How is Your “Curb Appeal”?

Should you just throw a resume together?

Susan had just returned from her lunch with a former supervisor and she was so excited. A position had come open for her in his department and he wanted Susan to give him her resume. She has all the skills and experience required and he was sure she would be a great fit. She assumed that she would just go home and make some changes to her old resume that she used five years ago, and that should be good enough. (I hate those words, good enough.)

I speak to so many people who, after they learn of a position, feel they can just quickly put a resume together. Especially if they are writing it themselves, they just want to get something together and they are not concerned with quality. After all, isn’t timing everything? And, in Susan’s case, her friend can vouch for her.

This is doing a great disservice to yourself and probably costing you a lot of money.

Even if the person you are applying to is a good personal or family friend, the new company will still have to evaluate you and your worth in the new position. How much are they going to pay you? How are you showing them your worth?

We get so excited about getting a new job or a new position that we often don’t spend any time maximizing the opportunity we are in. Instead of taking the time and effort to show our best value, we just thank our lucky stars we are getting an offer. If you are being sought after, it isn’t luck. It isn’t their kindness. It is the fact you are valuable.

It is like having someone come into our house, looking around the entrance and saying they will buy it for market value. We don’t sell our homes like that when we have a choice. We paint it, change the carpet, and get new kitchen appliances and new landscaping. We consider its “curb appeal”.

Why? Because we want to get the maximum amount out of it.

That is what we should do when we are faced with a great opportunity for a new position. Take time to work on your “curb appeal”, your resume. Does your former supervisor know that you just earned a new certificate? You were selected for a special project? You have cross-trained in a new department? This is information that can make a big difference in how much they will consider paying you.

We update our homes before moving out because we realize it increases its value. The same should be done when we are looking at a new job or position. Update the front walk and carpet.

Take time to maximize your resume and interview behavior so that when you do get the dream job, your dream be even better.


Do I Need a Coach?

Do I need a professional resume writer? There is no one answer to this. I guess technically there are two: yes and no. Laura Smith-Proulx, a fellow NRWA member, has posted on her blog five things to consider in hiring a professional resume writer or career coach.

Laura holds several resume writing certifications and has helped many executives in their career transitions. She has been published in several media outlets and is sought after for her knowledge and judgment. .

Knowing your job does not mean that you are good at writing about it; especially if you have not written one in a while. Because there are no hard and fast rules on a resume, it can be hard to decide a good way to promote yourself.

It also helps to get another view. Many of us have blindspots toward our skills or special babies that we have a hard time letting go. I often coach clients who have done some pet project in the past that has nothing to do with what they are applying for. Having an extra set of trained eyes can often polish up your resume and tell your story better.

Editors, ghost writers, and proofreaders are helpers that professional writers use to tune up their writing. Shouldn’t you take the same care in the most important document that you are hoping to get you in front of a potential employer?

As Laura posts, there are many people who can write their own resume and I think this is often best. You know what you did and you are the one speaking with the employers. But not all of us have the time or the talent to produce a great self marketing tool. Make the choice that will cause you stand out from the competition.