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On the Hunt for Free Resume Advice

I credit my career coach Pam Farone with helping me dig deep when writing my resume, but that’s not to say free advice isn't out there. There's a TON of resources. The trick for me, however, is finding the ones that say what I need to hear exactly how I need to hear it.

I discovered Pam because she gave a free resume presentation. These are everywhere and are awesome because they allow cheapskates like me to "bottom feed" for advice. Plus, it's a great way to shop around for the right coach if/when you're ready to take the plunge.

Around the end of the year, all of the career platforms were rolling out hosting resume workshops to help you “start the new year off right.” They were everywhere. I tuned in to Indeed’s Job Cast: Ready Your Resume webinar, with guest career consultant Jackie Mitchell.

For some reason, Jackie’s straightforward, no-nonsense, “this isn’t rocket science, people” message really resonated with me.

“Think like a business owner,” she said, enunciating each word, seemingly for my benefit. This may be simple and obvious, but in writing my resume, I was so caught up in showing off that I had failed to consider my audience.

She suggested imagining how business owners might feel wading through countless resumes and cover letters. They just want to figure out – quickly – who you are and whether you can help them.

So, make their job – and the decision to hire you – easy by CLEARLY answering these three questions on your resume:

  1. Who you are

  2. How you can help them

  3. And why they should trust you

Jackie emphasized repeatedly (again, for my benefit) that the best job application makes the decision to hire you a no-brainer. You do this by directly answering what the job post is calling for.

This could mean sprinkling in keywords, a subtle way to reflect back and also attract the attention of applicant tracking systems (ATS.)

Jackie went on to encourage us to condense what we do into a single statement: “I am a _____ who _______ for ________." Everything flows from that.

What I'm learning along my career path is that people want direct, honest communication. Of course, making that click for them is easier said than done. As a result, I'm constantly tweaking my resume. All that fretting is just part of my process.

That is, until I find work. Then I slap that thing a high-five and immediately throw it back into the vault to collect dust.

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