Should You Have Your Resume Professionally Written?
But, while you’re working hard it can be hard to find time to keep a resume up to date-- especially if you haven’t touched yours in awhile. When I left Microsoft I hadn’t updated my resume in more than fifteen years. (My prior resume was probably on a 5 inch floppy disk somewhere in the basement.)
But, a resume shouldn’t be that hard to write. After all, it’s really nothing more than a personal brochure for our services. As marketers, most of us have written a brochure at one time or another.
We can keep telling ourselves that, yet that personal brochure never seems to get written.
I wrote my own resume before leaving Microsoft, but then about two years ago I decided it was time to update it again. As a birthday present to myself, I hired a professional resume service. As luck would have it, I needed that resume within six months as the company I worked for went through a reorganization.
For those of you considering a professionally written resume, there are pros and cons to consider:
Expense. A professionally written resume written by a reputable service can run several hundred dollars. The more senior level the role you are aiming for, the more expensive the resume will be. For those of you thinking of having a resume written I’d suggest you not put it off. It’s a lot easier to mentally deal with the costs while you’re employed than when you actually need that resume!
Less work – sort of. Resume writing services can leave you with the impression that they can take the work out of resume writing. To a certain extent that’s true. They can handle the wordsmithing, most of the proofing, the design, and the formatting. However, the content is only as good as the material you provide them with. You still need to spend time thinking about the roles you’ve held and the value you’ve provided to your employer.
Quicker. As with most marketing projects, outside vendors deliver faster than internal staff. Once I signed off on my resume project I was on the hook for the milestones that had been set such as submitting initial information and the review process. It was going to be completed within a couple of weeks whether I wanted it to be or not.
No need to be humble! Many people have a hard time tooting their own horn. A professional service can review your actual accomplishments and take out those self-limiting words and phrases. e.g. “responsible for…” should almost always be replaced with objectives you achieved while you were fulfilling your responsibilities.
You still need to own it. My writer took my accomplishments and put his own take on them. He did a great job of clarifying some of my statements in the process. Considering all of this interaction took place over email, I thought he did pretty well. After signing off on his work, I took the resume and made any changes that I felt more accurately reflected my accomplishments.
You still need to have done it. If you haven’t actually done the work it’s going to come across in the interview. As an interviewer, I always ask candidates to tell me about several of the accomplishments on their resume. Exactly how did they achieve that turn around? What were the darkest moments? What hurdles did they have to overcome? I can tell who’s faking it.
The best way to make sure that you have something to put on your resume is to, as previously mentioned, work hard; work smart. Make sure that you have goals tied to corporate objectives. Don’t settle for a role with no accountability. It should go without saying, but revenue objectives trump everything else.
Once you have your objectives set, make sure you meet them, and get that brochure written.
Best of luck to all of you!