Designing Your Resume for Justin Thyme


Emily Barnes

Your telephone rings and you answer it. The caller is Justin Thyme, a long-time recruiter extraordinaire. She’s been an excellent resource for you throughout your career and is calling now to tell you that one of her clients is buying another mid-sized company. Justin says one of the players believes you’d be a tremendous asset in a new division there and suggests that you simply name the job you want. It’s yours. No kidding. The circumstances are ideal, she says, for the client to meet with you when she comes to town in a few days. Are you available? Are you prepared for the meeting? Send me an updated resume. What’s that noise in th.-

Your alarm clock rings; the dream is over. You don’t have an updated resume, do you?

Given the opportunity to define the new job or career that truly fits your interests, talents and skills, you might be prepared to name it and claim it. But, for the sake of making a point, let’s say that you certainly wouldn’t want your existing job and are quite uncertain about what a new job would look like. In that case, you would be stuck. The following steps will help you to loosen up a little, to get unstuck about this issue so that you can begin to take constructive action towards designing a resume that suits your needs.

Step 1. List at least ten achievements that really matter to you – not just the ones in your career but throughout your life. Anything that deeply engaged you belongs on the list. Label the list: #1 – Achievements.

Step 2. On a sheet of paper labeled #2 – Payoffs, write the reasons why each achievement was particularly meaningful to you. Did you learn something, teach someone, love the challenge, discover something about yourself, make a difference somehow? What positive outcomes did you experience?

Step 3. Call the next sheet #3 – Skills and Talents and list the skills you used to accomplish each achievement. What skills, talents, traits, characteristics, attitudes, and behavior did you demonstrate?

Step 4. On sheet #4 – Likes and Dislikes, review each job you’ve held from the first one until now and list what you liked and disliked about each job. Anything from the commute to the work itself or nice or mean co-workers is fair game in this exercise.

Step 5. Review each job again and this time determine the skills you used to perform each job. What skills, talents, traits, characteristics, attitudes, and behavior did you demonstrate? Add your response to sheet #3.

Now use the data you have collected to look at your past in a new way. For instance, how do your achievements relate to the jobs you’ve held? How do your payoffs relate to your job likes? What payoffs from #2 also appear in #4? Do you notice any obvious patterns throughout the exercises? What skills are listed several times but used differently? How many other ways could you use the same skill? Your answers to these questions will guide you to new ways of thinking about your job preferences.

The key to creating a great resume is making it read like you would sound when you speak so that the reader gets a felt sense about you. This kind of congruity between your written and oral presentation always works to your advantage. So, practice describing your current job using the skills you want to use in a new job. Or, practice writing a new job description based on the skills you would want to use in a new job. Give your resume a silent voice by integrating in it the clues learned about yourself in each of the exercises above. The process of sifting through your experiences will help you to capture the consistent behaviors you have demonstrated throughout your life. It might also help you discover something about yourself that you might be taking for granted.

© Emily Barnes 2004