Why Should I?

Why should you write your own resume?

Plain and simple: because it’s not you talking on that resume if you pay someone else to write it (or if you’ve convinced your nice recruiter friend to write it for you). And it’s quite obvious that you didn’t write it when you’re in an interview. Things just don’t match up – the level of experience documented on the resume doesn’t match what you say about your background.

The best example I have of this is when I was interviewing a candidate and I asked him to tell me about the projects he worked on from a previous employer. He leaned forward in his chair, looking at the resume I had in front of me, and asked “which company was that?” He honestly had no idea what was on his resume and this trend continued through the rest of the short-lived interview. (Nope. Didn’t hire him.)

I had another candidate on the phone, had a great conversation with him, he was personable, knowledgeable in his field, and in general a good fit for the role. Then he sent me his resume…

  1. It was aiming for an executive level look for someone who has worked in lab/engineering settings most of his career
  2. It was so busy with boxes and tabs and certification logos all over the place I didn’t even know where to start
  3. It had quotes from past managers on it (not the place to include accolades – save that for reference letters and LinkedIn)
  4. His actual experience was buried 4 pages deep (you know, the actual “meat” of a resume and what I’m looking for)
  5. Everything was in a different font, different size, and even different colors
In short, it was the most distracting resume I had ever seen. It also didn’t match up with the great conversation we just had. No way could I present this resume to a hiring manager! Luckily for him I had talked to him before seeing this mess so we still continued in the interview process – after he did some rewriting on his resume.
I’m not saying there aren’t some great resources out there to help you write a resume – even ones you have to pay for. What  I am saying is make sure you are taking responsibility for your own resume. It will sound like you and it will be genuine. Make friends with some recruiters that are in your industry and ask them to take a look at your resume – they are the ones with hands on experience – they see, everyday, what hiring managers are looking for in candidates and they have hundreds of examples. And then – added bonus – they usually have jobs or know of who is hiring and who to talk to.
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