I had asked Kathy if I could tell folks I’d done some work for her, and if she’d let folks know whether she’d been happy with it. Never thought she’d go to such lengths!
A little more of the back story – I have been a technical writer for various fields and industries for 25+ years. So when our DR work clearly indicated that I needed to get a part-time job in addition to the farm work, going back to that technical writing seemed the natural choice. Resume work has filled the bill pretty nicely – I can do the work at home, early, late, and/or in between other tasks, and I talk to all my clients through either phone or email. I work for a resume service, so they do all the annoying stuff like marketing, client billing, record-keeping, etc. It’s not earning us a lot but it’s enough to help us make ends meet, which is exactly what we were looking for.
I have been doing resumes for about six months now, and I’ve learned a lot about what goes on within HR departments as folks submit resumes for review. When Kathy posted awhile ago about having all sorts of financial experience but BofA turned her down for lack of experience, that’s exactly the type of problem that brings people to our proverbial doorstep. She’s been such a trooper on the list, and had been hit by her fair share (and then some) of Murphy, that I felt compelled to do something to help. So I offered to look over her resume, and help her whip it into a format that HR departments would smile on instead of frown at.
Given that experience and given a few other resumes I’ve done for family and friends, I can say that a whole lot of folks really struggle with how to put together a solid resume that is going to really perform well. The information is out there but it can be tough to pull together, and there are a lot of differing opinions about what works and what doesn’t. Towards that end, I am working on a Resumes 101 for the list, and it’s turned into something of a monster. There’s just so much to go over in terms of “Do’s” and “Don’t’s” and myths and best practices, that it’s hard to sum it all up. I thought I could write it in a weekend and here we are almost a month later and I’m not done. But I wanted to give the list a guide for how to really put together a sharp resume, because that really is where the rubber meets the road for 99% of job applications. The chance for folks to just “drop off an application” and get face-time with a manager, and have that be sufficient, are just about gone the way of the dinosaur for all but the smallest companies. Everyone else is stuck with needing to learn the rules for resumes, and precious few folks are sharing. Kathy was dead-on accurate when she called the job search a blood-letting. That’s certainly the way it feels sometimes. So I wanted to do what I could for the list to keep it sane, and give folks the best shot at landing the jobs they want or need. After all the support that the list has provided, that seemed a nice way to help.
I’m not done yet with the Resumes 101 but I’ll post it as soon as I can. It’s going to cover a variety of topics – current format recommendations, ways to help your resume stand out in comparison to others which might be competing, what information to include, what not to include and why, and some of the major changes in HR job applications handling which have made all this a very different process than it was even five years ago.
In the meantime, if folks want to ask general questions about resumes either on-list or off, I’ll answer to the best of my ability. There’s a lot to know and no question is too big or too small. If folks want to send me their resumes to look over and then I give them some “DIY” suggestions, I’ll be happy to do that for free. Be prepared that it sometimes takes me a few days to get the turnaround time for that. Or, if folks are totally up against a wall with resumes which aren’t working, or they don’t have one and need one, and they want me to do their resumes for them, contact me off-list and I’ll let you know my rates and availability. The cost will vary by the amount of work I’ll need to do, but I can say now it’ll range between $50 – $150. If that seems steep, consider that the service which employs me, starts at $179 for a no-frills resume. I typically put 3-6hrs into each resume so I won’t be retiring on resume income anytime soon. But I wanted to be clear about what it would cost folks, and why the Resumes 101 and freebie advice might be a good choice for folks who are really squeezed.