Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Perils of Being Comfortable


A few days ago a former coworker lost his job. He worked as a programmer for a company with government contracts and his position fell victim to the sequester. For the past several days, his LinkedIn account has been a flurry of profile updates, new contacts, endorsements, and more. It is obvious that he was completely blindsided by the news. Now he is scrambling to dust off his credentials for this unexpected re-entry into the job market.

No matter how comfortable you are with your current job, it is always a good idea to keep your resume current. In recent years, I do this by always keeping my LinkedIn profile up to date. If I ever need to have a polished resume in a hurry, the data from my profile can easily be converted to that purpose. Because I have tweaked my LI profile over several years, I know it contains no spelling or grammar errors and I am happy with the wording of my previous positions. In addition, my profile generates a fairly constant stream of emails from recruiters. While I am not looking to change jobs at the moment, it is very comforting to know that my skills are in demand if that were to change suddenly.

In terms of certifications, they can certainly help when you find yourself in the market for a job. I have seen jobs where Oracle certifications are listed as a requirement. My certifications came up during the interview for the position I hold now and I am confident they were a factor in winning out over the other applicants. However, if you find yourself in the same position as my colleague, it is a bit late to wish you had another certification on your resume or that a certification you have was for the current release. Unlike tweaks to your LinkedIn profile, adding a new certification or upgrading an existing one is not something that you can do in a couple of days. Granted, not having a job means that you would have plenty of time to study. It is a bit of a reach to consider that a positive result, though.

Take some time and look at your LinkedIn profile (or your resume if you have no LI account). If your job went away tomorrow, would you be comfortable sending that information out to prospective employers?  If the answer is no, you might want to invest some time into fixing the deficiencies. This is something that is a lot easier done when it is not an emergency.