Snowzilla 2016 hit Silver Spring, MD, part of the Washington Metropolitan D.C. area hard–30 inches of snow … cars, trees, a 5-foot tall fence just disappeared. Then I thought about how the weather affected business. Closed, no customers, hard-demanding work at home just to get out of your house–the driveway, sidewalks, cars, and roads came much later. My thought process continued, and I realized this storm affected all businesses … even writing and editing!
Deborah A. Bowman, author, writer-editor, proofreader, formatter, publisher
I started thinking about resume writing because I did some recently … not for me, that would be such gruesome, grueling work. It really is hard to write about yourself, but having done resumes for 30 years? To help friends, for the Army, for business, for creative arts people–loud, bloody scream! Anyway, these are all personal hang-ups. Let’s get to the good stuff that just might help you!
Sometimes you have to write a separate resume for every job to which you apply. I know no one wants to hear that, but with a few tweaks and computer cut-and-paste, it can be much easier than it was before technology swept us all up in the cyber whirlwind. Of course, it brings good things, but also some not-so-good things. Technology is changing and evolving so quickly it’s almost impossible to keep up with just one aspect of your life: like Facebook or maybe, your career? It’s all in the prioritizing. I do write, talk, speak rather tongue-in-cheek most of the time, but I never want to be yesterday’s news.
As technology, software, and Internet accessibility broadens and deepens and grows out of control, so does the terminology that affects your career. Terms become outdated even sooner than we do! As a writer/editor in many disciplines, I have to constantly read and talk with geniuses half my age to know what the latest “buzz” words are. That’s what we called them. Then they became “qualifiers” (so formal and stiff), now “dope” terms in slang, or “coined/coin” words, synthetic words, vogue words, and what on earth is neology and neologism? What happened to just good old plain etymology? But we don’t care where a word came from, its origin. We only want to know where it’s going. And words that make you stand out in your profession are expected every month, every week, every day, every hour. Always looking for something new and unique … which, by the way, is how you approach a resume.
I won’t get into branding and RE-Branding, except with one short sentence: If you’re RE-branding yourself, look out because a whole new vocabulary is about to fall on you like a ton of bricks! Enough said.
So do a little research before you grab that hidden file, pull out a resume, stuff it in an envelope–no, of course not, no one would do that–blow off the dust, wipe your scanner clean, and scan it into an email. One and done! Right? Wrong! Just for kicks, read it. You might be appalled by what you find, or don’t find.
First of all, how does it look? Dated, too formal, too quirky, too lame, and where did that typo come from? It’s been there all these years? Some surprises just aren’t good.
So grab the tablet and pull up a template, right? Well, if you have to. If you’re in a hurry. But think about it for a minute. With HR specialists receiving 100 resumes or more for one job, how many times do you think they see the same Microsoft or Google template, same colors, spacing, grids, even wording.
So how do you stand out? How can you highlight the unique person that you really are? Because you REALLY ARE UNIQUE, ya’ know? Don’t sell yourself short, but don’t manufacture credentials either. It’s illegal.
Professional resume writers are good, but some of them are a “paid template service”. You need an unique and personal design–formal, but not too formal; classy, but not outdated; respectful, but interesting; and maybe a little reflection of your personality?
So if you use a template, find some way to change it up. Color, no color (I actually really like gray tones with maybe a hint of pastel hue, but that’s personal preference). Or go to a writer/editor/designer, like me. Could end up being the best personal reference and investment you ever make in yourself.
The attachment below I designed for a seasoned professional who had to get four pages on one page because the second page would never be read. Good news: Got an email from my client that the resume must have been read because the prospective employer hasn’t made a hiring decision, and he’s still being considered. Sometimes in this insta-gram, techno-chango, hurry-up-world even the first half won’t be read. So put the good stuff at the top.
My design is not a template. It is a custom resume* to accompany a custom package, including a matching cover letter and references,** which should always be separate and upon request, but available in format at an interview. The first objective is always to clearly and concisely meet all qualifications. If not, you’re wasting your time and theirs.
All of my client’s information has been removed and replaced with “how-to must-haves”* in a resume. Chronological, repetitive work histories are obsolete, show your ACHIEVEMENTS, ACHIEVEMENTS, ACHIEVEMENTS. Don’t think: “What do I need to qualify?” Think of it: “What can I offer to enhance this company’s profitability and forward progression?”
How do I know I’m still cutting edge? Because my virtual assistant and business development/marketer show me resumes daily to edit and proofread. Our company isn’t hiring, even though we use non-client references regularly. They bring us third-party resumes that they have received and want me to look over. It’s amazing how many typos are in standard templates.
See below for Resume Must-Haves, just as I promised, click to enlarge: