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Resume Tips: Career Launching Resumes- Focusing on your greatest assets

Two weeks ago, I wrote an article called How to Write a Career Launching Resume (CLR). This article will dive deeper into 1 of the 4 elements of writing a CLR:

To recap, these are the key elements of a CLR:

  1. It focuses on your greatest assets (achievements, not experience)
  2. It demonstrates your interest in the role you’re applying for
  3. It stands out among the hundreds or thousands of other resumés sent in
  4. It’s written like a sales proposal and the product is you

This article will focus on Number 1: Focusing on your greatest assets.

Many students and recent grads make the horrible mistake of using their resumé to report on their previous experiences. Even worse, most students and recent grads start their report with a history of their academics (starting with high school), followed by their work experiences.

The result is a resumé that a) fails to take advantage of the opportunity to sell your related life experiences, rather than your unrelated work and academic experiences, and b) is totally and completely boring.

Consider this real life example (me):

If I were writing a regular resumé, surely the prestigious internship would appear at the top of the list. The ‘acting phase’ likely wouldn’t make the cut at all!

But which of these experiences do you think is more indicative of what I do and where I am today? I would certainly argue it’s the acting experience.

Now, some of you may be saying: “You wanting to be an actress has nothing to do with running and working in a business!”

And this is where “focusing on your achievements, not experience” comes into play. Let’s say I was applying for an entry-level sales role:

“As a teenager, I set my sights on a very difficult goal: to work as an actress. In the process of working to achieve this goal, I demonstrated the initiative, determination, persistence, and drive necessary to achieve the result I desired. Not only did I build, start, and run my own website for young actors, but after six months and 50 auditions, I was cast in two commercials.”

Another, more broad example – let’s say I wanted to work in media as a recent graduate:

Life Experience: Attempting to build a career as an actor, 1998-1999

  • Showed a demonstrated interest in online and offline media at a young age
    • In online media, by building, running and promoting a website for young actors
    • In traditional media, by actively and persistently seeking work as an actor
  • Achieved success by proactively controlling all controllable aspects
    • Created a website for young actors
    • etc.

Here’s the cool part, which I can tell you from personal experience: It works.

As a recent graduate in London, England, I featured my acting experience on my resumé and it was the main point of conversation in every interview I went on. Employers generally felt that this experience and the achievements that accompanied it said something about me.

…It was not that I had a wacky and generally unattainable dream, but that I executed on it.

Written by

Lauren Friese is the founder of TalentEgg.ca. She graduated from Queen's University in 2005 with a degree in economics and had no idea how to make a successful transition into the workforce. She ended up at the LSE in London, England, and after earning an MSc in economic history, used Milkround.com – a British graduate recruitment website – to find a great entry-level role in consulting in London. She thought Milkround was fantastic, and that it was a service sorely lacking in Canada. And so the idea for TalentEgg was hatched!

One comment

  1. Samantha
    April 7, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    I know alot of career counsellors often say that we shouldn't include events and clubs from high school, but judging on what you've said with the acting experience, we should include it. But how much should we include from high school?

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