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I have many people who come to me to ask me questions about their resumes and how to make them better. From this, I’ve especially noticed that most people have a lot of ideas about resumes that I usually have to debunk before we can actually get to the real work of improving it. Here, for your benefit, are the five main truths about resumes that I tell my clients. As with everything I (or anyone else) says, your mileage may vary. It’s only right if it’s true for you.
- A Resume is More An Art Than a Science: There is no one right way to write a resume. It’s the opportunity for a document to speak for you when you’re not there to talk for yourself. If you have someone who says that a resume can only be a certain way (e.g. must have all bullets, must be in Times New Roman 12 point, etc.), don’t believe it. Take the information and see if it works for you.
- A Resume Is Not About You: A resume is about the person reading it and what they need to know about you in order to make a good decision about talking with you further. There’s no one right way to word your resume, but think about who the audience is. Write in the way they write.
- A Resume Is An Advertisement for You, Not a Short Story: No matter how well the resume is written, you will never be able to relate your entire life in a resume. Don’t try. It’s job is to just get them interested enough in you to want to bring you in. Tell me enough to get me interested (Note: most people’s resumes are boring and not interesting), but don’t overwhelm me with details.
- A Resume Shouldn’t Be Like a Buffet: Don’t throw everything you have at me and force me to figure out how you can help me. Know what’s important to me and just give me that. Think about it more like a plated dinner. You’re being served just what you need, but let them know there’s more in the kitchen if needed.
- A Resume Is a Better Confirmation of Who You Are Than a Calling Card: Most people lead with their resumes (sending them into posted jobs and hoping they get called). No matter how well your resume is written, you are more persuasive and can speak to your value. It’s best if people hear about you and your resume confirms that you are all that.
So, How does your resume represent you?
Note: My career exploration workshop at Easton Mountain, Finding Your Calling: Making Connections Between Your Spirit and Your Work, has been rescheduled to March 18-20, 2011. Please let your friends know about it!
Last week, I was watching one if the two shows that I tend to watch on TV, The Biggest Loser (the other is Dancing with the Stars). Both of these are favorites because people are doing something positive for themselves, and I’ve got a personal connection to the activities: I used to do a lot of couples dancing when I was younger (and still love it) and I lost 40 lbs in the past few years. I still have to work at exercising and eating right so this show is good motivation for me.
This particular show had a session with Suze Orman, the personal finance guru. What was interesting is that they showed that she picked Danny as the winner of last years contest purely by his FICO score and credit rating. Her reasoning was that this was a man who had control of his finances, and could then therefore be in control of his weightloss.
It was ringing bells for me as I’ve found that after I was able to show the discipline to lose the weight, I have been able to tap into that skill and bring it to other areas of my life. My meditations have become a part of my life now. I’m blogging and Twittering pretty consistantly, and I’ve been doing more presentations than I have in a long time. It feels good to move forward on the things that I want in my life.
Today is Marathon Day in Boston, and there will be lots of people streaming into Boston from Hopkinton doing what they weren’t positive the would do, but have been working through discipline to accomplish. I did the marathon in 1998 and remember the dedication that it took to complete it.
What areas do you have in your life that you aren’t moving forward in, and what areas have you mastered?
One of the things that I’ve been working on is consistency. I lost 40 lbs. last year through working with a nutritionist (go to Nutrition for You for more information about their program) and really had to be very consistent in watching what I ate. I’ve also been a race walking coach, and a musician (both singing and playing the hammered dulcimer). For all of these things, I had to practice to get better at things.
Practicing for me is more than just doing something over and over again, but also about the intention that goes in with it. I have to think about what I’m doing and decide if I’m going to do it a certain way or not, regardless of the activity I’m practicing. In order to get better at something, you’ve got to do it a lot so you get past the intentional part about it. You just do it. Malcolm Gladwell stated in his book Outliers that you need to practice something for approximately 10,000 hours in order to be an expert in a field. I’d be doing something by rote after that amount of practice.
So, what am I practicing? Well, as my goal is to merge this professional and spiritual development realm, I’m looking at what I can do to practice both at that same time. Here are the things I’m focusing in on (for the moment).
- Daily Meditation: I get up every morning and meditate for about 25 minutes. I pull a tarot card and read up on what some interpretations of that card, and then reflect on what’s going on in my life now. Then at the end of the meditation, I tweet about it. Yes, tweeting as a spiritual practice. I’m getting better at tweeting, and I’ve gotten some great responses to my tweets, so I’ve got to keep the fan base happy. (Note: if you see some characters at the end of each tweet, it’s the tarot card I pulled that day.)
- Health: I was really good at entering everything I eat into an online food log, and have gotten off the wagon. I’m also trying to get back into the gym and get some more exercise (which has been harder since I’m still recovering from my illness/hospitalization a few months ago). I’m being more consistent than I was, so it’s all about the improvement.
I practice so that I can hopefully do these things at times when my mind doesn’t have the capacity to think about them and make the right choice. I want it to be automatic.
So, what are you practicing?