How to Write A Resume That Works

If I asked, “What is the purpose of a resume?”  Most people would say “to get a job.”  Okay, my comeback to this answer is:

  1.  Any job or a specific job?
  2. A job in your current industry or job in a new industry?
  3. A job that makes a lateral move or a job that moves you up the ladder?

A resume is a summary of your experiences, skills and accomplishments.  But it is also a tool to manage your job and career.  And before you even begin writing it keep in mind what it is you want it to do for you.  How you write and present your resume should be dictated by what you want your next step in your job or career to be.

For example, take item one above.  Now I know what it is like to be in a job you hate so much, you’d just as soon drive your car into a wall rather than go in and face another day in the hell hole.  First, I will never let this happen again (and you shouldn’t let it happen either) and second, in a case like this any job looks good and jumping out of desperation isn’t wise, but I get it.  In this case, the purpose of writing a solid resume, may be to blast it out on the job site boards or send it out in mass to employers and get maximum exposure to get out of your current, horrible situation.  It’s playing the numbers.  But what if you want a specific job?  A job you know exists or a job that was advertised?  Should you use the same resume?

No.  Write the resume to the specific job.  That doesn’t mean lie.  It means if you know the skills and experience the job requires, and you have those, write your resume to highlight how your abilities and experience match the job requirement.

Most advertised positions tell you exactly what the employer is looking for.  In writing there is a saying – Don’t bury the headline – Same in a resume.  Write your resume to highlight your skills and experiences to what the employer has advertised.    Does that mean your resume should be different for every job you apply for?  If you want to increase your chance of getting hired, yes.

But what if you don’t have the experience and you want to change industries?  Changing industries isn’t easy and a resume is just one of the tools you need to use to help you make the transition.  It should be written to showcase how your current skills parallel, are similar, or overlap, those that are required in the new job.  There are other sites like “48 Days to the Work you Love,” that can speak to this better than I can, but once again, your resume is only one tool to help you make this move and it should be written to support the transition to a new career.

But, if you’re not looking to change industries or careers, and just want to move up, your resume should demonstrate that you are ready for this next step.  Every industry has its own requirement, but your resume should showcase you’re increasing experiences and responsibilities and these should coincide with whatever the upward steps are in your industry.

In a social media world, a resume is just one tool to help you meet your job and career goals and you should always bring the right tools for the job.  Keep your next step in mind when writing your resume. Whether it is to jump ship, move up in your career, or move into a new and different career, write your resume to reflect this next step and make your resume work for you.


Stuck in job with no opportunity and no career advancement?  Is it time to get un-stuck and leverage your current dead-end position into a better one?  Not sure how?  Read on.

I’m a big believer in creativity and thinking out of the box.  I am also a realist, and making the leaps from file clerk to President or gas station attendant to CFO, are very large leaps and unlikely ones as well.

But, the small leaps from, file clerk at the auto parts store, to file clerk at the law firm, to document preparer at the law firm, legal assistant at the law firm, to paralegal at the firm, to head of the paralegal department is a path that can be pursued.  Just as gas station attendant, to bank teller, to head teller, to customer service manager, to assistant branch manager to bank manager is also a path that can be pursued.

It doesn’t happen overnight, and education, either traditional or industry, to support your movement forward may be necessary, but using some creative thought to see and build a path toward your next opportunity is one of the first steps you can take to move out of your dead-end job.

The question is where do you want to end up?  Some place better is too broad a target, focus on a definitive end goal and build backwards from there.   Remember, you can change your goal, but starting with a definitive target, will get you moving toward it and away from the dead-end; and moving away from a dead-end is always a good thing.

Think about the steps, use some creativity to build a path, even an imaginary one and then take the first step and get moving.

Taking the small planned leaps, one by one, can get you from a dead-end job and into something better.  I’d love to hear your comments on this topic.  Do you agree or disagree?


(Another creative path – Gas station attendant, gas station lead, gas station manager, petroleum sales rep, district manager, regional sales manager,  on to corporate and now that VP or CFO job is in sight.)

Some Losses are harder to take than others

The Indians lost to the Cubs, Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump and I lost my brother.

The Indians were poised to celebrate.  The champagne bottles were in the locker room just waiting to be uncorked.  Game Seven, overtime; but they lost.  The shock and disappointment of Cleveland was broadcast by the media, right next to the win of the Cubs.

Hillary Clinton, after serving in public office for over 30 years, lost the presidential election to a business man, who never held a public office.  The shock across the nation, by people and pollsters, has been broadcast by the news media right next to Trump’s acceptance tweets and security briefings.

My brother was standing on a street corner, when he dropped to the ground from a brain aneurysm.

The Indians will play another season.  The people of Cleveland will go back out to the stadium and support their team.  They will hope and try again.  In baseball, there is always next season.

I don’t know what Hillary Clinton will do, maybe she doesn’t know right now either.  I know in America, friendships will be ended over this, protesters will take to the streets, and media will cover the fires of dissent and analyze how this could have happened.  After a while we will all go back to work, we will make new friends.  America will go on, we will have the peaceful transition of power.  Some of us will change parties, some of us will be more involved politically, some will be apathetic and some will just wait another four years to cast a vote.

Hillary will go on as well.  She will dust herself off, maybe spend some time with her grandchildren, maybe write another book.

My brother will not go on.  At 52 years old the brain aneurysm killed him in just a few hours.  The shock and loss affected my family deeply, but we go on.  It’s just some losses are harder to take than others.