The Perfect Resume IMHO – Part 3: Who are you?

3 11 2010

I don’t even know which “The Perfect Resume, IMHO” Part I’m on… Part 3, Part 4, who cares.

I was reviewing my friend’s resume the other day and I scratched my head.  Something, just something, wasn’t sitting right with me.  I looked it over and over again and she had perfect grammar, a good amount of detail (while staying pretty succinct) and most of the details and facts were there about her work history.

It took me three or four thorough looks before I finally realized what was missing.  My friend.  This friend that I have grown to love and respect over the past 6 years was nowhere to be found on this resume.  Her work with non-profits, her passion for running, the accounting classes she takes (just for fun), the traveler, the photographer.  Nada.  Not to be found.  Zip.  Why?  A resume is a synopsis of your work history, right?  Eh, sort of.  But it has become much more.

Who are you?  Is all of who you are represented on this resume?

In a highly competitive talent landscape, employers are looking at all of you.  They want to get a good sense of who you are and what you bring to the table.  Through your resume, don’t forget to present the facts about outside projects, awards, organizations, and associations that you’re a part of.  Employers can tell a lot about you through your passion for doing other things.  They want you, all of you, to add to their workplace culture and to make it a better place. After all, you’d end up being a representation of them, right?

If you have something productive and proactive that you do outside of work, share it.  If you’re not doing anything outside of work, start now.

In a landscape where you’re competing against so many qualified people, make yourself shine by adding those extracurriculars back to your resume.  And since I know you guys are dying for some examples.  Here’s something like what she decided to add after we chatted:

  • Traveler (visited over ## countries since 2004)
  • Photographer (taking over ##,000 photos of life, friends, and food)
  • Runner and adventurer (completed # half-marathons and a 10K mud-obstacle course in 2010)
  • Freelance project manager for [company name/non-profit name], dates
  • Spanish teacher in [country] for [company], 06/2009 – 09/2009

Note:  She used only the facts to illustrate her passions and outside interests.  She showed her versatility of interests and was explicit about the dates and the amount of time spent or a numerical impact of her passions (e.g. # of countries visited or # of photos taken).

For example, you can’t write “I love flute!” on your resume without some concrete support to show your actual passion for flute.  What did you do that proves you love flute?  Do you write music?  Do you go to the symphony?  Do you play flute yourself?  What is it that is the proof that you are passionate about something and that you’ve proactively done something about it?

What we have now learned about her is that she is not just “all work and no play”, because, frankly, who wants to work with someone like that??  She’s more than an intern or a young professional, she is also human.  She’s someone who I’d want to work with and that other companies would be lucky to have!

I will report back one day with more information on her hit rate with her new resume.  In the meantime, you try it out and see if it changes how people respond to you.  Send your stories to me and I’ll follow up in a future post!



2 responses

7 11 2010

Resumes are so difficult to write. She’s lucky she has a friend like you to look over it and help her find her way.

7 11 2010

Lindsey, I’m happy to take a look at yours, too! It takes me some time to get back to people, but I usually do. Good luck!

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