Listen to Lynda — your resume is for telling your story.
Writing your resume can be a challenge, and this is especially true if you haven’t searched for a job in a while. Fortunately, there are professionals like Lynda, one of our certified professional resume writers here at TopResume, who are available to help you tell the best version of your career story to land your next gig.
I recently sat down with Lynda to learn more about her background, why she enjoys her work, and how job seekers can avoid some common resume mistakes.
Lynda, tell us a little about yourself. How did you end up in the resume-writing business?
I've been a professional writer (books, e-books, courses, articles, blogs, SEO, etc.) since 2005, after I walked out of a corporate job to do something I loved. I gave myself a goal of making this whole writing business thing work within two months, and if things didn't happen the way they needed to (read: pay the bills), I would find a 'real' job. Thankfully, they did.
A few years ago, I came across an ad for resume writing, took a chance, and found out I was pretty good at it. Later, I got my CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) credential and I've been focused on writing resumes for the past few years.
I enjoy resume writing as it allows me to learn the stories of all of my clients and then tell it in a way that helps them get the jobs and lives they want. I find this sorting of ideas and qualities to be not only exciting but also challenging. From the first moment I see the clients' previous resumes or their answers to our questions, I'm connected to the process of collaboration and am just as committed as they are to a positive outcome.
When it comes to writing resumes, do you specialize in a particular type of client, function or industry?
I tend to write resumes for all types of job seekers, from entry-level to executive. In terms of industries, my favorites are healthcare, sales, management, human resources, administrative positions, and marketing, to name a few.
At TopResume we help professionals write the next chapters of their careers. Can you share some of the other ‘chapters’ of your career you’ve written?
Not only am I a resume writer, but I'm also a ghostwriter who works with clients to translate their ideas into book forms. I've worked with tech companies to help with their recruitment efforts and I've worked with private clients on resume writing and career coaching. Prior to my writing career, I was an executive administrative assistant in the healthcare setting, as well as a general manager at a coffee shop.
If you could give one piece of resume advice to job seekers out there, what would it be?
Often times I see job seekers try to pack too much information into their resumes. Remember, we’re not writing a resume for you; rather, we need to think about what the reader (i.e. the recruiter or hiring manager) NEEDS to know about you as a candidate vs. what you WANT the reader to know about you.
It's nuanced, to be sure, but when we can stop and think about the employer on the other end, you're much more likely to catch his or her attention and get that interview.
Do you have a favorite success story you’d like to share?
Having worked with so many clients, it's difficult to pick just one, so I'll tell you about one of my recent clients. This person was trying to transition from a career in sales into a career in marketing. He wasn’t quite sure how to translate his skills into “marketing speak.” On the phone, we talked about what was important and I asked questions about how his skills were marketing-related and/or how they had an impact on marketing/branding. We looked at several job postings together and fine-tuned his accomplishments to create a resume that got responses immediately.
Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
One of the best things about resume writing and working with a resume writer is that you'll get an insider view of what HR teams are looking for in applicants. While the trends might change and the formats might shift, working with a CPRW or senior resume writer will help you gain insights most job applicants won't have. You'll be 10 steps ahead of your competition.
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