This TopResume professional resume writer cares about your career story.
Have you ever stared idly at your computer at work, daydreaming about what it would be like to leave your office forever and start a brand new career? If the answer's yes, then Dan Chahbazian, a senior resume writer at TopResume, the largest resume-writing service in the world, can relate.
“I was always the person correcting people's work in terms of writing,” Chahbazian said. “Whether I was a manager or an associate, I would always look and think, 'hmm, that doesn't sound right.'”
Chahbazian, a New York native, earned his Bachelor's degree in sociology and eventually went on to earn a Master's in business administration from Hofstra University. He worked in business for more than 20 years before quitting his full-time job four years ago to pursue a career as a professional resume writer.
Although he was no stranger to career changes — he's tried his hand in quite a few different industries, from wholesale to publishing to retail, holding titles ranging from sales manager to operations director — he had never before taken a risk this big. However, heeding the advice he had received about 10 years earlier, he decided it was time to follow his interests rather than his degree.
“About halfway through my career, I was told to take a risk and do something I'm passionate about,” he said. “If you do that, the success will follow. You may have to take less money, you may have to start again, but eventually, that will work, because it's something you like to do and work that you feel good about.”
Chahbazian began writing resumes as a side hustle while still working at his full-time job. However, his propensity for words coupled with his formal career history created a natural transition out of business and into professional resume writing.
“I was helping people do resumes on the side, and then after I changed several industries — lost jobs, changed jobs in two or three different industries — I got pretty good at creating resumes for these situations,” he said.
He believes that networking is an important step for people who are trying to change careers. As a freelancer, Chahbazian used networking to develop his clients, skills, and credibility. He began taking classes with the National Resume Writers' Association and connected with other people in the business.
“Don't be afraid to talk to people in other positions and ask them how they got there,” he said. “That's what I did. I connected with a lot of people [in the industry] and tried to find out their best practices.”
Not long after leaving his full-time job to begin a career in professional resume-writing, Chahbazian started as a consultant for TopResume. He was offered a full-time position shortly after and has been here ever since. He said that he enjoys working for TopResume because of the extensive network attached to it.
“It's a very collaborative atmosphere. There are a lot of resources for you to use. Sometimes, when you work remotely ... you're kind of in your own little world, but with this company, I think we're very connected,” he said. “Plus, I can work anytime, anywhere, which I like. I think that adds to my productivity because I could structure the job the way I want.”
If his history of changing careers and industries is any indication, Chahbazian has always considered himself a man of many interests. That's one of the things that attracted him to resume writing — the ability to learn about every job without having to do every job.
“I was always a person who was pulled in all different directions,” he said. “I like a lot of different things. I have a certain skillset, but I'm interested in knowing what it's like to do something else. I might not have the ability to do it, but I'm interested in what other people do and how they got attracted to it and what they did to get there.”
In a way, Chahbazian learns the answers to these questions with each one of his clients. He believes that writing resumes is similar to writing a person's biography — an effective final product is a cohesive story written in the subject's voice — but the resume writer cannot do this well without the job seeker's help.
“[Resume writing] is a joint effort,” Chahbazian said. “Sometimes it's difficult for the writer to write in someone else's voice. If the client can collaborate and work together [with the resume writer], that helps to craft a better product.”
There are several common resume-writing mistakes that Chahbazian works with his clients to avoid. These include not adding enough specific accomplishments, listing too many details about too many past jobs, and failing to answer the question, “What makes you unique?”
“You need to focus on, 'okay, here's what makes me different and why I should be hired over other people who have the same experience,'” he said. “When you work with people, what do they say about you versus others?”
Chahbazian knows that this sort of introspection could be difficult on your own, and he does not exempt himself from the challenges that come with writing your own resume. Although he's written his own resume in the past, even he could use some help.
“It's always good to have an unbiased person [help you with your resume] — someone who's not your friend, not only going to give you positive feedback, and somebody who knows how to put it together so it appeals to what recruiters are looking for,” he said. “As much as I'm great at this for other people, I'm maybe not as good on my own. I tend to look at my resume every so often and say, 'That's not good; change that.' I'm always tweaking it.”
If you were to look at Chahbazian's extensive resume, you would notice that one industry — marketing — is notably missing. That is, until now. According to Chahbazian, a professionally written resume is like a personal advertisement.
“People criticize the resume-writing industry by saying 'It's cheating! It's like having somebody write your term paper for you!' — Well, I don't think so. It's a marketing job. It's like any other product, but it's a person,” he said. “Your resume is like an ad, for you.”
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