindset, and that’s the proactive mindset. That brings us to another reason why people do not update their resumes. The first reason is because they believe their LinkedIn profile is a replacement for their resume. The second reason is that they’re not engaged in an active job search.

Samantha: So since they’re not actively looking for a job at the moment, they don’t bother to update their resume?

Stacy: That’s right, but I consider that to be a mistake, too. It’s dangerous to think that the only time you should update your resume is when you’re looking for a new job. In fact, some people “dust off” their resume and update it after they’ve had a bad day at work. Then, after they have a couple of good days, they forget all about their resume again.

I know that people are busy, but keeping your resume updated should be a priority for every professional who wants to grow their career. That’s because to grow your career, you must be prepared to grow your career. If you’re not prepared, then it won’t happen the way you want it to or the way you think it should.

Samantha: Is that because an opportunity could pass you by if you don’t have your resume updated?

Stacy: Correct. There are two big problems with not having an updated resume ready at a moment’s notice. First, it increases the chances that you’ll leave something important out of your resume. For example, let’s say you’re a professional in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession and a recruiter contacts you about an employment opportunity. And it turns out to be an opportunity that really excites you.

In order to be considered for the position, you must submit your resume. You just can’t say, “See my LinkedIn profile.” The hiring manager is not going to accept that. Now let’s say that you haven’t updated your resume in five years. If that’s the case, then you have to scramble to include everything on your resume that’s happened during the past five years. Maybe you didn’t even update it after you landed the job you’re currently in. With so much time elapsing, there’s a good chance you might forget something important.

Also keep in mind that you have to do all of this quickly. The hiring manager is not going to wait a week. That’s the second big problem with not keeping your resume updated and ready at a moment’s notice. You could be missing out on exceptional opportunities because you don’t have a resume ready and are not able to participate in the selection process for the position.

Samantha: Actually, I would imagine that’s something that you would not even want to tell a hiring manager that you don’t have a resume ready.

Stacy: That’s right. I can’t go to the hiring manager of one of my clients and say, “Sorry, but the candidate has to update their resume. Can you give us about a week or so?” Trust me when I say that the hiring manager will not be impressed. At that point, the candidate often shouldn’t even bother with updating their resume, at least not for that position.

Samantha: Stacy, how can a recruiter help with all of this?

Stacy: Samantha, I’m glad you asked that question because a recruiter can help a LOT, and professionals don’t realize just how much they can help.

Even if you’re not looking for a new job at the moment, all you have to do is update your resume every quarter or even every six months and then send that updated resume to your recruiter. That way, not only do you have an updated version of your resume, but the recruiter can do the work for you. They can keep an eye out for employment opportunities that line up with what you want for your career.

Samantha: So it’s almost like it’s the best of both worlds. An Animal Health or Veterinary professional doesn’t have to devote any time or energy to a job search, and at the same time, they always have an updated resume ready. In fact, it’s so ready that a recruiter already has it and can submit it to an employer once they get the okay from the professional to do so.

Stacy: That’s exactly right! It IS the best of both worlds, and it’s such an easy solution to the problem. Professionals just have to align themselves with an experienced recruiter who they trust who has a track record of success. I work this way with many professionals, and when I come across an opportunity that lines up with what they want, I call them immediately and I say, “I have something I think you’ll be interested in,” and they almost always are. Then I submit their updated resume, which I already have on file, and I get the ball rolling. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it makes the most sense. One other quick tip is this: I had had candidates send me their resume and then I have it in my files. I have had candidates whose computer crashed and they lost their resume but guess what I had it so I was able to send it back to them so it wasn’t lost for good. I’ve had candidates jokingly tell me that I also serve as their resume storage provider. When they need to update it if they can’t find it they ask me to send it back to them so they can update it and send it back to me.

Samantha: Stacy, this is great advice for our listeners, and I certainly hope they take that advice. It will better position them to take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace and grow their careers. Thank you for sharing this information and for joining us today!

Stacy: Thank you, Samantha. It’s been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next podcast episode!