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Don’t be Bo: resume’ building and job jumping

I’ve been a professional worker for over 30 years now… I know most of you are thinking “no way” – but yes way. I’m not even sure how to phrase it. I’ve been working since I was 14, but fast food and grocery store cashier doesn’t qualify as professional. So…. professional worker.

Do any of you remember the rule to not add a summary paragraph at the top of your resume’, focus on short and simple bullets, and only use one page unless you have a tremendous amount of experience and accomplishments to share? It seems we are back to the summary paragraph, which actually provides a good base to tailor the resume’ to the job you are considering. The one page rule still exists unless you’re truly well experienced and not listing 10 bullets for every job, with every role at that job with extra bullets.

You should also tailor your experience and accomplishments for the job under consideration as well.

The other day on LinkedIn, I got an alert that people in my field were looking at this article. – maybe I should go see it, too. So I did. This page has selected articles with advice to follow. I read it and it made me think. But paying attention doesn’t mean I am in the market for a new job. It’s beneficial to maintain awareness of what is happening in the market. There are people that could use this guidance, like my daughters or law students. [I should provide warnings for disclaimers.]

So what are my reactions to the advice:

One coach suggested putting in personal context so the hiring manager knows you’re well-suited for the position after reading it – with your accomplishments (not responsibilities) highlighted. So this applies to the summary paragraph, right? And to be honest I love the point about highlighting accomplishments not responsibilities.

My biggest thoughts on this piece of advice, were that accomplishments are great, but what do you share as an attorney or privacy officer? Reduced DPIA review time from 2 weeks to 3 days? Successfully helped launch five new products with privacy compliance baked in? It’s challenging, but doable once you take a different perspective on what to put on your bulletpoints.

Another resource listed was the article from Forbes and it’s kinda interesting. It made for fun reading. 15 tips, most resonated with what we already read above – add recent accomplishments, make it both personal and professional, use data-driven proof of accomplishments, tailor to the role and to each company, show your value, prove / show you’re a good fit… and then they started essentially repeating the same tips framed in a different manner (something we should all learn to do, so there is a subtle skill to pick up).

But a couple of points really stood out – be digitally visible and keep the content consistent. We know employers will find everything on us if they want to… so don’t be a jerk on Facebook or Twitter. The other point was to only take resume’ advice (or criticism) from proven resume’ writers. That’s a solid tip if you can identify who the proven resume’ writers are rather than a commercial resume’ assembly line. [disclaimer warning: I am not a professional resume’ writer, proven or not.]

In the end, recognize that a human may not ever see your resume’ and it seems rare that anyone ever reads a cover letter. It’s all machine driven. But you have to make a quality effort nonetheless. So make sure the points in your resume’ are showing that you are perfect for the job. Highlight accomplishments that resonate for this role. But be honest. Don’t lie… lies will be discovered by someone, somewhere.

Lastly, stretching for a job is awesome. It’s good to reach for a better role which offers challenges. It’s bad to claim to be accomplished in something you are not. It is unfortunately a not-uncommon occurrence.

Here’s how it works. Bo (not to resemble anyone known or not) has a job. Bo wants a better job, but Bo is not good at the current job. Bo puts the current job description on their resume’ (responsibilities vs. accomplishments). Bo stinks at those responsibilities. After about six months, Bo is kindly encouraged to seek employment elsewhere. Bo applies for a new job, using current job responsibilities as capabilities. This is a fallacy. New job, which is a stretch job above current responsibilities, believes the resume’ and the soundbites (Bo is a gifted talker). Old job lasted about a year. New job discovers their mistake in about 6 months and kindly encourages Bo to seek a new job – which takes about 6 months. Bo adds new job responsibilities to the resume’ and Bo is off hunting once again. Bo is on the go, but it’s okay – Bo is someone else’s problem now.

That is where you see people jumping jobs from year to year. Once or twice switching jobs quickly is okay, but a whole career built on fast jumping is questionable. If it’s you interviewing for a new job, be prepared to explain why. If you are the hiring manager or interviewer – ask why. Many of us take short-term roles with start-up companies or companies who want to re-invigorate their privacy program and only need someone for 12 – 18 months as a troubleshooter? sheriff? cleaner? equalizer?

That’s it – my ruminations on resume’ writing. By the time I update mine, there will be all kinds of AI tricks… frankly, AI tricks are already at work.

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