The Overlooked Key to a Great Resume!

By Victor Johnson, Career Facilitator

I’ve had the great blessing that in almost all of my adult life I have been able to work in the career field I have a passion for: Training and Development.  The majority of that being in career education and workforce development.  Whether I was working with 5th graders, high school students, college students, or older adults, I heard the same kinds of questions from ages ten to eighty.  There is, however, one question that I’ve heard over the years that is the most frequently asked: How do I make my resume sound good?

Many years ago I had a mid-shift job for a company that did the cleaning of the ABC Channel Six Building here in Columbus, Ohio.  I cleaned the offices, the restrooms, part of one studio, and the conference rooms.  There was this one conference room on the first floor that had this really great looking carpet.  You know, the kind that when you vacuum, it leaves rows of impressions?  It was like that.  So one night when I was vacuuming the carpet looking at the patterns, I started thinking of ways to make the room special.  I thought, “I bet I could put a large WSYX in the carpet.  But, with the table and chairs there wasn’t enough room.  I still wanted to make the room special in a way that whoever was in the room would feel special.  I knew what to do! I could put the number “6” in this carpet – without leaving any footprints!”  I figured out what I needed to do and in just a few minutes the carpet was clean and there was an impression of a “6” right in the middle of the neat rows of vacuum marks. 

I wasn’t thinking about it the next evening when I came to work.  But when I got to the conference room, I did the same thing.  A big 6 in the middle of the floor and no footprints.  It looked like the aerial pictures of crop circle patterns in the middle of corn and wheat fields. The next evening when I got to work, the owner of the cleaning company was waiting for me.  He said he wanted to tell me himself, how impressed the station manager was with the 6 in the conference room carpet.  He said there was an added bit of WSYX Team pride for the meeting that day.  He also said that everyone was trying to figure out how I did it without leaving footprints.  I continued doing it for the rest of the time I worked there.

What is the point of the story?  This is how you make your resume sound good.  Each day you work you are adding to your resume.  Are you putting in that extra effort that shows the pride you take in your work or being part of a team – or are you just doing enough to get by before your shift is over?  There are places that you can work that will impress people.  For example I could be interviewing someone who says, “I was an assistant to Warren Buffet.”  Warren Buffet! That’s impressive!  But, were you an impressive assistant?  Show me in your resume.  Where are the accomplishments and the recognitions for outstanding work? 

Do you want a great resume?  Then you have to be a great employee.  You start writing your resume when you get your first job and you add to it for the rest of your working life.  Think about the first job you had.  When you went to work every day, were you thinking, “Today is another day to do my work so well that I get a compliment!”?  Did you approach every day as a day to learn more about your job, different areas, the company, and promotions?  If you did then you are one of the people that does not need to ask how to make a resume sound good.  If not, start tomorrow.  There is always time to improve your resume.

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