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The DIY Resume Book I Recommend Most Often

February 2nd, 2009

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)

If you think your resume is important, you should check out JibberJobber. Why? Because once you get your resume snazzy, you’ll start to send it out… applying here and there. You’ll need to track where you apply, what your target companies are (track that in JibberJobber), how you network your way into these target companies, etc. Oh yeah, once you finish your job search, continue to use JibberJobber to track all of this stuff for your next promotion (or job search).

11 Comments »

11 responses to “The DIY Resume Book I Recommend Most Often”

  1. Adwait Ullal says:

    Aren’t your books published by “Happy About” too? Perhaps that should be added to the disclosure too.

    – Adwait

  2. Jason Alba says:

    Yes, my books are by Happy About also. Not sure why that’s relevant but it’s true.

  3. Adwait Ullal says:

    @ Jason,

    It’s relevant coz if there is any association between the author, publisher and you, it should be disclosed. Full disclosure is the best policy (even if it’s not seemingly relevant) and let the reader make up her/his own mind.

  4. Jason Alba says:

    Ok Adwait. I do get tired of the “full disclosure” stuff. If/when I recommend something on my blog, it’s because I can heartily recommend it… regardless of relationships or getting a few bucks. I know, however, that this is heavily debated in various forums.

    Here is another part of the disclosure that I didn’t fit into the post (because I wanted it to read like a blog post, not a legal letter): Barbara is a JibberJobber partner.

    However, she didn’t ask me to write this post, didn’t know I was going to write it, etc.

    One of the things I dislike about this notion of “full disclosure” is where does it stop? Are there other things I should disclose, like the exact amount of money I get from each sale (which is pretty inconsequential – not enough enough to get a cheap breakfast at Denny’s)? Or when I get paid?

    This is a topic for another blog (maybe JasonAlba.com/blog)… it does drive me nuts, but I think with this I’m fully disclosed. Unless there is something I’m missing :p

  5. Jason, thanks for your kind words. Adwait, and others, if you want to know more about my philosophy on resume writing and get a sneak peak at what’s in the book, you are welcome to join me at a free teleseminar today, February 4 at http://budurl.com/epts

  6. Adwait Ullal says:

    @Jason,

    If you’re tired of disclosures, perhaps you shouldn’t be recommending (when there is a connection).

    Disclosure is not about you making money from any source … it’s only from a derived benefit such as your recommending “Happy About” books when you have a relationship with it or the fact that Barbara is a JJ partner (even though she did not ask you to write the post).

    Otherwise, the reader is not going to have faith or belief in your recommendation and will always wonder what the ulterior motives are.

    Look forward to your other post about the disclosures :)

    – Adwait

  7. Jason Alba says:

    @Adwait – a blogger who stops recommending? That seems criminal :p Or at least suffocating…

    I hate the idea of not recommending “when there is a connection.” Why? Because when I started JibberJobber I approached organizations (religious and government) who “could not recommend” JibberJobber because I had an OPTIONAL upgrade. That’s right, they could only recommend stuff that was totally free.

    How did this serve anyone? Maybe the free stuff was good/great, but what about all of the other stuff they could not recommend, because of some lame policy? A complete disservice, imho.

    The reason I am tired about disclosures is because you don’t know where to start and where to stop. For example, in my post, I disclosed that I would get a few bucks if someone actually bought the book. I don’t care if you buy the book, but I wanted to share what I recommend (btw, I recommend that in on-site presentations, and don’t get a penny when I do, no credit, no nothing – I recommend it because I like it).

    I get little benefit out of my HA relationship when I do this, or recommend HA to potential authors. Just a thanks, but that’s it. That is not compelling for me. If I can genuinely endorse a product then I do. It’s as simple as that.

    If a reader loses faith or belief in my recommendation, sorry about that. Maybe the “your mileage may vary” concept applies… for everything.

    I recommend WordPress, and I know someone who works there, do I have to disclose that?

    I recommend Barbara’s book and services, and we’ve met in person, do I have to disclose that?

    What about things I don’t recommend? Blogger sucks – do I have to disclose all of the experiences I have, or ties? I use Gmail, Google Alerts, and even advertise on Google – do I have to disclose all of that??

    Where to stop and where to start on the disclosures is silly stupid, and the whole idea of a blogger having to disclose too much or too little is just a tired discussion.

    You either trust me or you don’t. And if I recommend something that doesn’t work for you, then you might trust me less next time. That is my fault. But if it’s something I can heartily or sincerely endorse, I’m going to recommend it.

    Maybe what I need to do is create a “full disclosure” page that has some kind of legal mumbo jumbo that covers every possible aspect of the disclosure discussion… but guess what? Even that won’t be enough.

    So I guess it all comes down to trust. And it’s my responsibility to keep the trust.

  8. Jason Alba says:

    I should mention, in the spirit of tongue-in-cheek full disclosure, that I’ve known Adwait for almost three years on a mailing list (should I say which one, or is it enough disclosure to just say this much?), and that we had lunch with one another last year when I was in Silicon Valley (in full disclosure, we each paid for ourselves, so he hasn’t paid for my lunch ever (yet)).

    Furthermore, Adwait may or may not have ever signed up on JibberJobber, but I can’t say because that would breach private information, in my opinion. Having may or may not signed up, he may or may not use it, and he may or may not have upgraded. He may or may not have recommended it to others.

    He may or may not have purchased my book, and he may or may not have recommended or endorsed it,

    … see my point? I feel like the line between a proper disclosure and an artificial bunch of blabber is confusing.

    But I’m certainly not going to not recommend things if I have any relationship with them. That’s silly.

  9. Adwait, I think you’re right that it’s better to be cautious about such ties; however, I think the more distant ties are subsumed under the much more direct ones Jason mentioned, i.e., that he makes a small amount of money of you click on an affiliate link. Sharing a publisher is a pretty distant connection, unless you are also part owner or receive some benefit from other publications; think of the myriad textbooks published by Macmillan or Wiley.

  10. Kiley says:

    I personally am not very concerned about the disclosure. It you post good links and I find value in them I will continue to visit your (or anyone’s) blog and click on your links–completely independent of whether I think or know you make money. Heck, if you give me good stuff then I am all for you making some moola. If a link/blog stops providing value to me I probably won’t visit or click. To me, that is enough motivation for a blog author to provide valuable content; not content just for the sake of making money. I might be way off–just my thoughts.

    Full Disclosure: I am not an expert on full disclosure.

  11. Kathy Bitschenauer says:

    Hi, Jason,

    I buy books, ebooks, and other printed/online resources based on what I know about the professionalism, depth of knowledge, and reputation of the writer/creator. You have a known great reputation in the careers industry, and that suffices for me. To me, your disclosure is fine just as it is, and for those who want to nit pick, I suggest—get a life! It should be obvious from your disclosure that you are not hiding anything of consequence. I agree with your view –where do you begin and where do you stop.

    Cheers,
    Kathy