Not long ago I issued a call for resumes from advertising newbies. Agency types with fewer than three years experience who knew their resumes weren't working as hard as they should be, but just didn't know how to fix them.
Over 100 resumes from 8 countries were submitted. And, once I dug out the printer, three emerged as great examples of the challenges most submitters were struggling with.
I worked on the makeovers with "Adverboyfriend" - also known as Lance Dooley, Creative Director at SBC Advertising.
We'll start off with a few general tips on fixing common problems and then the before / after / and why of three makeovers.
Common Goofs: General Resume Advice
- Your resume is a package, not a laundry list. It's that meaningful, relevant way you want employers to know you. You have to know what's important. And, that's not necessarily every job, award, and task you've ever had.
- It's harder to write short than long. Most of the resumes we received were 2 - 3 pages long. That's a page for every year of your agency lives. And, it's too much. Simplify your story to the good parts. Clarify your goals and profiles. You want us to read it, not be impressed by its weight.
- Pick a job and go for it. Don't expect the harried manager or unfamiliar HR rep to determine how you could fit into the agency. Tell them how. Explicitly. Name a role and focus all your content on it. (You can always have a couple of versions if you're still undecided)
- Your skills are things you can do incredibly well, not programs you can operate. Before reading any further, please solemnly swear that you will never again type the heading "Skills" and list next to it every computer program you've ever launched. If you must list skills, they're facilitation, synthesis, making cookies for the brainstorming meeting, even. Just not Photoshop.
- Have a voice. The ideal reaction that a manager will have when meeting you is - wow, she's exactly what I expected from her resume. Bring your personality to the page. It shows (not tells) that you know how to communicate.
Ok, onto the resumes with these two small caveats:
- These recommendations are expressly for people who want to work in creative industries. Candidates applying to large corporations that leverage key word scanning software should think as much about the relevant key words and the ease of import as some of the advice we're sharing here.
- We picked these people because they appear to be great candidates. Smart, savvy, creative. So, when the criticism starts flying, remember that it's not about them - it's about a piece of paper.(Thick skins, people! You can insult us in the comments!)
Watch for the resumes this week:
- Monday: Kate Lindsay for Seattle
- Tuesday: "John" an anonymous ad guy for Quebec
- Wednesday: Danielle Hueston from Rochester