Thursday, January 3, 2013

Resume Writing 101

I love to write, but I do not love to write resumes. Why is it so hard?

Luckily, I have an old, dated copy of my resume so I didn't have to recreate it from the ground up. There's a tip for you. Always save a copy of your resume. You don't want to have to search for dates and addresses of your former employers. That's a daunting task.

I can use all the career advice I can get. Photo from Click at Morguefile.

A resume puts it all out there. I have some regrets in the career area and, lets just say, my resume shows it all. Most of my regrets involve gaps. This is the age-old problem of a woman who chose to be a stay-at-home mom for a number of years who knows it's time to go back to work outside of the home. You know what that equals on the resume? A black hole. You can't very well write the dates of your children's births on there, though that would explain a lot to prospective employers. It would look something like this:

Had Three Children (1999, 2004, 2008)
  • All-natural child birth all 3 times (Painful!)
  • Breastfed for probably too long
  • Potty trained (and cleaned up a LOT!)
  • Dealt with colic, sibling rivalry, and school issues
Unfortunately, prospective employers don't care that you declined epidurals and kept your cool while your children threw up on you in the middle of the night.

Thankfully, I've done a considerable amount of freelance writing in the last 5-6 years. Though it hasn't been full time by any means, it does at least look like I've done something besides change diapers, make dinner, and drive my kids to soccer games.

Resumes have changed since I last wrote one. It was the thing back in the day to put your "objective" on the top. I always hated that. You needed to change it for each job application. Every job was a bit different, so you needed to make each objective sound like it was your life-long passion to work there, based on the ad you read in the newspaper. On one resume, your objective was to work in a fast-paced office environment with lots of customer contact. On another, it was to fully utilize your MS Office skills while being able to juggle a full workload. Thankfully, that kind of fakery seems to be a thing of the past.

The 'just the facts and only the facts' style seems to be the current resume approach. I like it. I'm going with it. I figure any flowery words about my career aspirations and my amazing abilities at organizing and typing can best be spelled out in a cover letter. Can I just say, Thank God I was forced to take a typing class in high school. That was the single best class I ever took. I wouldn't be the person I am today without Mr. Cline and his typing class. Seriously. And, we learned on REAL typewriters, too. If we made a mistake, there was no copying and pasting our way out of it.

Are you savvy with resume writing? What tips do you have for me?


  1. Fortunately, I've never had to worry too much about my resume. I've been lucky in the job department, only having to send out a handful and getting interviews. If I knew what I had done right, I'd tell you.

    What I really want to share with you is my occasional google searches for "cool resumes." There are some really creative, thoughtful resumes that have landed people some really great jobs. Depending on what type of job you are looking for, you might come up with some creative ideas for your own resume that could, if nothing else, get your foot in the door for the interview (where you will, of course, wow them with your personality and win the job!).

    Finally, I too thank Mr. Cline on a regular basis. My students often comment on how fast I type, and are more often than not stunned that I can type something in an email while listening and responding to their questions (the simple ones, such as "do you have another copy of the handout"). I tell them that they, too, can accomplish keyboarding if they practice doing so properly. Most prefer their unique methods, usually governed by the use of one or two fingers and a thumb now and then.

    1. I'll definitely look up cool resumes. Thanks for the confidence boost, by the way!

      Mr. Cline was one of a kind! I also thank him for teaching me how to balance a checkbook.

  2. Typing saved my life. It's the only reason I didn't work at Old Country Buffet for 30 years.

    I HATE resume-writing. Everyone always asks for my help (which I provide because I'm a giver...stop laughing), but it's painful. And the truth is the interview is a thousand times more important. Spell check that bad-boy, and you're good to go.

    1. It's spell checked and ready to roll!

  3. Sometimes you might call for the interview and then it will be confidence that gets you the job (of course an honest resume). I am a member of Toastmasters International (speaking club) and one of our members told how "Table Topics", an exercise where you just stand to your feet and answer a question, helped her have the confidence to land her dream job.

    Then it is competence that helps you keep that job. Sometimes employers don't like moms who at the drop of a hat have a child emergency and have to leave work. I think you can interview the employer when you go for an interview and let them know incidentally that hubby or mother-in-law can help when your son might get sick at school.

    Love this post and the resume link at the bottom right.

    Hugs and prayers,

    1. Thanks for the advice. I'll definitely remember to mention that there's other family to help handle kid emergencies.
      I remember being very nervous whenever I had interviews in the past. I'll have to practice. Maybe my kids can help me. :)