Resumé #atozchallenge

Image by Coffee Bean from Pixabay

The one business skill I never developed, and the one that likely hampered my career more than anything, was writing a resumé. It was a combination of several things:

  1. I was always unprepared. When I sat down to write my resumé, I was stuck: what were my accomplishments, particularly the ones that would get me a job? I had done lots in my career as a technical person and a trainer. I knew several computer languages, a couple of which I had taught myself. I had installed and implemented multiple software packages, had learned ancient legacy code applications better than anyone had ever learned them, even better than the people who wrote them. I had become a valuable trainer and consultant who could, in the words of one of my managers, throw bullshit better than anyone. But when I sat down at the keyboard, I drew a blank. It never occurred to me to write any of that stuff down.

    Another thing: At the end of the resumé, there was a section for references. Typically, I put “available upon request,” counting on the interviewer not to ask for them. If they had, I’d’ve been in trouble, because I hadn’t lined anyone up. I never bothered to ask any of my former managers and colleagues if they would give me one.

  2. I was too honest. I would start to write down an accomplishment, and stop myself: wait, I would ask, is that something I can really say that I did? Because if it isn’t, someone will find out… Notes would have helped there, too, as would references. A lot of times I was afraid to write down major accomplishments because of this.

    I never learned that most successful jobseekers lie all the time. Well, not lie: maybe stretch the truth a little bit. Sometimes maybe a lot.

  3. I was lazy. This should be apparent by now. A resumé was always something I wrote when I intended on changing jobs. It never occurred to me to work on it before then. Consequently, when it came time to write one, I had no idea what I was doing, and I’d just give up.

    Then, I ran into a situation where writing a resumé was not an option. Where, rather than me leaving a job, a job left me. I had to write one, because I had to find another job. And I did. I had mouths to feed: mine, Mary’s, and a bunch of feline ones.

I’m retired now, and don’t need a resumé. If you do, here are some tips:/p>

  1. Don’t put it off. A great opportunity might be waiting out there. You might run into a friend who knows of a job opening, or hear from a recruiter who has multiple openings, any of which might be a good fit. Time is of the essence when that happens, and having a resumé in your briefcase to give them might be the difference between getting the job and continuing to be stuck at the one you have.
  2. Keep it current. Updating it on a regular basis will tell you whether you’re still the valued employee that they always say that you are, or if maybe it’s time to fimd another place to be a valued employee.
  3. Cultivate your references. Call them a couple of times a year, take them to lunch, find out what they’re up to, and find out if there’s anything you can do for them. Stay in touch with them. Be a friend.
  4. Practice makes perfect. Or at least much better. Update your resumé several times a year, definitely after every achievement, no matter how small. Experiment with different formats. You might find a format that works better for you.
I would guess that many of you will be searching for work when all the Covid-19 disruption is over. Best of luck to you.

27 thoughts on “Resumé #atozchallenge

  1. My resume almost always got me an interview while living in Utah, but since moving to AZ, I don’t get one nibble. Maybe the employers here view resumes differently. Still trying to figure that one out.

    And on a side note. Several years ago while watching a DVD, an option come up that read “Resume film” and I asked my son, “What in the world is a resume’ film?” hahaha. He laughed so hard, “MOM… it says ‘re-zoom’ film!”


    1. You might want to run your resumé past someone who’s been there for a while and see if they can give you any pointers. Recruiters are usually good for that.


  2. When my agency merged with Toronto we had to create a resume as part of all the details with this merger I had not done one since 1991 when I got hired so I was at a loss. Thankfully, a co-worker had done hers and she sent me her resume which I could use as a guideline. Thankfully I am still working but from home.


    1. That’s what I mean. No one thinks to write their resumé until things have gotten so bad at work that they have to escape. The seeds of their discontent are generally sown several months or even years before. The new boss leaving me off the announcement email (actually, sending it to the wrong John Holton) should have been a red flag telling me it was time to move. Had I gotten into the habit of updating my resumé at least annually (preferably more frequently), I would have seen that. Too soon old, too late smart…

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  3. My hardest part was always the “career objective” part. Like really, my objective is to get a job and make some money. Since that was usually the first topic on the resume, I got stuck really quickly.


    1. “Career objective: To show up and have money thrown in my lap.” I’ve never bothered with that section. If it needed addressing, I put it in the cover letter. Or if anything, I write it last.


  4. I’m retired (as of last Friday) and working part time for the same employer (as of Sunday) so I hope I never need another resume. Mine hasn’t been updated in forever. I also can highly recommend a book called “What Color is Your Parachute” which used to be updated yearly by its author, but now that the author is dead, who knows.


  5. You described my own resume skills as well. Good advice for those needing to compile a resume. During my working years I never really had to rely on much of a resume since all of my jobs were gotten as a result of just filling out an application or doing an interview or through contacts that I already knew (this was the case with my longest lasting jobs).

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


  6. You and me both about keeping a resume. I couldn’t write one own satisfaction and was even worse at interviewing for jobs. I’m better off being a blogger at home on my own who gets paid in comments, I guess. 🤔


  7. Hi John – I so agree … and am also glad I’m out of the rat race – take care – Hilary


    1. I saw a meme once that said “The biggest lie I’ve ever told myself was ‘I’ll remember it, I don’t need to write it down.'” That’s me in a nutshell.


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