Friday’s on my mind – RESUMES SUCK. Thanks Leonardo da Vinci (credited with the first resume in 1482). Now we all have to do it.
Leonardo used a letter to introduce himself to a powerful patron, telling him all the great things he could do, and all about how the Duke should immediately pay him lots of cash. None of them were art. More like inventions to protect fighting men and cool new instruments of war. There may have been a hand crafted silver lyre involved.
- Suck time
- Can be torture to write – and read
- Can be jargon-weed jungles
- Can reduce your life to a shopping list
- Say nothing about you
Which is weird because you’ve just spent five pages and a whole weekend doing just that
However, RESUMES CAN SING (with or without silver lyres).
- Can be a great read
- Tell people who you are
- Speak about things you’re proud of doing and being
- Can be weeding tools – and that’s OK
- Remind you that there really is only one you
Some things to try if you’re stuck in the weeds on this…
- Warm up - go back over your list of gigs and edit. It’s a good task to start with before you get into anything detailed.
- LinkedIn is a great place to keep dates. Because I for one do not like to spend a lot of time thinking about what I was doing on 10 January five years ago. Another good warm up activity - check the dates are right - its like an automatic debit. You only have to do it once.
- Find your narrative arc – try writing your story as a story. Answer this question for yourself “Who am I really, and how did I get like this ?” You don’t have to use this anywhere but it will uncover ideas.
- Write your farewell to work speech – what would you want someone to say about you? You might be surprised at what leaps out and it may not be the thing you think. And no, you don’t have to be 20 years in the workforce to do this - it could be when you leave Uni or school.
- Flip your narrative timeline in a short bio paragraph – what are you doing right now? Start with that.
- Write a three paragraph bio about yourself – read it aloud and record it. Anything “off” will pop out straight away.
- Explain your sector if you need to adjust perceptions. You’re a scientist? What does that even mean? Even if you are never moving outside your sector its good for your own clarity, and helps to keep jargon down
Remember your resume is like a GARDEN or a DOG - both can become savagely overgrown and do not do well when neglected.