Job seekers often spend quite a lot of time perfecting their resumes. From tiny details such as the font, to the experience and education sections, a resume can be mulled over for days, weeks, or months. It can be overwhelming, and can paralyze a job search. It makes sense. A resume can potentially contain every pertinent educational and professional detail, as far back as age eighteen. Worst of all, this information is expected to fit onto one or two pages at most.
In an effort to find relief and seek out perfection, many people turn to the help of a professional resume writer. This is someone who turns a job seeker’s background into a masterful work of art. They add in a trendy look, the right language, and the job seeker’s professional work experience.
Although this sounds good on the surface, I’d like to present an alternative point of view. I’d like to challenge you to take one hundred percent ownership of your own resume.
There are a number of reasons for this. First, accuracy is the most critical component of a resume. Your future boss can terminate your employment if your resume misrepresents your background or skills. Unfortunately, handing your resume over to a stranger, who likely does not specialize in your field, is a quick way to end up with mistakes.
When you change jobs, you’re also often interested to change the sort of work you do – or the type of industry you work in. Revising your own resume allows you to put some serious thought into the image you want to portray to your future hiring manager. It allows you to think through the examples of your previous work that best align to your future job. It can even help to shape your elevator pitch and cover letter. Essentially, you’re able to craft your own personal brand.
Don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t revise your resume in a vacuum. Typos are one of the first things a hiring manager notices, and can be a filter for disqualifying candidates. Ask one or two close friends to read over your resume for mistakes, or anything that is difficult to understand.
If you do opt to use a resume writer, work closely with them to ensure they truly understand your background, and what makes you special. When they finish, ask the same one or two close friends to help you proofread it for mistakes.
Above all, remember that your resume will most likely not be what lands your next job. It’s often a personal connection or a chance meeting with a hiring manager that will connect you to your future career. Spending too much time dwelling on the details of your resume will only delay or reduce your ability to network with others.
Take the time to revise your resume yourself, then move on. Get out there and start talking to people. And, when you face rejection, don’t assume you need an entirely new resume. Instead, look for new networking contacts.
Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.