As you know, the best ways to take your next great career step is to:
- Create it yourself
- Have a partnership with someone who’s already going that direction
- Work your connections and influence to identify where the people are who have (or are going to have) the problems you can help them with
Better yet, to do all of the above in combination!
It’s logical to ask the question, then, why you’d need to create a boring old CV or résumé. It wouldn’t appear to help very much with doing those three things above.
I’m out there making connections all the time, and the “currency” of the conversation is often to exchange business cards. Yes, there’s more high-tech ways to exchange information, and I end up with lots of cards that I end up tossing.
But still, it’s about the way people expect to interact. If you think about it, saying “hello” at the beginning of a conversation is just a waste of time and energy. What’s all this artificial politeness about?
It’s about recognizing each others’ humanity. I don’t say “hello” to my computer, because that’s a different relationship. It would be like saying “hello” to my frying pan.
But when I ask if you have a business card, I’m indicating that I am interested in and value your professional identity, and would perhaps like to extend our conversation beyond the few moments we’ll be here talking.
Your CV is rather like that. Think of a résumé as the ultimate business card, used in situations where I’m so interested in you that I might actually think of hiring you.
I met a gentleman a couple of years ago who said that he “doesn’t do that whole business card thing.” The implied message was that he thought everyone else was less important than himself, and writing down email addresses was efficient.
But you, thinking about the course of your career, are very interested in letting people know all the great experience and expertise you have. So be polite and give them your documentation when it’s appropriate.
This came to my mind recently because I’ve been out building my own business for five years now, so I’m not searching for any job. But an opportunity came by a few weeks ago where a third party wanted to hire me for a special engagement. They wanted to see my résumé so they could judge whether the person who referred them was really representing me properly.
I had to quickly dust off one of my old résumés, the one most appropriate for this situation, and mail it off to them. And I landed the work.
Even if you’re out there planning to start your own company, working on building key relationships – keep a reasonably accurate résumé or CV just in case. You might need it quickly to take advantage of an opportunity.