Tell the Truth: Working with a Resume Writer


There’s a movie I love so much I can recite all the lines, right along with the characters. It's called, Primal Fear. The movie is about a lawyer (Richard Greer) who defends an altar boy (Edward Norton), charged with murdering an Arch Bishop in a particularly gruesome way.

When I first saw this movie, as a young teen, the climax made my skin crawl. Which, I think, is why I loved it so much (yup, I'll confess, I'm a Stephen King fan with an affinity for entertainment that is a little twisted and dark).

However, there is a line of dialogue in this movie that springs to mind almost every time I'm conducting a consultation with a client. Richard Greer’s character meets the altar boy he’s to defend and tells him:

“I am your attorney. Which means, I'm your mother, your father, your best friend and your priest”.

In other words, confide EVERYTHING in me; and don’t talk to anyone else about it.

Resume writers are a little like the career professional equivalent to lawyers. You tell us your whole career story, the good, the bad, and even the super ugly, and we’ll decide how to best present that information to ensure the best possible outcome for you.

Remember, as a resume writer, I’m YOUR writer – I’m not your recruiter, your job interviewer, or your hiring manager. All the past missteps that might make you feel insecure about your job search, are perfectly okay to reveal to me. In fact, I encourage you to be as open and candid as possible.

As a resume writer, I’m the safest space in the world to air out your dirty career laundry.

My job isn’t to assess or judge your past; I don’t mind if you were fired from nearly every job you’ve held, if you took extended stress leave, if you took-off to travel the world for nearly a year, or if you’ve had a complete change of heart about your career trajectory.

Letting down your guard and laying it all out on the table, is actually a great way to get the most out of your resume writer. Here's why:

  1. Access to Expert-Level Messaging

Crafting language that will communicate your career story to your target audience, is what we do best!

Don’t filter how you talk about your career, just lay it out there and let your resume writer worry about how to compose the message. Whatever challenges or insecurities you have about your career progression or job performance, tell your resume writer the whole story.

You might be surprised that your situation is more common than you think, and your resume writer will know exactly how to tackle those challenges with a messaging strategy that has proven to work in the past.

Resume writers come across all manners of job seekers and challenging situations, we’re experts at developing messages that truthfully communicate your history, in a way that helps you move toward your goals.

You’re not hiring us to judge your past, and we certainly can’t time travel to fix it (yet). As a resume writer, it’s my job to take the raw data from everything you’ve done and polish it into a sparkling and compelling marketing document that positions you for the best possible opportunities moving forward.

  1. Avoid Repeating Prior Career Pitfalls

How you brand and present yourself in the job market has a direct impact on the type of jobs and companies that will be attracted to you. If you’re honest with your resume writer about what has gone wrong in the past and what companies or positions were a poor fit for you, we can help you avoid ending up in those situations again.

I always aim to infuse a resume with a genuine sense of my client’s personality and values.

If I have a client who is all about driving results through relationship building (and not generating sales by badgering people to death), that will shine through in the resume. Companies looking for an aggressive cold-caller to drum-up quick sales, will naturally be less enthused about my consultative, relationship-cultivating client.

Conversely, a company looking for someone to maximize client experiences, retention, and loyalty, will rush to dial my client’s number.

Words carry power and impact. And, as any writer will tell you, with the right words in the right combination, you can move mountains. The clearer your ideal job or career situation is, the more I can target your resume for those specific opportunities.

And, the more your resume speaks to a specific company culture, mission, and vision, the more attractive you will be to the right companies – and the less attractive you’ll be to a company that will kill your spirit.

  1. Uncover What Might be Holding You Back

As someone who lives and breathes career marketing and is constantly reading industry news, researching recruiting and hiring trends, and taking professional development courses in career marketing, I have a pretty solid foundation of the best practices in this realm.

Sometimes, having the depth of knowledge that I do, I mistakenly assume that most job seekers know the basic do’s and don’ts when applying for jobs.

Until… I hear a client speaking to me about their current search and learn that they’ve committed a major no-no, without realizing it. Often, these job seekers have no idea that what their doing or how they’re communicating their career story is actually torpedoing their search efforts.

Sometimes, we don’t know, what we don’t know. Being open and candid with you resume writer, could reveal a mistake in your approach or job search process.

When clients speak to me about past experiences or negative aspects of their job, I often ask how they speak about those experiences with recruiters or interviewers (or how they plan to) and help them develop a more effective game plan.

Resume writers and career coaches aren’t therapists or lawyers, but we are safe spaces for job seekers to be vulnerable and honest. The more open you are, the more you’ll get out of your experience working with a career professional.

Unlike the infamous line from another of my favourite movies, A Few Good Men, trust me, I CAN handle the truth.

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Tammy Banfield is a professional resume writer and certified career coach who specializes in helping talented and ambitious women advance their careers and find rewarding, fulfilling jobs. Tammy has helped over 600 career seekers from around the world secure coveted positions. Connect with Tammy on LinkedIn or at her Website.

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