What's Working in My Resume
Mar 06, 2015
Regular readers of the blog here will note that I am performing a review and update of my own personal résumé here on the blog this year. I want to start first with looking at some things that I think are working well and why they are contributing to the effectiveness of my résumé.
The first thing that is working well is that I have a Master Résumé in place. If you have read my work in the past you will likely remember me talking about this at some point. It’s something I tell almost all of my clients to put together and I can attest to the fact that it makes applying for jobs much easier.
A short story here to illustrate my point. Back in the summer of 2013 I was laid off from a job that I held for almost nine years. I was settled in that job and had a résumé on file in case I ever needed it for promotional opportunities within the company. I didn’t really focus much time nor energy on my résumé until it was time to apply for one of those positions. If I didn’t get the job, I knew
I would still have my current position to fall back on and hopefully have another chance to move up the ladder in the future.
But when I was laid off, I didn’t have anything to fall back on. I had to rely on my past experience, my education and whatever minimal accomplishments I had in my résumé to get me a new job so that I would be able to support my family!
I heard about the concept of the master résumé and immediately set to work creating my own master file. I included absolutely everything. I have copied a section below to show you that I truly did include every job, from the swimming instructor job I had during the summers in middle school and high school to the fall and winter I spent working in a warehouse. Neither of these positions have much to do with my current work (or the work I wanted to be doing), but there are aspects of them that I can pull through to just about any job.
Old jobs can still be relevant
By putting together this master résumé and spending the time UP FRONT to get this right, I can pull the details I need and put together a winning résumé for any job application in a matter of a few minutes.
Never know when I might need these skills
Back to my story. One of the nicest things that happened when I was laid off was that the company didn’t show us the door that very day. We had three months between when we found out about the layoff and our last day of work. Some might think that’s a bit cruel, but it gave my colleagues and me the opportunity to find new employment and hopefully avoid the unemployment lines. (Short aside, the unemployment lines aren’t really lines anymore. Well, they may be if you have to go to the unemployment office, but I did all of mine online. Yes, I did collect unemployment for all of a week and a half between jobs. I’m not ashamed, but it’s something I hope I never have to rely on ever again in my life.)
I took full advantage of that time and spent much of those three months looking for new jobs. Some of the jobs I found were very similar to what I had been doing before. I told myself that I obviously had those skills that they were looking for and would be able to apply them in a new but similar position. I received a few calls back and some phone interviews, but nothing major. What I realized as I went through the exercise of applying for jobs was that my master résumé allowed me to apply for jobs much faster. All I had to do was bring up my master file, delete anything that didn’t apply, and rearrange a few lines to highlight the key skills that made me the ideal applicant for the job in question. I just happened to look in the folder on my thumb drive from that time yesterday and found over thirty various résumés that I had put together for different positions in the summer of 2013. That’s a lot of résumés in such a short time period!
Next week I will return with a look at some other things that are working well and then start down the path of what may still need improvement. I welcome your comments or questions below as you join my journey this year in updating your résumé with me.
Once I am done with the review and posting about my own personal résumé, I will turn to the résumé of this blog and Best Word Forward. I hope that in doing so I can find some room for improvement here and make this a truly useful resource for you as you go forward with your own résumé updates.