What Does a Resume Coach Do?

Resume Writing vs. Resume Coaching

Resume writers create your application documents for you. However, writing your resume and cover letter in your own words is more effective as it is a better showcase of your work and style. Resumes written by other people tend towards the generic, full of keywords and following the latest guidelines, but conveying no real impression of who you are as a professional. You run the risk of being unremarkable in a sea of resumes.

Working with a resume coach, on the other hand, is more work as you will have to implement my advice yourself. Your resume and cover letter say a lot about how you think. I don’t want to strip the unique you-ness from your application, so I don’t write your resume or cover letter for you. In my view, it’s worth the extra work because your application will be authentic and, therefore, better quality. Plus, you will have developed resume writing skills yourself, saving you time and money in the future.

The hiring manager needs to get a sense of who you are, what you’re like to work with, what makes you good at your job and, how you organize your thoughts on paper. And you are the expert on those things. I will guide you every step of the way and tell you what organizations are looking for and how to best express your suitability for the role. I want to empower you as a candidate and give you the skills to write quality applications yourself.  

Artwork by Andrea Bures

My Background

I started working as a researcher for an executive search company in Oxford in 2015 B.P. (Before Plague). We helped organizations in the international development sector fill senior-level positions. My role was to scour the internet for suitable candidates, evaluate applications, and keep everything organized.

Getting paid to indulge my inner nerd and gather information like Smaug was an excellent fit for me. I got to peek inside many organizations, learning about what they do and how they made decisions. And I got to read about thousands of people’s jobs, skills, strengths, and career progressions. It was fascinating.

As I progressed in my role, I became more and more interested in helping people get jobs. I saw how important it was to write application materials that effectively told the story of a person’s career, their unique strengths, and how all of that fit into the next steps they wanted to take.

After the pandemic hit, I decided to offer resume coaching services, first to friends and family, and now publicly. And I’m so glad I did. I love using what I learned from recruiting to help people get to the next step in their careers (i.e. find their “jam”).

woman in white shirt showing frustration
Because job searching can get sticky

How I Help You Find Your Jam

We start with a thirty-minute consultation where I ask you about your background, what role or type of work you’re after, and what your goals are working with me. We’ll come up with an action plan together.

You send me whichever documents you’d like help with, or, if we’re creating from scratch, an outline of your career progression, education, skills, and accomplishments. I’ll look everything over and give you detailed, written advice on how to improve it.

We’ll go through two rounds of feedback. The first round focuses on content, how to present your background, and your job experience in terms of accomplishments. The second focuses on the format, style, proofreading, and copyediting. I provide all my advice plus general tips in writing, so you have something to refer back to in the future. 

And then you get to make the changes you want to make. The final decisions are up to you. It’s your resume, after all, and you are the expert on you.

At the end of our work together, I want you to feel confident in your application writing abilities and optimistic about your job search.  

If you or anyone you know could benefit from working with a resume coach, please get in touch or send them this post!

Reflections on 2020

mona lisa wearing a mask and holding toilet paper and hand sanitizer. reflections on 2020.
What a year

It was a cliché back in March: this year has been a garbage fire. We all know how tough it was and continues to be. My new year’s resolution is trying to focus on the silver linings. In spite of all the horrible things 2020 threw at us, a lot of people did what people do best: created good things anyway.

There’s a sense of unity, since we’ve all been going the same awful experience: apocalypse camaraderie. Except, of course, for the ones in denial who are being selfish, spreading conspiracy theories, and the virus. But never mind them.

There have been so many people reaching out to help their neighbours and working to change things politically in the hopes that our leaders will reflect the kindest among us instead of the most divisive and hateful. The extreme wildfires demonstrated the urgency of tackling climate change and the positive impact of lockdowns on nature has shown us hope. There are Facebook groups with the sole purpose of connecting people who need help with people who want to help. My social media feeds have been full of creativity: baking, artwork, silly videos.

I’ve noticed more people on social media being authentic, talking openly about their struggles, their mental health, and their secret weirdness, me included. I never thought I would get to a place where I’d be open about my stutter, never mind on social media! I love that there’s been this shift to being open about our flaws, our quirks, our authentic humanness, our wild true selves.

People are spending more time with their families, realizing just how important hugging is, learning new technology to keep socializing, and making sure to reach out to people they think might be struggling. We’re starting passion projects, new side businesses, changing careers, and judging companies by how compassionate they are to their employees.

This was a year of anger too. We’re talking about race in a big way (again) with the Black Lives Matter protests and about Indigenous rights in Canada. It’s heartening to see more people getting in tune with the struggles of others and speaking out against injustice. I know I’ve learned so much. I hope we can all keep that fire going and make some real change.

I’m trying to keep up the optimism, but I think it’s important to acknowledge how hard it’s been. I’ve been plenty grumpy and bored and furious and scared and anxious this year. So anxious, in fact, that I anthropomorphized my anxiety into weasel cartoons. The anxiety is still there but I’ve got a fun new hobby. Thanks, 2020.

As much as we want it to, 2021 won’t be demonstrably different. We still have a few months to go before most of us are vaccinated. There’s still time to curate that cute mask collection. Thankfully there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But if we want 2021 to be the year things actually get better, to get ourselves out of the darkest timeline, we have to work for it.

What I hope for this year is that we continue to lift each other up and fight injustice together. That we keep caring for our communities, taking the time to be creative, making sure everyone is included, being open and authentic, holding our politicians accountable, demanding better practice from corporations, and fighting for human rights and our planet.

And I hope we can give hugs again soon.

Take good care and stay safe!