“I Can Write My Own Resume!”

Feeling Adrift at Sea in Your Job Search?

Feeling Adrift at Sea in Your Job Search?

Adrift in Job Search, (but I Don’t ‘Get’ Resume Writers)

I get it: most professionals do not understand, until well into the job search process, the impact and importance of their resume nor the complexity of the process and complex strategy involved in creating a meaningful resume. Though some professionals embark on a job search with an appreciation for the value of partnering with a professional resume writer, many wait until they are ‘not’ getting interviews, or, more important, not getting interviews with the right audience, before reaching for the resume writer life line.

Avoid Urge for Fast-Food Resume Services

Resume writers must continually aspire to do a better job to educate job seekers to our value before they sink into the abyss of the job-search sea. However, if they already feel water filling their job-search lungs, we can first throw them a quick life-line to prevent drowning. Once the imminent crisis is resolved, we can move them gently and proactively into a meaningful resume development process versus a fast-food, cheapened resume experience that further weakens and lengthens their career transition process.

In this economy, with so many professionals being laid off, companies folding, and organizations downsizing, the pool of unemployed job seekers has multiplied (as has the pool of resume writers, many lacking a value proposition). Many in our resume writing field now feel compelled to provide a less expensive, short-cut service approach, shaving prices, giving away services and advice, shortening service turnaround time frames, abbreviating processes, and stripping the value of professional resume writing in the desire for leaner operations while maintaining revenue flow.

I encourage job seekers to look beyond resume writers offering cut-rate services and engage with writers who provide maximum value and service. Slashed price and diminished service does not effectively serve the job seeking public.

Insider Resume Writing Information Unveiled

Foundation of Resume Writing Value

A few weeks ago, following a Tweet I posted, GL Hoffman, chairman of JobDig, (Twitter: @GLHoffman) asked how I trimmed 34 pages of a job seeker’s resume worksheet down to a three-page resume. As a result, I am revealing insider information (i.e., overview of my consultative writing process) as follows:

The resume rewrite (totally from scratch) is the primary service that clients hire me for – it is my specialty (this is not an enhancement; not a fluff up; not a reformat; not a “putting punch into existing resume;” – is totally, bare-bones, from the ground UP rewrite).

The processes my client and I navigate are a valuable take-away for them preparing for interviews, clarifying their unique value proposition talk points, identifying and carving out their most compelling stories affixed to their target goal — clearing the clutter of non-relevant stories. This involves hacking content with a very large machete at times, but also trimming very selectively, blade by blade, if you will.

Another HUGE insider secret: Clients are deeply involved in and committed to heavy lifting (i.e., company, industry, and position research and worksheet completion that takes them hours/days to complete). The worksheet is purposeful (I realize that means arduous manual labor of the mind for the client). I combine a phone interview with the worksheets to garner forethought, introspection, and clarification from my clients that will not erupt solely through either a phone interview or worksheet. With the results of both — worksheet and interview — I accumulate a depth and breadth of career introspection and stories essential in understanding their unique brand and performing the writing.

This is when, behind the scenes at Career Trend, a LOT of  heavy lifting occurs, hours upon hours of ferreting out nuggets of gold from the worksheet/interview notes to write a crystal-clear resume story that stands apart from all other candidates.

Beyond my unique processes, I know my worth is to flush out the job seeker’s own unique value drivers. Most people are far too broad with this endeavor. They are so CLOSE to their own day-to-day initiatives they dismiss critical nuggets of gold and ‘blather on’ about insignificant information that has no value to the reader. In addition, many people wish to transition their skills/experience/achievements to new industries and have no clue how to do this effectively.

Many Job-seekers Blindly Navigate the Job-Search Sea

As Jane, my Twitter friend, so eloquently pointed out, “People unfamiliar with the vast and unknown job search sea are trying to navigate it without a compass.” In her own experience, she has worked with professionals whose “can-do attitudes, results-driven focus” works against them because they are certain they can write their own resume.

And here’s an additional kernel of wisdom Jane so articulately expressed: “They have no idea how their resumes pale in comparison to others seeking the same position. They also do not comprehend that most times the only key that will open the door they want to go through is a stellar resume.”

Resume writers must continue to promote value to permeate the job-seeking public, collecting and marketing client statements and success stories that stand apart in the media streams fueled by Twitter, Career Management Alliance Blog, LinkedIn, and other venues to reinforce how our services provide job seekers a SOLID return-on-investment.

Cost of Job Hunt

Speaking of return on investment, job seekers can seek to better understand the exponential impact of an extended job search process. If hiring a resume writer can decrease the job search by just a few weeks, the investment pays off.

Dawn Bugni (Twitter: @dawnbugni), Certified Professional Resume Writer and owner of The Write Solution, references the July 2009 Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches newsletter to underscore the cost of being unemployed during a protracted job search.

  • If you want a $20,000 salary, your weekly salary is $384.61 and an 18 week job hunt will cost you $6,992.98.
  • If you want a $50,000 salary, your weekly salary is $961.54 and an 18 week job hunt costs you $17,307.69.
  • If you want a $100,000 salary, your weekly salary is $1,923.08 and an 18 week job hunt costs you $34,615.38.

Taking Responsibility

Bottom line: As resume writers, we must ooze our value and maintain momentum in positioning ourselves as career thought leaders and drivers steering our professional job-seeking clients to swifter job landings, saving them potentially tens of thousands of dollars in lost wages, boosting their incomes, and revitalizing their careers. As job seekers, professionals must conduct their due diligence and search out reputable, experienced, and quality-centered resume writing and career strategy firms focused on their unique needs to multiply job search results.

Article by: Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, MRW (Twitter: @ValueIntoWords), inspired via a recent Twitter chat with my friend Jane Dominguez, a trainer and champion for better business writing and owner of The Write Business Advantage—Twitter handle: @WriteAdvantage.  She posed the question: “How do you overcome the objections of professionals that they do not need expert help with their resumes?” As a result of our exchange, this article evolved.

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20 Comments on ““I Can Write My Own Resume!””

  1. dawnbugni Says:

    Spot on brilliance Jacqui. You’ve given a truly accurate description of the value derived from working with a professional committed to client success.

    The only thing I could even venture to add is a quote I use on my own Web site. The original quote comes from Kathy Sweeney of The Write Resume, another leader in our field, and is used with her permission.

    “Some job seekers underestimate the value of a professionally crafted resume and look at it as only a ‘piece of paper’. However — think about this: A $1 bill and a $1000 bill are “just paper” too. But, like a resume, their value is determined by what is printed on that paper.”

    Dawn Bugni, CPRW
    The Write Solution

    • careertrend Says:

      What a terrific parallel between resume ‘paper’ and monetary ‘paper.’ You and Kathy Sweeney are right! Two comparable documents, but the $1,000 bill is exponentially MORE valuable than the $1 bill. Love that analogy!

      Thanks again for your excellent contributions to this article.


    • careertrend Says:

      Miriam Salpeter (@Keppie_Careers) and owner of http://www.keppiecareers.com loved the data you provided on cost of job search. With her permission, I’m quoting her direct message to me: “Tx.I loved data on cost of search! Recently worked w/several hesitant clients ($ issues) – now they can’t stop thanking me!”


  2. I think many job seekers understand the value of a GOOD resume–they know it is a foot in the door or the first impression. The issue raised is a valid one. Many job seekers do not know what GOOD looks like. The same can be said for interviewing skills.
    Thankfully, most of us do not become a professional at job seeking because it is not what we do for a career. So why not trust a professional with a critical aspect of job seeking to get back to what you do best? Heed Jacqui’s advice, job seekers.

    • careertrend Says:

      Good point, Jeff, re: “what GOOD looks like.” Sometimes “we don’t know what we don’t know.” I’m lucky in my 12-year-young business to have garnered a strong referral base of advocates. They’ve invested in themselves and share the word with their friends and colleagues re: difference between a me-too resume and a custom-tailored personal marketing document that outshines their competitors and drives targeted interviews to their door.

      Though many job seekers still yearn for a resume that drives them to their interview destination, many still struggle with the best map to follow. I’m hoping this article provides bit more understanding of the behind-the-scenes value and tangible outcome of a professionally prepared resume.


  3. Cindy Kraft Says:

    Great post, Jacqui. As I’ve said many times, while there are some folks who absolutely CAN write their own resumes … especially if it is merely a listing of their responsibilities … there are many who canNOT. Those who constantly evangelize that EVERYONE should write their own resume, are doing their audiences a huge disservice. I wrote about this in my blog post The Resume Myth. http://www.cfo-coach.com/2009/07/the-resume-writing-myth.html.

    Dawn’s breakdown of what it costs an job search candidate to be out of work hopefully puts into perspective the investment of working collaboratively with an accredited professional.

    Cindy Kraft
    the CFO-Coach

    • careertrend Says:

      Your article is so relevant. Thanks for linking to it! I’ve often thought of similar analogies but have not articulated it so poignantly as you did.

      I especially like the “Do you buy your clothes or do you make them?” Though I am intimate with my skin tone, hair and eyes, I would never attempt to be the seamstress of my own wardrobe. Similarly, if people hand over our resume wardrobe to a pro, the writer’s mastery will knit together their career fabric into a seamless presentation of their marketable value proposition.


  4. Lucilla Says:

    When you involve the client in the resume writing process you push them to think about how they excelled in areas which they probably thought were not important. I get the “insert fluff” statement with some people. We work with them so they may understand that we are not making a peanut butter fluff sandwich; it is a new document that will lead to an interview and possibly a new employment opportunity.

    Jacqui you really live up to your name on Twitter; value into words.

    • careertrend Says:

      Yes – I love what you said about collaborating with your clients that you’re not creating a “peanut butter fluff” sandwich 🙂 What a great, tangible example! The impact of a document that is a repository of one’s UNIQUE promises of value that leads to interviews and possibly the new employment opportunity may be indeterminable but IS estimable (pointing to Dawn Bugni’s chart of ‘costs’ of job search).

      Thanks for your kind and value-add remarks, Lucy!


  5. glhoffman Says:

    Good post, Jacqui. I especially liked the way you broke down the cost of the protracted job search. That sure puts the small added cost of developing a killer presentation in perspective. All of you resume experts deserve to get your own stories told better and more frequently.

    • careertrend Says:

      As always, we appreciate your support, GL! Thanks for taking time to comment. Your point about putting in perspective the investment of developing a ‘killer presentation’ is great to hear!


  6. As a corporate financial executive for over 20 years, I was often in the position to make hiring decisions. Many people, especially those who have not been in the job market in recent years do not comprehend that their resume is the determining factor of whether they are called for an interview. Even when individuals are presented by a trusted recruiter, the candidate’s resume is the primary factor.

    Many job seekers are not aware that the function and style of resumes has changed. No longer are they an obiturary of past accomplishments and responsibilites, they are the key tool to demonstrate the value an applicant will bring to a new organization.

    I wish frustrated job seekers could see their “home-made” resume in comparison to a professionally crafted document, then they would understand why there are not getting the desired interviews.

  7. careertrend Says:

    Your corporate hiring experience speaks volumes!

    I hope people reading this article also read your comment to reinforce their need for a value-packed resume that shows promise of future performance.

    Also, your statement about frustrated job seekers seeing their home-made resume compared to a professionally crafted document is MONUMENTAL, worthy of reading TWICE! If done right, a professionally prepared resume boosts their competitiveness vs other professional job seekers and multiplies the number of interviews in this tougher-than-ever-before market.

    Thank you for your excellent words!


  8. Resumes only became customary after World War II, as a means for employers to eliminate unqualified candidates among scores of GIs looking for new jobs. Not much has changed. Nowadays, nearly every individual, starting a job search, begins by developing a resume, but decision makers only spend and average of ten seconds scanning them. A resume cannot do the heavy lifting in a job search. Its purpose is strictly to function, in conjunction with a follow-up call, as a marketing tool to initiate a conversation with the decision maker. Your goal should be to present your background and accomplishments in a visually appealing, reverse chronological order, with dates, succinctly and honestly. Stay away from functional resumes, extensive formatting and leaving dates off to hide age.

  9. Jacqui –

    I am one of those people who have ‘mixed feelings’ about people writing their own resumes. While there are clearly those who should not write their resumes, I am also sure that there are many people who can.

    So how do you know if you should hire someone to write your resume or not? While I guess you could say “is your resume getting you meetings”, with all the variables involved in the job-search, I am not sure you can point to the resume as the major factor (in getting/not getting meetings).

    Your friend was very correct that most people don’t have a compass when they job-search, but to say a resume is the answer is an overstatement.

    • careertrend Says:

      Hello Will,

      I appreciate your taking time to remark on the article, “I Can Write My Own Resume.” I’m re-reading the article now to see where you felt it said that a “resume is the answer.” (I don’t see that anywhere 🙂 The article, instead, intends to showcase the “value” that a quality-focused resume writer and strategist can provide, including shepherding the candidate through essential job-search clarification processes and helping unlock doors to focused interviews.

      Job search is an art versus a science. Any one tool — or combination of tools — in the job-search tool-kit may create the key that unlocks an opportunity to talk about one’s value to a potential hiring decision maker. Likewise, the lack of a sharp tool (like a sharply focused, well-written resume) can bolt a door closed to a potential opportunity.

      In my 12 years’ full-time resume writing career (as owner of Career Trend), I’ve encountered hundreds of job-search candidates who propelled their search from acquiring zero (or just a few), targeted interviews to landing up to a dozen or more meaningful interviews (and ultimately a job) following our career archaeology processes.


  10. Now a days every job seeker knows the value of a perfect resume. A resume creates a first impression, which should be the best impression. The article here helps us to create a perfect resume

  11. […] currency that is requested, and you must make it look like an investment. Continues Altan, “If you invest $2,000 and it helps you land a $150,000 job, then it’s done its work. I’m not saying your resume will […]

  12. Hey very nice blog!!….I’m an instant fan, I have bookmarked you and I’ll be checking back on a regular….See ya

    I’m Out! 🙂

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