This is something I have not been paid to do in the past, and I priced the job much too low for the time and effort it took. Probably, all told, 10-15 hours.
Here are some of the lessons learned along the way for me. Whether you hire a resume writer or not, they are some practical tips to keep in mind.
- The first step is to focus on the practical realities of the job you want to get. For example, do you need to stay in a certain geographic area? Are you wedded to the profession for which you trained? Is there a salary requirement? These are the parameters that will form the outline of the document. The recruiter should know immediately that you want to work within this box.
- The second step is to figure out your Myers-Briggs type. It's important to do this because no matter what job you get, if it's out of sync with the way you function happily at work, you will be miserable even if the compensation is high. Just to illustrate, if you're a "people person" you should never take a job that requires lots of reports and compliance activities, unless you have a staff and are prepared to manage them well. The Myers-Briggs assessment can be done on your own, or in conjunction with a tool such as the excellent and free 16personalities.com.
- The third step is to write a short profile that describes who you are and what you're looking for. You can think of this as your personal branding statement if you want, but it's really just a simple, plain old synopsis that describes you to a "T." You should look at these bullet points, or short paragraph, and say, "Yes, that is me, exactly."
- The fourth step is to gather all possible documentation that can support a strong resume. Documentation means job descriptions, awards, relevant volunteer experience, performance appraisals, recommendations, and so on. Even some notes about your weaknesses is helpful. If it provides a valid picture into who you are, then it helps.
- The fifth step is to put all the pieces together into a short, finished document. I used a low-cost tool called MyPerfectResume.com, which walks you through the details of the resume, lets you add profession-appropriate text blocks to the work experience areas, and even offers many clean and eye-catching professional templates for the design.
The answer is, like everything else, the human factor cannot be automated. Just like there is no automatic formula for setting two people up on a date, there is also no computer that can take your professional experience and automatically spit out a resume that perfectly characterizes your unique value-add.
From a branding perspective, the capacity to assess your personal qualities as versus the worth you bring to the marketplace is invaluable. Having that third party present in some way to walk you through what went wrong and what went well over the course of your career can be the "missing ingredient."
The job of the third party is to work with you, keeping the big picture in mind and staying logical. They should help you come up with what is essentially a personal branding statement that clarifies and cuts through the complexity that is your life. Instead of feeling like a victim of circumstance, you are empowered to reinvent yourself with every job, extracting only that portion which adds value and possibility to your future.
All opinions are the author's own. Photo by FotografieLink via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons).