The “Schmiegel Affliction” has many job seekers’ “precious” résumés in its grips. The inability to part with one’s chiseled declaration of credibility renders these job seekers’ résumés stagnant. If you are unreasonably attached to your current résumé and adapt it only minimally over time, it will hold you back.
Sure, it worked to acquire your first few jobs, as a cashier, server or merchandise salesperson. With some improvements, it even enabled you to move up to better nonprofessional opportunities. Now it may be responsible for halting your progress. Whether you have not changed your résumé for years or it has simply become ineffective as you move up, you will benefit from a renovated résumé.
When applying improvements to one’s own written work, it often occurs that some passages, clever sequences of words, or impressive new vocabulary were so well written that it can be hard to see them omitted. Well, get over it, because this is your résumé. Modest alterations are not the kind of cheap paint job your résumé needs if it is failing to work for you. It needs a remodeling.
Your résumé likely has several flaws you would easily recognize in another’s résumé. Underrepresentation, wordiness and irrelevancy are just a few. The key to seeing those flaws in your résumé is to view it objectively. The catch is that the average person cannot review his/her own work without bias.
The following process will help you take a fresh look at your résumé. It takes a total recall of your assets — without referring to your résumé — to make the difference. You will unearth memories of experiences to reevaluate them.
To do so, you must first:
1) Put away your current résumé. Do not look at the ring, do not touch the ring and do not put on the ring or it will drive you mad all over again. If you have your résumé memorized, like I do, give yourself plenty of time away from it.
2) Then, take out a blank sheet of paper. This is preferable over a blank Word document because one can draw arrows, scribble, circle, and underline without losing the train of thought.
3) Now, brainstorm. List:
- What I Stand For (what describes you)
- What I Have to Offer (skills, attributes, experience, knowledge)
- My Accomplishments (not limited to vocation)
A Brain Storm is messy. Overlapping, repetition, and nonsense will occur. Let the storm pass over so you can rebuild. Making these items specific and measureable, wherever possible, will make it easier to identify which pieces are most effective on a résumé when you get to step 4.
4) Translate your lists into résumé form on a new Word document. Remember specifics and measures. Use the action words that best describe how you feel about what you actually do, offer, and accomplish in your work. Do not be timid to sound proud or ardent.
5) Finally, copy and paste your header and education, and polish.
If the leap from step 3 to 4 seems like an enormous bound, way more easily said than done, which of course it is, or if action words mean nothing to you, then I encourage you to check out the related posts to which step 4 links. While it is a key function in this process, I know some of you may already be quite good at step 4 in your own way. After all, you have written a résumé before, and I do not dare mess with your style or divert you from your own voice.
You do have your own résumé voice, you know. I thought I had to use language like an instruction manual, but I personally used this process to learn how to let myself shine through my résumé. If your voice sounds like a toothless cave-dwelling hobbit, well, I cannot judge you, but I would not hire you.