As a professional who has written thousands of resumes and dealt with thousands of clients, I’ve found the best results are obtained when a customer allows the professional to do what he or she does best.
I’ve heard of clients who’ve hired resume writers only to get the completed document and have it critiqued by their spouse, parents, English teachers from their high school or college days, friends, you-name-it. Each of these individuals has an opinion as to what’s wrong with the resume…what they’d like to see.
It’s About Me – Only Me
The problem with that thinking is that these individuals aren’t resume writers or hiring managers. They mean well, but their advice will only serve to confuse or to weaken your document.
For example: An English teacher may tell you that your resume is grammatically incorrect because it has nothing but fragments in it – not complete sentences. Technically, that’s true. However, a resume is a marketing document (with you as the product). Marketing copy is meant to hold and capture your attention in the shortest period possible. Maxwell House Coffee’s “Good to the Last Drop” – should read “It tastes good (or it is good) to the last drop.” That’s a complete sentence. It says the same thing but it takes longer to get the point across. And what about “Got milk?” from America’s milk producers? Yes, it’s a fragment, but it speaks volumes.
A resume needs to do the same. You have, at most, two pages to capture and hold the hiring authority’s attention. If you use complete sentences, your document will sound stilted – worse, it may sound as if English is your second language. We simply don’t convey ideas in a stuffy way. Resumes, as with most marketing documents, are conversational and fluid, like language.
Resume Data Organization is Key
Another aspect of resume writing that well-meaning amateurs don’t understand is organization of data. A resume is not a novel, nor is it a biography that relates everything you’ve ever done. It needs to be focused, targeted, succinct and to provide only the most relevant information as it relates to your current job search. Going back more than fifteen years isn’t advised, yet I see it all the time with the candidate explaining that their spouse, mother, father, BFF, thought it was a good idea.
If you do hire a professional resume writer or coach, let them do their job. They’ve helped hundreds, perhaps thousands of individuals reach their employment goals. They can’t do that if you don’t trust their efforts or if you seek advice from well-meaning amateurs.