Face it: your resume isn’t working for you anymore.
Oh, sure, it probably got you the job you have now, or scored you a new contract assignment, or , if you’ve submitted it to some prospective employers, received an e-mail stating “your resume is impressive” and leaving you with the implied “but” (as in: “we’ve narrowed our search to other candidates.”).
What worked as a resume in 2008 and earlier no longer works in 2014. And that’s why you need Richard Nelson Bolles’s What Color is Your Parachute? Guide to Rethinking Resumes.
An essential book for anyone seeking work – whether you’re looking for that first job or the next one – What Color is Your Parachute? has been noted by Time as one of the most influential books published over the last 90 years. With its combination of wit, practicality, cold-water-in-the-face reality, and uplifting motivation, Parachute gets its readers to rethink how they look for work and develop careers they will love. The Guide to Rethinking Resumes is a slim but substantial postscript to the master volume and gets you to rethink the single element of a job search that lands you an interview: your resume.
The Guide does not offer new ways of formatting a resume, no hints or tricks to make sure that you stand out from the stack of paper that’s on a hiring manager’s desk (put contact information in upper right corner, have printed on heaver paper stock, use a different font to show how creative you are). The rethinking part of the title involves rethinking the information that you include and the words you use to describe yourself. To be sure, you will still have contact information, an objective (but even that’s re-thought), chronological experience, duties performed, and education. But it’s what goes in those sections that Bolles has you do the most work. And that’s what will make you stand out.
Starting from the premise that a hiring manager spends only eight seconds scanning your resume, which is part of a process of eliminating resumes submitted for a job and not finding the right candidates, Bolles has you ask yourself a number of questions as you rethink and rebuild your resume: Do you generate profit or are you a cost? Have you had management responsibilities? Have you had letters of praise from management or customers? These are just a few of the 45-plus questions you need to answer before writing your resume.
Even more questions: Do you write it yourself or have a professional service do it? Do you write a general one and have a targeted resume for specific jobs? Do you post it online or mail it? With these questions and others, Bolles challenges you to rethink the information that gets included in what he calls the paper portrait of your career.
But the paper version of you is no longer the only record of who you are. Hiring managers also use Google to seek out more information on you, to flesh out your portrait, and that includes your LinkedIn profile and, yes, even things you have posted on Facebook. So, actually, you have two resumes to create and keep updated.
And one more piece of advice: Do. Not. Lie. Ever. On anything a potential employer will see.
The resume you create with What Color is Your Parachute? Guide to Rethinking Resumes will most likely get you past the eight-second hurdle. It won’t stomp onto hiring managers desks with jazz hands and proclaim, “Here I am!” Instead, it will cause them to lift you from the stack and say, “Ah, there you are.”