The Resume Writing Myth

I was having breakfast with one of my colleagues the other morning, and our conversation circled around to debunking the myths of our industry. For example, you are going to get your next job and stay there until you retire (if retirement is more than 18 months away); or, that networking means asking everyone you know for a job; or, the best way to look for a job is posted positions on the Internet; or, one of my favorites …

I am the only one who can write my own resume. 

There are people, some of my recruiter friends included, and organizations who tell candidates / members that they are the only ones who can write their own resumes. 

Let me ask you a few questions.

Do you cut your own hair? You are the only one who styles it every day, right? You know how it lays the best, which side you prefer to part it on, where every cowlick is, and what styling products you prefer. Why do you not just cut your own hair then?

Did you build your own house? I mean, you envisioned what rooms you wanted and where you wanted them and where it would make the most sense to place every electrical outlet and window, right? Then why did you hand off your vision to someone else to do what you already had in your head?

Do you buy your clothes or do you make them? After all, who knows their body better than you? What styles look/fit the best? Colors that complement your skin tones, hair, and eyes? Why, then, do you go to the store and buy clothes from somebody who is totally unfamiliar with what looks best on you?  

Do you self-diagnose? Get on the Internet when you have aches and pains and decide what’s wrong and then self-medicate. Most of us do. Unless that ache or pain doesn’t go away … then, typically, we seek out a doctor. A professional. Why? Because he is trained to isolate, identify, and fix the problem. 

Many people CAN write their own resumes. Many more can NOT. My experience tells me that identifying their marketable value proposition and writing about their strengths does not come easily to my analytically, numbers-oriented CFOs. To buy into the myth that says  you are the only one who can write your own resume … if you truly can’t … is to do yourself, and your career, a great disservice.

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6 thoughts on “The Resume Writing Myth”

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. I would never, ever do my own taxes, diagnose what’s wrong with my car, or fix a major plumbing problem.
    We each have an area of expertise (especially those of us who know we are SME’s – – Subject Matter Experts)- – for everything else we have help. The key is the singular word “Subject” – – not “Subjects”. Utilizing that help plays a critical role in the economic wheel continuing to turn.

  2. You present an interesting question – maybe we can outsource the whole thing – resume, interview, work….
    Seriously, writing a resume is not rocket-science and most professional people can do a pretty good job (with all the helpful references available on the internet).

  3. While I agree that most anyone can do a fine job of writing a reverse chronology of their responsibilities and job history, I believe writing a strategic marketing document that sells a compelling, branded marketing value proposition that offers something a company is willing to pay for is a much bigger challenge for most people.
    Kay – right on!

  4. Wow Impressive!
    Your blog is very informative. However, it is pretty hard task but your
    post and experience serve and teach me how to handle and make it more
    simple and manageable.
    Thanks for the tips… Best regards.

  5. “a strategic marketing document that sells a compelling, branded marketing value proposition that offers something a company is willing to pay for”
    I think your business-word thesaurus just exploded and you are over-selling the value of a resume. Sure, you need a good resume, but that is only one small part of the job-search. Pretending it is a ‘strategic marketing document’ well, I have written more than a few of these (not resumes but SMEs), and I have never seen a resume presented as one by anyone other than a resume writer….


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