Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My HAPPO Resume Review

As you may know, I participated in the first ever HAPPO Day last month where PR pros helped their unemployed colleagues and entry level graduates network and find new job opportunities via Twitter. I spent four hours monitoring HAPPO tweets and, luckily, my diligence paid off. I met a few great peers, a Philadelphia area PR pro offered to help me with my job search and I was one of 10 participants to win a HAPPO resume review.

HAPPO paired me with reviewer Jessica Smith, veteran blogger and VP and Digital Integration Specialist at Fleishman-Hillard in Sacramento, California. Jessica graciously took time out of her weekend to thoroughly review my resume and provide me with some great advice. Having her fresh eyes take a look at a document that I've been revising myself for quite a long time was an amazing opportunity. As someone who has already been successful in the industry her insight gave me a great new point of view.

The first thing that Jessica made me realize is that my resume should act as my ambassador to a company. I originally thought of it simply as a way to convey my credentials and have always used a cover letter to communicate more directly with a prospective employer. Jessica suggested that I think more deeply about what my resume alone can communicate. She made me realize that I should tailor my resume to every job opportunity just as I would with a cover letter.

She suggested that I think about what my strengths are and what my dream job would be, and then generate a list of corresponding attributes that will set me apart from other candidates. The purpose of this list is to help me stop and think about what I want from a job, how my skills can fulfill the requirements of the position and, ultimately, how I can personalize my resume for a specific job opportunity so that I stand out in a sea of applicants.

The second important thing that Jessica's review taught me was that yes, I have experience from internships, my work with PRowl Public Relations and my education at Temple University, but that is only the foundation of a great resume. The icing on the cake comes from the results that are attained from that experience. For example, I have media relations experience that I've gotten from my work with PRowl Public Relations, so I need to take my resume a step further and explain what news coverage I've generated for PRowl's clients. Another example comes from my work as an special events intern at the National Kidney Foundation. I list event planning experience on my resume, but could take it a step further by listing how many people came to the event and what steps I took after the event to ensure their repeat participation.

Working with Jessica has allowed me to see my resume from a different point of view. I know that after considering all of her advice and making revisions to my resume I'll be able to send it to prospective employers with confidence. I hope that this advice will help you as well! Do you have any other resume writing tips to share?


Jennifer James said...

Jessica is amazing and does stellar work. You got really lucky to get paired with her.

Good luck!

Rock and Roll Mama said...

I second Jessica as an amazing resource for "getting it right"- pretty much whatever "it" is. So many resumes are a marching timeline of disjointed events, however you can convey the narrative of your experience without making the reviewer play "Connect the Dots" gives you an inherent leg up. PLUS you control the story. Good luck!