The Art of the Resume
Job seekers tend to spend quite a lot of time perfecting their resumes. From the tiny details like fonts and margins to the major components like experience and education, everything on a resume can be mulled over for days – if not weeks or months.
Unfortunately, this means that resumes can become paralyzing presences that actually hinder your job search, rather than help.
It makes sense that this could happen. A resume can potentially contain every pertinent educational and professional detail of your entire life. Worse, all this information is expected to fit onto one or two pages at most. That’s a recipe for overthinking.
In an effort to find relief, many people turn to the help of professional resume writers. These are people who turn a job seeker’s background into a masterful work of art. They’ll use a trendy look, the right language, and the job seeker’s professional work experience to craft a “perfect” resume.
Although this sounds like a good idea on the surface, I’d like to present an alternative point of view. I’d like to challenge you to take 100 percent ownership of your resume.
Why It’s Important to Own Your Resume
There are a number of reasons why I believe you should do this. First, accuracy is the most critical component of a resume. Your future boss can terminate your employment if your resume misrepresents your background or skills. Handing your resume over to a stranger – one who likely does not specialize in your field – is a good way to end up with mistakes and inaccuracies.
Furthermore, when you change jobs, you may be interested in changing the sort of work you do or the type of industry you work in. Revising your own resume allows you to put some serious thought into the image you want to portray to your future hiring manager. It allows you to think through the examples of your previous work that best align with your future job. It can even help to shape your elevator pitch and cover letter. Essentially, you’re able to craft your own personal brand.
Don’t get me wrong: You shouldn’t revise your resume in a vacuum. Typos are one of the first things a hiring manager notices, and their presence can disqualify you from the running. So, ask one or two close friends to read over your resume, looking for mistakes or information that is difficult to understand.
If you do opt to use a resume writer, work closely with them to ensure they truly understand your background and what makes you special. Ask your close friends to read the finished product to help you make sure it accurately represents you.
Above all, remember that your resume will most likely not be what lands you your next job. Chances are that a personal connection or a surprise meeting with a hiring manager will be the thing that furthers your career. You want to have a strong resume, but spending too much time on it will only take away from valuable networking time.
Take the time to revise your resume yourself, and then move on. Get out there and start talking to people. And, when you face rejection, don’t assume you need an entirely new resume. Instead, look for new networking contacts.
A version of this article originally appeared on The Memphis Daily News.
Angela Copeland is the CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching.