This is a question we get a lot. It seems rather easy to do it yourself if you have access to a word processing program and printer and feel comfortable writing your job history.
I always wrote my own resumes over the years, for 10 successful job changes up the career ladder, as well as in 4 different states. Inherently I knew a few things about resumes – number one being to write each resume to fit the specific job and employer. I rarely wrote what I call a “generic” resume. One time in my career I sent 6 resumes out at one time to 6 different employers, but all were for the same job title. I was successful in landing my desired job in a short period of time.
I never thought resume writing would be difficult for folks, but after 23 years as a hiring manager and supervisor of staff looking to move ahead, I was amazed by people’s indifference, lack of knowledge and level of discomfort in writing their resume. Most did not have a resume, and those that did, were poorly done. Some applicants actually panicked at the thought of having to bring or send a resume. As a hiring manager, I was more apt to select a candidate who presented herself well on paper, as well as in the interview. A well written resume speaks to the applicant’s interest in the position and subliminally implies how well the applicant will do in the job.
I saw very few of what I would call good resumes, and only a handful of excellent resumes. If you are seeking a job where there is a lot of competition, it is critical to have a resume that stands out. If you want your resume to stay in the pile at the top, and not hit the trash can, your resume must catch the manager’s eye. Most people include too much information in their resume – you should never lie on your resume, but there is no law that says you must include everything (that’s what employment applications are for).
I used to hate job objectives – they were either too broad and not job specific, or not well written. They told me the applicant hadn’t given a thought about the job they were seeking. Job objectives must be job specific, or don’t include one. If it can be job specific and employer specific, that’s best.
Most professional resume writers have taken courses, read books and articles and spent a great deal of time learning and honing their craft. They join organizations to obtain continued education on the topic of resume writing. Choosing a professional resume writer leverages your chances of getting that interview. Presentation, word choice, what information to include or exclude for the specific job/specific employer are just a few of the “tricks of the trade” of the professional resume writer. Seeking an expert results in an expert resume.
If you choose to write your own resume, prepare the information you include carefully. Learn all you can about your prospective employer. Today, almost every company has a website, search it carefully for hints on the culture and mission of the organization, and use that information as you carefully write your skills and accomplishments. If your prospective employer is a for profit company, remember to include all activities in your previous employments that increased profits.
Presentation of the information is key. Make sure there are no misspelled words or poor grammar. Have someone who is good at spelling and grammar proofread your resume. Use quality paper, and make sure it is clean and un-creased. No gimmicks or “cutesy” type.
If you choose a professional resume writer, have all of your job and education history available. Know the job and employer, if possible. It is much easier and more successful to write a targeted resume. Think about your skills and qualifications. Ask co-workers and friends about your talents and accomplishments. Don’t be shy, be prepared to “toot your own horn”! Telling the professional resume writer more than they need is better than not sharing enough information. After all, the resume writer’s goal is for you to get the interview (and therefore, the job)through this resume.
Joan Ridley Lighthouse Resumes http://www.lighthouseresumes.com Member, NRWA (National Resume Writer's Association)
Joan has 23 years experience as a hiring manager and has interviewed and hired hundreds of applicants during her career. She has presented interview workshops, and maintains an ongoing quest for continued learning for self and others. Her supervisory positions offered her the opportunity to help staff grow and move up the career ladder.