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Monday, December 5, 2011

Coaching Hint #2

Last week, I went to a free workshop held at the NYC Bar Association for young attorneys seeking to improve their job prospects. I'm not really an attorney--have the degree, but don't practice--but I have experienced many strange, interesting and occasionally beautiful things in this life due to my love of the words "for free." (Except for that one time, I let a friend of mine drag me to Nicolas Cage's painfully bad 8MM. Even though my ticket was free, I still thought that she should somehow recompense me for the minutes of my life I would never get back. But eventually, you know, she got over her rage and we became friends again. Alcohol was probably involved somewhere in that process.)
All of this to say: I primarily went to this workshop because it was free and oh my, actually learned a great deal. I love when that happens. Thus, my coaching hints for the day are about your resume.
I'm always amazed by how few people actually have a resume that demonstrates the range and depth of their experience. It reminds me of the time a friend asked me to read and critique a short story she had written. The story revolved around a significant and recent historical event in this country. After I read the story, my friend, from the expression on my face, realized she had left some things out, and started giving me the back-story. The back-story, by the way, was fascinating...but that wasn't what I had read! Don't let this happen to your resume. HR won't wait around for you to give them the back-story.
If you have instances in your professional life when you've gone above and beyond your responsibilities, when you've taken initiative and gotten difficult assignments done, for example, but on your resume, it simply says, "researched case law"...seriously? Your resume is going to be deleted, and someone with a fraction of your expertise, someone who can sell herself, is going to get hired...for a job you could do!
That makes me cranky.
So, look over your resume, have your good friends, have as many people as possible, look over your resume and consider: does your resume clearly indicate that you can do the work you are applying for? Does it also indicate that you are qualified for the work? Does it show that you have relevant experience in the field? Does it give the reader an understanding of your abilities and how these abilities would relate to the position on offer? HR cannot divine your life story! All they know is what you tell them. So ask yourself: what story am I telling HR, and does that story truly represent the best of what I can do?

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