The secret to writing a great resume isn’t really a secret at all. In fact, it’s so obvious that you would have thought every job seeker already knew about it...
Obviously it’s old news that before sending off your resume, you should first get some feedback. However, not many jobseekers do this and send out their resumes with multiple errors and spelling mistakes. But, I am not referring to getting feedback in the traditional sense that involves having a career adviser or someone else take a look at your resume. While this can work, sometimes you have to look beyond the traditional way of doing things to be more effective.
If you find that your resume isn’t performing the way you expected and as such you are not getting any job interviews perhaps you could experiment with different formats. So instead of solely relying on getting the right content, e.g. what should or shouldn’t be included in your resume, take a step back and look at how it should be constructed, considering why your approach to writing your resume is failing. Alternatively, you can think of different ways to enhance your resume writing.
Now there are many ways to do that, but it might be best to start by revising your own feedback strategy. Are you planning to consult with a professional or look at other resume templates on the web to check if you are going about it the right way?
While that could also be effective as the starting point, you don’t want to rely too much on those generic and standardized resume templates. In order to stand out from other candidates, you need to construct your own unique resume that sets you apart and grabs the employers’ interest in a good way.
So, how about consulting with your friends? Have you ever thought about it? I bet you have…
Getting Your Friends on Board
Abram Anders, an assistant professor of Business Communications at University of Minnesota, thinks that a collaborative approach to writing a resume is extremely beneficial to jobseekers.
In an attempt to explain how collaborative practices can facilitate learning – as it has been implemented in Higher Education, Andres says that having a few trusted friends (four or five) to work on their resumes along with you will help you create a more clear and targeted resume.
As he states, “You will be getting feedback in real time that you can use to improve your resume; and seeing how your friends or colleagues have tailored their resumes for specific employers might give you some ideas for how to improve yours.” But the benefits of collaborate learning doesn’t stop there. In a way, this technique allows you to view your own writing from a third person perspective and helps you pinpoint those elements in the document that might be problematic but couldn’t see yourself.
In his research paper, Andres concludes that communication is creative problem-solving as it helps those involved to take their initial idea on what a resume should look like, and expand on that by generating more creative solutions. This encourages a range of opinions to be heard and allows diverse information to be shared amongst a group of people. It also allows you to check if your resume is projecting the right message and whether you have succeeded in promoting your skills effectively so that it corresponds to the position you are targeting.
The Other Side of Networking
The idea of learning as part of a group makes perfect sense considering that in the digital age we live in there is such a large range of tools available. Currently online team communication platforms including social media e.g. LinkedIn forums, Facebook groups, and other applications e.g. Google Hangouts, ‘Slack’, help people exchange ideas and allow feedback to be shared with very little effort.
This social aspect is the other side of networking that encourages constructive communication no matter what your specialisation is, or whether you are a student, a job seeker or a professional. Just as Anders states, “networking is as much about learning from others to fast-track your professional growth as it is about finding a particular job opportunity”.
Surprisingly this applies to resume writing as well. Resume matters can be analysed as groups or even be discussed in class, seminar or webinar. Think about study groups for example. Even high school students can meet up or create online forums to help each other with school homework so who says you can’t do the same with your resume?
However, this doesn’t mean that you have the permission to duplicate content – or plagiarise someone else’s work for that matter. I presume that this would be the only danger to having a resume writing ‘study group’, so be careful not to fall into the ‘cut and paste’ trap. Your target should be to stand out, and you can’t do that by creating a resume that is exactly the same as everyone else
See Also: The Funniest Resumes of All Time
How can working with your friends help you get a job? That’s easy. Since you are human, it’s quite likely you will make mistakes that you don’t recognise as your eyes see what you thought you wrote rather than what you actually wrote. It is also common to accidentally leave out important information or even overlook important spelling or grammar errors. So having friends to look over your work can be extremely helpful.
So the more people you can discuss your resume with the better for you, as it increases your chances of getting the job. If you get your friends involved in the resume writing process, you will be able to exchange useful opinions and ideas and at the same time improve your resume writing skills.
Have you ever received any feedback on your resume? How has this helped you improve your resume writing skills? Let me know in the comments section below…