Hi and happy October, friends! Today we’re talking resumes. Updating your resume is one of those things that seems daunting and unnecessarily complicated, yet is really just a matter of focus. Recently, since diving back into freelance, I gave my own resume an overhaul and went through those familiar ups and downs. I hadn’t updated it in a few years, and actually was still using the first design I ever created that wasn’t based off a template (not that it’s too outdated, I just really like it). Even if you’re not actively looking for work, it’s good to give it an update every now and then. If not to be prepared just in case, you also get a refresher on how much you’ve contributed your skills and talents to your jobs and projects over the last year or two, which gets the wheels turning for where you’d like to go next.
During the years that my own resume sat untouched within my external hard drive, I’d helped friends and clients with theirs. I’ve always liked writing resumes and even designing them. It was sometime shortly after college when I helped a few friends with theirs that I realized I had a knack for taking whatever experience a person had and presenting it in a way that really played to their strengths and goals. A few job titles that I’ve done resumes for: IT professional, prep cook, creative director, sales associate, project manager.
While all of these positions are vastly different, everyone has the same goal: to represent oneself in a positive, accurate light, which will ultimately lead them toward that (right) next step professionally.
This is why no matter who you are or what job you’re after—I love writing resumes. But when I began updating my own, I realized was that my process was actually kind of the opposite of what I’m used to doing for others:
My job—as a writer, editor, blogger, social media manager, and gosh, so many things—is pretty untraditional. And I love that. I realized that I no longer felt any pressure to fit myself in a box. Sure, I’d keep it to one page and two fonts and hit all the boxes that a resume requires, but I was no longer interested in any employer that would WANT my resume to look traditional.
So I added a summary (or professional profile/statement) that was a bit longer than average, to speak to potential freelance/contract clients that want to know at first glance what I can do for them. I added my recent freelance experience toward the top, even though it featured projects that were less flashy than my last two long term jobs (one I still write for). Then I focused on those two jobs and proving just how very much went into them over the last four years. Lastly, a brief summary of my “side hustle” type projects (including a few stats about The Blog Market), my education, and I ended with a few writing courses I’ve taken just this year to sharpen my skills.
The realization that THIS is the type of company/brand I want to work with or for, and not X, Y, or Z, is really important. I always tell people to keep their dream job in mind and customize their resumes and cover letters for each and every job they apply to (if even just for keywords), but what about why you don’t want to attract? That’s important, too.
If you’re a freelancer like me, you probably send off your website or portfolio more often than a traditional resume. That’s why it had been so long since I updated mine! I don’t think I’ve had a client ask to see my resume in four years. But now that I have it updated, I’m actually excited to send it off. I feel like I can properly pitch my work to brands I love, since they have a proper summary of all that I’ve done (including juicy details like clients and stats that I can’t make public for privacy reasons). Plus, I can use it to easily update my LinkedIn and other professional profile accounts online, by choosing which info is best to share on each platform.
When’s the last time you updated your resume? Can’t wait to talk more about resumes for freelancers soon.