Childfreelife’s Weblog











{June 18, 2008}   Resume Revolution

For the longest time I didn’t get a lot of bites on my resume or I got interviews at places that didn’t have values that matched mine. But then I changed my resume, I focused on making it interesting to read instead of just like everyone else’s and a tool to filter out places I want to work from places I don’t want to work. They can self select based on whether they like my personality coming through the paper or not. My resume style is slightly modified from what I found on http://www.rockportinstitute.com/resumes.html.

The basic idea is that you don’t start your resume off with a boring objective and then a chronological list of all your job history. Instead you start off with an advertisement of yourself and a list of your achievements. Then you follow up your exciting intro with the stuff you have to put in, about where you worked and so on.

I have been having enormous luck with this. So far nearly every place I have applied to has called me back for an interview. It doesn’t hurt that I am in a field that is highly in demand and somewhat recession proof. Should bad times hit, I can always work as a bankruptcy paralegal.

What makes you special in the workforce?

Have you helped your previous workplaces get new business or grants? Have you increased productivity or cut expenses? Have you managed change overs of softwares. Do you have special training? Do you have a high GPA? Do you get invited to speaking engagements? Do you train others in your field? These things all show you are better than everyone else applying for the job. Not only put these facts in your resume, but put them in your cover letter too.

Now I have made some of these accomplishments, but my job success did not solely depend on these super cool things. Most places want to know my duties too.

So I start out my resume by bragging about myself and telling them what I will do for the company

Profile: I tell them my personality and my career title “I am an enthusiastic paralegal” I tell them what sort of attitude I bring to the table “with an eye towards innovation” I will have to back this up later in the accomplishments section. I describe how “I quickly find short cuts to make slow work go faster so the team can get onto the interesting projects.” I have been told that mentioning the interesting projects could be read poorly against me. I think my critic is right, and if someone reading my resume doesn’t like that I get bored, I certainly hope they don’t respond to me! I hate doing boring work all day long, I want to make it go fast so I will be rewarded with cool stuff to do. Then I mention my education “I am a top student” I will have to back that up too in my education section with my GPA. “in legal research…” and I go into details about all my skills practiced and learned in school.

My second section is Proficiencies or Skills, sure I am using unusual words, it is a little over the top, but I think proficiencies covers more than the word Skills does, I think skills-I think labor, but when I think proficiencies-I think professionals. Here I list everything I can do at all or I am very confident I can do. I know I can be proficient in nearly all software, and I think most computer geeks that have used computers since they were six years old can agree with me on this. I don’t make this list too long because I only focus on what will matter for this position.

My third section is Achievements, this can also be called Accomplishments. I just put a few things in here that I did that saved money and time or innovated something in the office. You could also add sales you have made, accounts you have secured and so on. I did not list specific companies here, the coolness of what I did stands alone. These are talking points you can elaborate on during interviews.

Then you can either put in your Education or your Professional Experience next, depending on which you think is more impressive. I pimp my experience in my Profile area, so I figure it can wait till the end, they will want to see it to check my bragging anyways. In my field previous legal experience is key. They want to know you can work with attorneys. Lawyers are a special breed really. Because listing my duties is important to the type of work I apply to, I list the years the companies the positions and then my duties. If this were a type of resume where specific duties were assumed all within the job title, I would skip that and combine my achievements and experience sections into one Professional Achievements section with accomplishments clustered under each job. I don’t list every job I have ever done, especially if things were duplicative or a step down. I worked at two postal stores, but one was longer and I had more duties. I worked many part time jobs, and so I can fill in gaps with the cooler part time jobs and leave out the lame ones. I used to list all my little temp jobs and part time jobs. I stopped because it overwhelmed interviewers and they questioned my commitment since I moved around so much. I stayed at a few stable jobs through all those so I list those and leave out the little gigs.

I put my Education after this, I also list scholarships and educational awards I earned here under the schools, grade point average and degree earned or anticipated. You can put education before experience as an alternative if it is more impressive than your experience or if you are an Attorney or similar profession where the prestige of your school is part of your appeal.

Finally, I put in my relevant and recent volunteer work, speaking, art and writing credits, and professional organization memberships and positions. This section is the least likely to be read, but if I have kept their interest this far, they might want to know more about me. The fact that I keep busy doing interesting and intellectually stimulating activities is what I hope will be part of my appeal, and it also might help them realize that I don’t tend to work much overtime because I have a very rich life after work.

I want my resume to scare off the wrong sort of employers just as much as I want it to attract the right sort of employers. So I don’t go overly safe with it. Sure I leave out things that would indicate religious and political affiliation as well as controversial activities like role-playing or irrelevant activities like reading at home and walking to the park. This is not a dating application, unless you are applying to clean the shores or work as a marine biologist, I doubt long walks at the beach as a favored activity will cinch the deal. I don’t list my childfree blog on here either, as it is controversial, however, if I did want them to know, so that the anti-childfree could avoid me, then I might put my blog in there. It is a writing credit, they could look me up and see my writing style.

Once you have it written, put it in a readable type and on a nice paper that is also easily faxed, photocopied and read. Check it out by faxing it to yourself, some of the nice pastel papers fax out gray or black. Have it proofread by several friends and family. You want this to be perfect. Then start writing cover letters that include the same basic elements in paragraph style. Let them know who you are and what you could do for them, and back it up with proof.

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[…] thinking about my resume. I know I need to change it and then I stumbled across this post called Resume Revolution by ChildFreeLife […]



[…] thinking about my resume. I know I need to change it and then I stumbled across this post called Resume Revolution by ChildFreeLife […]



[…] the extra money, and by following through with asking. When you are preparing to ask for a raise. Polish up your resume. Focus on accomplishments not just duties and skills, you will mention these accomplishments to your […]



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