Does your resume tell your whole story? After reading it, will people know the details of everything you’ve achieved?
If so, it’s probably not working.
I love to paint and I’m extremely detailed and anal when I do it. If I’m going to paint a piece of fruit, it’s going to have every single detail exactly right or I’ll tie myself in knots trying (hence, I am constantly tied in knots!) But I’m taking a painting class right now that is transforming the way I paint and funnily enough, the lessons I’m learning are the ones I teach my clients every day.
The class is called ‘How to Paint Fast, Loose and Bold’ and, as the title would suggest, it’s all about loosening up. We’re being encouraged to paint with big brushes and to eliminate the details that are not important while choosing the ones that are. In this way, we can convey all the important information about our subject while keeping the painting fresh and interesting.
This is exactly what I do when I write a resume, so I have no idea why it didn’t occur to me before to do the same while painting!
The key to a successful resume – and the thing most people get wrong – is that it’s not supposed to be your life story. It’s not supposed to tell people everything you did. It’s not supposed to talk about every project you worked on, every responsibility you held, every technology you ever used, every language you ever programmed in … if you try to convey all that, your reader will get lost in the weeds and your resume will be dull and long-winded.
Instead, your resume should be like the painting I featured in this post. It was painted by our teacher Patti Mollica. Click to enlarge it and notice how she conveys everything you need to know about the scene, but while using big bold strokes. Looking at that painting, you almost feel as though you’re there with her in Times Square on a rainy day. (Check out the rest of her paintings here. They’re pretty amazing).
If you use bold strokes on your resume, if you eliminate all the unnecessary detail and focus only on the important stuff, your resume will sing like that painting. So spend some time going over your resume looking for the unnecessary details. And if you’d like to know more about how to decide on what’s necessary and unnecessary, sign up for the Blue Sky free resume writing course, delivered by email. You’ll soon get the hang of it.