Just Make Up Your Resume
That’s Lee Stranahan’s advice … but don’t worry. He’s not suggesting you lie:
But you are going to make up your resume. I mean – it’s what you do anyway, isn’t it? Every time you decide to take a job, project or gig of any kind, you’re adding to that list of things you’ve done. So start making some conscious choices about your goals and then create jobs and projects for yourself that give you the experience you need?
This is such great advice. Not long ago, I received a question from someone who had been asked to take on extra work without a guarantee of a salary raise or title change. She asked ‘should I accept the extra work, or hold out for the raise before I agree to do it?’
To me, this is a no-brainer. There is no way you should be turning down work that will help you advance down the road. Years ago, I worked as an HR Manager for a company that didn’t have any HR execs. This meant I wound up working with the executive management team, even attending their strategy meetings and basically acting as the HR VP. My salary still stayed at the manager level and sometimes that bugged me, but I knew a promotion to the exec level was out of the question as the company wasn’t in the best shape financially – plus frankly, I was too young and inexperienced, so I just did the work.
I learned so much in those few years, and when I finally did move on, I instantly got a huge jump in pay and in seniority. And within just 18 months, I was a Vice President making almost 3 times my former salary. That wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t had the opportunity to work at a level far above my actual qualifications.
Taking on new assignments to broaden your experience is even more important in a down economy. First, you will make yourself more valuable to your current employer and second, you’ll be more competitive if you do look for another job. So don’t wait around for someone to give you more responsibility or the experience you need – go get it now!