More than 20 years ago, my employer announced what was then a new concept but has since become a sad fact of life in our affluent Bay Area, staff downsizing. My own job in human resources was eliminated. My salary was the only stable part of our family income, and I was also the benefits provider. My older child was about to start college and, even with student financial aid, he would need my help. My younger child was rapidly approaching college age, so I was scared. Believe me—there is nothing about job-seeker anxiety that I haven’t personally experienced.
What is the gift in this experience?
An intuitive healer I knew always emphasized this phrase when dealing with adversity, “What is the gift in this experience?” It takes personal reflection and often the distance of time to answer this important question.
The immediate gift for me was that I honed my ability to write my own résumé, thanks to my training from professional recruiters. Since they review résumés every day, they know what belongs on a résumé and what does not. I learned that employers’ only interest in a job candidate is “What can you do for me that I can’t do with my existing team?” I learned to write effective résumés for myself and my co-workers that helped us all get new jobs. Thus, my focus is to present my résumé clients as problem-solvers.
“I believe it is a privilege to be a part of helping people develop the tools they need to get what they want, in this case the job interview.”
A story with a happy ending
Thanks to my résumé-writing skills, I quickly found a new job where I remained until opening my own résumé writing service in 1992. I joined the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and became a Certified Professional Résumé Writer. Even after more than 20 years of résumé writing, I still enjoy my clients, the process of getting to know who they are. As an artist, I enjoy the creative process of organizing information and packaging my clients and their experience in the most effective way possible. I believe it is a privilege to be a part of helping people develop the tools they need to get what they want, in this case the job interview.
Language: A fundamental skill for a résumé writer
I have always understood the power of words and their ability to influence. My attorney father was a litigator; his use of oral and written language was critical to his success in the courtroom. He made sure his children used proper English and the right words for the right purposes. He passed on the language values he was taught by his mother, an elementary school teacher. I think my love of language and respect for its proper use are in my genes. Even as a grade-school student, as my fellow students struggled with the rules of grammar, I just asked myself what I would hear at home. It all came easy for me, and it’s a skill that has been critical to my own success. But there’s more—people judge you by the way you speak and write. The résumés that I produce for my clients are focused and comprehensive but, most of all, well-written.
An added benefit: sharing interview secrets
The recruiters from my former HR department taught a workshop on interview skills. I volunteered to be the mock interviewer and learned from this experience. In addition to developing professional résumés that position them as problem solvers, I am able to pass on many interview skills that help my clients land new jobs.
Periodically I hear an insulting assumption that résumé writers tell lies and fluff up the truth to make their clients look attractive. I like to treat prospective employers as I would like to be treated, so I have never written any résumé containing anything untrue. When I worked in human resources I saw an employee of some standing summarily fired for telling a lie on a job application. Ethics aside, lying during a job search is never worth doing; rather, I collaborate with my clients to present them in the best possible light to market them to future employers. Mark Twain had it right when he said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
“I collaborate with my clients to present them in the best possible light to market them to future employers.”
My mission statement
“My goal is to collaborate with, support and guide my clients to achieve the reaction of my youngest client when he saw his resume for the first time: “Wow, is that me?” My response was, “Yes, and it is all true!” The truth, well polished and presented, is all that a compelling resume needs.”