How a resume evolves

Today I am inspired to explain how my clients' resumes evolve. (If you've heard you can write your resume in a half hour, read on for some down-to-earth perspective.)

When a client signs on with my service, I let her know that this is a collaborative process. (I will alternate my reference to a client to both genders!) Without great input there cannot be excellent output, and thus he is expected to complete homework in the form of responding to fact-finding questions and to prepare for an in-depth telephone interview.

My client must send me two or three job postings that are typical of the upcoming job search as these drive my strategy. There's no point in my creating a resume for a sales position if the client wants to be a business analyst, for example (and I've had clients that have experience in both these fields). Or creating a resume for a corporate writer if my client dreams of being a sports writer. Or for an entry-level communications specialist if her goal is to start climbing the career ladder.

I also ask clients to take a 20-minute, on-line strengths or talent test. I have no affiliation with the Gallup-run StrengthsFinder, but I find their results and reports are phenomenal! (And at less than $10 it is a deal.) These give me quick insight into the client's value and that helps me craft a resume that rings with authenticity. But they also help the client, and here's how.

Many cannot explain or define why they are good at why they do. The salesperson, when I ask why he's so good at sales replies with silence or a simple "that's my job." Imagine using that reply in a job interview?! No, that won't do. The strengths report helps you articulate why you're effective at your job in concrete terms. That's invaluable in the job interview setting.

Before I "meet" with my client, I've read her homework, job postings, performance evaluations (if she has any), existing resume and cover (if available), and a job description if the position is new to me. One client, and he continues to hold the record, sent me more than 70 pages! But he landed his "dream job," the federal government position to which he aspired!

I can easily spend an hour or more reading, jotting down questions, analyzing and strategizing. And that's before I even begin putting fingers to keyboard to begin formatting, strategizing and synopsizing sometimes sizeable careers!

Half hour resume? I don't think so!

So how about you? How much time have you spent on your resume? I'd love to help!

- dedicated to creating masterful resumes, Stephanie