I spend countless hours surfing the Web to see what’s out there in the way of resume-writing advice. Today I came across several good blog articles. They all share pretty much the same guidance on what you should do and what you shouldn’t do to write a good resume. Much of what they say is the same advice I have given, and still give, to job-seekers who want to write their own resumes. So, with all of this good advice out there, complete with step-by-step instruction, do’s and dont’s, and examples, why are folks still writing and sending out bad resumes?
Resume-Writing Advice Isn’t Enough
I know people are writing bad resumes because I see them. People send their resumes to me desperately looking for a re-do. It occurred to me that even with all the good advice, instruction, and direction, there has to be something missing—a universal reason people still struggle to write a good resume. And then I wondered, is it because people just don’t know how to write?
Not ‘write’ as in ‘read and write’, like literacy, but as in don’t know how to form descriptive sentences that tell a story. I think I might be on to something. I think many people can tell a good story—they just can’t write a good story.
Case in point. I engaged a client in a verbal Q & A during which she launched into a passionate description of what she had done and learned doing her various jobs. She described how she used what she’d learned on one job to apply to another job and, using descriptive words and explanations, gave me a pretty strong visual representation of her actually doing those things.
Her verbal descriptions were almost eloquent and she became quite animated, physically demonstrating how she carried out her work activities. I prodded her along with my trusty formula, asking: what she did, why she did it, and what the outcomes of her actions were. Without hesitation, she let loose a verbal barrage that left me with a clear picture of her performing those work activities.
Later, I realized, it was not that my client didn’t know what to write on a resume—it was that she didn’t know how to write what was in her head. And I think that is the case for many people.
Better Advice (and a bit of hand-holding) for a Better Resume
Let’s say you are writing your resume for a warehouse worker position. You have some experience so you should be able to tell your story. After all, it happened to you, you experienced it, so let’s see how we can describe your work activities vividly. For example, instead of saying something like, “operated a forklift”, how about something like:
Conducted daily safety inspection of forklift prior to operating to verify capacity and mechanical integrity in order to safely and efficiently transport and place pallets and skids within warehouse
I like it! This description tells a little story about what you did, why you did it, and what the outcomes of your actions were, all nicely described in a single sentence.
Check it out:
- What you did: conducted a safety inspection of the forklift prior to operating it
- Why you did it: to verify its capacity and mechanical integrity
- What the outcomes of your actions were: the safe and efficient transport and placement of pallets and skids within the warehouse
It might sound corny, but when you are writing your resume you are writing a story or lots of little stories. Your writing doesn’t have to be flowery, in fact, it should not be flowery—it should be descriptive.
Check out my article, What Are These “Accomplishments” We’re Supposed to Put on Our Resumes? to help you get started writing a descriptive resume that tells your story.
Alright all you job-seekers, there it is for today. Remember, since I am an expert resume-writer, I can develop a kick-ass resume and cover letter for you, so don’t stress! Believe me, hiring an expert to write such an important document can make the difference between going to interviews and staying at home. As always, I invite your comments so I can make this blog really useful and helpful to all job-seekers.