"12 reasons this is a terrible résumé for a mid-level employee" | Business Insider

This round-up from Business Insider of the 12 mistakes in a fake mid-level resume -- and the summary of why -- is just fantastic.

Here's the nut graf (journalism speak for "news value" or to borrow from high school "kinda like a thesis statement"):

“Many mid-level professionals simply tack on experience to their existing résumé, rather than editing the entire document,“ she says. "While it can be tempting — easier and less stressful — to just keep adding information, it’s not going to help your job search.”

True and true.

I really enjoy working with mid-career clients. They bring years of experience to their resume as they look to take their next steps or begin a possible career transition with what they've learned. As a freelance resume copywriting, they have great material to work with and they are excited about what's next, but, I see too many make some of these simple, avoidable mistakes. Don't!

Get in contact with me this summer and we'll fix you right up!


Are you making these common resume mistakes?

There's a great round-up article in Fortune about the 17 common resume mistakes. 

First: Having a list of 17 mistakes is a little overboard (hello, brevity?) but this is perhaps the greatest summation of resume mistakes I've seen in awhile. 

Let me point out some of the most common mistakes I see in my work with my entry and mid-level clients:

– Not customizing for the job you’re applying for
– Over-generalization of skills and accomplishments
– Including every single job you’ve ever had
– Ignoring formatting
– Forgetting to link out
– Not using action verbs to start sentences

Go read this article!

And while you’re at it: is summer making you think you need a little bit more vacation in your job? Get in contact with me today and see how I can help your job search –> check out my resume and career services and packages and my resume samples, and reach out to me today. 

Your resume, the marketing tool

Last week I visited a small group of college interns who work in Madison. My goal was to engage them in a high-level discussion of best practices for resume writing.

As I built my presentation, I spent time thinking about what's important and what's not when it comes to resumes. (Writing is only a small part of any battle, isn't it? I swear it's really 1/3 writing, 1/3 editing, 1/3 thinking and thinking and thinking...) 

I walked into this session with a pretty clear goal in mind: remind these college students that a resume is flexible; it's a marketing tool

Based on our Q&A session, it's clear that I didn't reinforce "marketing tool" enough. I have to do it again and again. I have to stay it here. I have to say it with clients. I have to say it anywhere.

I have to be the broken record because I keep hearing about a perception that a resume is a hard and fast -- it operates by a set of rules that were made by someone unknown. "You must have an objective" or "It can only be one page."

First, reject most of these hard and fast rules.*

Second, remind yourself that the resume is a marketing tool (see how I keep bolding this?). It's the vehicle that gets you to the next step in the application process. We want to get you an interview. Your resume must adapt and change based on the industry, on your experience, on the specific position and on whatever requirements are needed for that role. You need to market what you have and how that meets the requirements, qualifications and job expectations. 

Approach each resume and application with a fresh a eye that isn't controlled by a rule, but instead, asks a basic question with answers that change each time you ask, "Am I selling myself to the best that I can for this position?"

Or more bluntly, "Looking at my resume, would I feel confident in hiring me?" 

Make it so! And of course, don't forget there are people who can help you. (me!)

*Yes, yes, there are certainly resume rules. They address writing, grammar, length, typography, design, etc. There are always rules, but I see too many clients in all phases of their careers who can't position themselves strategically because they approach a resume rules-first and not marketing-first. 

Ready, set, go

And, we are off... 

This week, I'm publicly launching my website. 

Maybe it's the fall weather but it's hard not to be a bit nostalgic and look back on the path that led to this point. 

It mostly feels like how most change happens -- slowly in fits and spurts. Over the past years, I started to learn more about what makes a good resume and a compelling cover letter. I served on searches in my full-time communications position at UW-Madison. I began chairing search and screen committees. I saw what worked. I worked with more and more people. And then suddenly, it seemed like of course this was the next step.

After making lists after lists, here's the two reasons that floated to the top:

  1. Writing and editing, beyond being my full-time job, is one of my favorite things in the world (sorry gardening!). Writing has a characteristic to it that is very logical. There's a problem and we have to solve it. You devise a strategy and implement. And then you revise. And again... and probably a few more times. Over the course of this all, you get better at it. 
  2. I love to write, but I can't work alone in a cubicle -- I need to talk to people. When I work with clients, I'm incredibly interested in their paths and next steps whether its applying to a new job or considering a major career change. It's thrilling to work with people through these often tough and daunting choices.

In light of the Great Recession, many friends, colleagues and family members have come face-to-face with challenges to their careers, positions or their entire industry or field. Among these people, there is a very palpable sense of being stuck -- physically and mentally -- in careers or positions that can't get them to the next step.

There are a few simple best practices that help present one's life, experience and accomplishments in a strategic fashion when applying to a job. There are word choices to consider, designs or templates to try, and, resume formats and cover letter approaches that can help anyone stand out in a pool of candidates.

That's where I come in.

I know this stuff. I like this stuff. And I'm excited to take this next step. 

I plan to blog a bit more in the coming weeks and share my insight, tips and tricks. Stay tuned!