Your Rant: Should I hire someone to rewrite my resume?
Workplace 911 Repair: With so many people being laid off, resumes are an important way to distinguish yourself from the crowd. But before your race off to hire someone to rewrite your resume, remember the lesson of Milli Vanilli.
The group was a very popular duo from the 1980s that was busted for not using their own voices after they won a Grammy. Less well-known was the concert a year earlier in Bristol, Conn., when the record started skipping while Milli Vanilli was performing onstage. They pretended to sing and dance along with the skip until they finally ran offstage. Oops.
We can all learn an important lesson from Milli Vanilli: To not overrely on someone else's voice, your resume should be all about you.
I've listed four tips for an effective resume below. The tips are built around the word "TYPO." Why typo? Because that's the No. 1 reason resumes get tossed. For more, check out "Resumes for Dummies" by career advice pioneer Joyce Lain Kennedy (Wiley, 2003).-- 30 seconds. A resume is more of a billboard than a biography, literally. Why? Because a manager or human-resources professional, on average, spends only 30 seconds reading it. A resume shouldn't be a puzzle or a riddle. You need to make it easy for someone to figure out who you are and what you can do, immediately.
Most resumes fail this test.-- Your voice. My sister hired a resume writer for her resume. After he was done with it, it sounded computer-generated. Whether you use a resume writer or a resume book, be sure that you don't just steal their language. Your objective statement is something that you should actually say during a job interview -- or at least sound as if you would. -- Performance-based.
Most resumes that I've seen are like a laundry list of tasks. "I facilitated this committee," "I reported to this person" or "I have this skill." Most resumes don't spend enough time discussing achievements. Things like: "I increased sales 11%", "I cut department costs 6%" or "I managed the relationship with a customer who provided the company with 17% of our revenue and 22% of our profits." Don't have this kind of data? Then start collecting it.-- Out-work. One-size-fits-all may work for the Snuggie, but it is a disaster for a resume. You've got to tailor each resume for the job. Sure, this is a lot of work, but remember there are about 600,000 people who are laid off each week. How can you stay ahead of this herd? Simple: Turn your resume into a document that isn't just a look in a rearview mirror about your career, but shows a potential employer what you can do for them.
Milli Vanilli's career crashed and burned because they didn't use their own voices. Hopefully, you can follow these tips so you don't experience the same fate.