Monday, August 27, 2007

Writing resumes, changing jobs

It's been seven years since I left my last job as a Human Resources practitioner. I did HR for 9 years, becoming a manager at 26 years old and leaving it all behind at 29 to pursue an uncertain career in media and writing. I haven't looked back since, despite the really rough start I had in my second career.

How rough? I'll reserve the details for a subsequent post. Let's just say that in a span of eight months I went through two dailies, nearly half a year of utter desperation due to unpaid work, and the mass firing of editors (me included) in the first paper I ever joined. Sweet.

My baptism of fire, I suppose. The years since then have given me a stronger sense of the rightness of my decision to shift careers midstream and go for something I had always dreamed of doing. These days, there are hardly any reminders of my previous life as a corporate guy. The boxes of manuals, training kits, reading materials I had either accumulated or wrote up during my HR stint--I gave them all away. The relevant labor statutes--don't ask me, can't remember them now. The few pieces of serious-looking office barong I had maxxed out my credit card on so I could look more mature and authoritative than my boyish, tiny frame suggested--they're in my closet, hoarding dust.

There is one lingering piece of evidence, though, of my past life, and it's online. Google my name, and among the pages of links to archived stories I'd written either for the paper or for this blog is an article I contributed to in 2001. As far as I can tell it has never been out of circulation on the Web, even as so many other stories carrying my byline have disappeared. It's also been picked up and republished by other sites, sometimes with proper attribution to (which holds the copyright), sometimes without.

The article is entitled “13 Tips to Writing the Right Resume.” Therein lies the secret to its longevity. As long as there are people looking for jobs, an article like that would always grab attention, right? I wrote it up with my HR years still fresh in my head, so think of it as the practical, no-nonsense advice of someone who had spent nearly a decade plowing through badly written, uninteresting resumes and lived to tell the tale.

A new girl in the office approached me once and said, rather giddily, “Sir, kayo pala 'yung nagsulat nung resume thingy sa Internet! Nagamit ko 'yun after my graduation!” That gave me a warm feeling. If this “thingy” outlives me, my published reviews and this blog, I won't be the least bit surprised--or disappointed.

13 Tips to Writing the Right Resume

How to come up with a resume that works--now there's a dilemma shared by fresh graduates and working stiffs alike. What exactly do you put in and leave out to convince the HR manager that you will be a wise addition to their company ranks? It's a tough set of decisions to make, akin to those you make when going on a blind date: You worry yourself sick over what to wear, what perfume to use, what to say to make the other person like you.

Writing resumes is, after all, fundamentally a marketing act. It's a way to advertise yourself and stand out in the marketplace crowd of similarly competent, qualified workers.

How then do you design yours so that it comes off not as a pompous recitation of accomplishments the way a politician may do his, but as a compelling summary of your most attractive qualities?

Remember what your resume is not for: It's not meant to get you a job. Not yet, anyway. Its mission is to get you a job interview--which would hopefully lead to a job offer. But think of that as a long-term goal. First, your resume should be able to get your foot in the door by attracting the reader's attention enough to wangle an invitation for that first big look-see.

HR practitioners thumb through countless resumes in the course of their work. How do you make yours so fetching it warrants a face-to-face encounter?

Read complete article here.


P0ytee said...

I can't believe you wrote this. Hahaha. :))

Anonymous said...

Hi Gibbs.

Very informative article. I am an HR person myself.. and it is frustrating to see resumes badly written or presented. Just to add another tip: HR receives thousands of resumes a day..sometimes, we read the resume and evaluate why an applicant is NOT qualified (ex. too old, 350 pounds, has a picture with the Mayon volcano at the, instead of why he is qualified.

In short, don't write something that will make you immediately not qualified...(i guess, this is related to your tip about write personal matters sparingly).

'would like to have coffee with you sometime, and talk about this "thing-ies" (spoken condescendingly like Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada). =)


gibbs cadiz said...

POYTEE, hehe, brace yourself for more shocking things. :)

D., thanks for your comments. :)

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