If you are like me you would have thought you didn’t have enough money to write your own resume. I should have engaged a professional resume writer, but I couldn’t figure out where the few hundred dollars would come from. Plus, I thought I was smart enough to write my own resume – after all, isn’t it just a two page document? How hard could that be? (more on that later!!)
So for all of you Do It Yourself (DIY) I’m-going-to-write-my-own-resume people, let me share the book I most often recommend. Understand that (a) I’m not a resume writer, (b) many (most) of my partners are resume writers, and many have books, (c) I recognize there are a gazillion resume books on the market, and (d) there are PROS and CONS to writing your own resume. I’m not going to say what YOU should do, but if you are a DIY person here’s what I recommend: Happy About My Resume.
Why? The tagline says it all: “50 tips for building a better document to secure a brighter future.”
In 63 pages, Barbara Safani shares the 50 resume tips with super-tangible examples. I can get my resume out and compare how I’m doing against her 50 resume tips and examples (pictures of the tips) … this is exactly what I need. I already felt I had a strong resume, but this resume book provides my final proofing checklist to see if I’m violating any resume rules.
The rest of the book (the book is about 155 pages long) is full of examples and other resources in the appendices. I’m not inclined to check out those examples, except I would quickly scan to see if any of the examples had the same job title(s) I was looking for, and then dig a little deeper into those resumes.
Here is some of what you’ll see in this resume book:
The Introduction: Usually I skip over the introduction to a book, but in this one Barbara lists 10 common reasons most resumes suck. And then she gives her thoughts on each of the 10. This intro is required reading.
Chapter 1, Tip 3: Always include an address. Barbara says why leaving an address off can be a red flag, what to do if you are concerned about privacy, and what’s different on a job board.
Chapter 2, Tip 4: Create a headline. I didn’t have a headline on my resume – the closest I got was naming the resume file something specific (“project manager resume”). This tip comes with over a page of examples, and leads directly into Tip 5: Add a tagline or branded statement (with another page+ of examples. Remember, your resume is a marketing tool, and should not read like an obituary.
Chapter 3, Tip 12: Minimize job tasks. Barbara tells why (and how) to talk about the tasks, and why these should be minimized. Why? Hint: because your resume is a marketing tool, not a job description. It’s on page 20.
Chapter 6, Tip 39: Don’t bullet more than five items in a row. Why? Might as well write a paragraph (or perhaps a novel)… if you have more than five bullet points in a row she has a great solution.
Chapter 8 is like a bonus, with 11 Tips for Creating Value Added Cover Letters.
This is not the most in-depth resume book I’ve seen, but for me it would have been perfect. I know resume writers have other resume books on their shelves that they use frequently… but the DIY resume writer will get great ideas from Happy About My Resume. You can get the paperback for $16.96, or the eBook for 11.95 from here.
(note: each of the links to the Happy About My Resume page are affiliate links, which means if you buy it I’ll get a few bucks. That’s my “full disclosure” statement :p)