The ghost writer and your resume

Can I hire someone to write my resume and cover letter? Of course you can, but why would you? Cover letters and resumes are documents that convey a voice, your voice, and outsourcing your career narrative surrenders ownership of your story.

We are all ‘resume procrastinators’ to a point. It’s only when we face a career transition that we scramble to pull something together. And it’s at these times that we may be at our most vulnerable, and not thinking from place of confidence in our talents.

A resume is a living document requiring ongoing updates. It’s an opportunity to organize your experience and reflect on where you are in your career. The simplest approach is to set up a file, physical or virtual, and periodically add accomplishments, community activities and education. At least once a year, create a revised resume, incorporating your experience from the previous year.

The cover letter allows you to connect the dots of your experience in a coherent presentation of value to an employer. It can only be written when you know the requirements of a potential position and can articulate the links between your resume and the employer’s requirements.

If you reset your thinking and use the resume as a career management strategy vs. a job search tool, it becomes less daunting and more useful. If you are concerned about your writing skills, it’s a bigger issue than crafting a cover letter. Consider taking a continuing education course in professional writing. Strong communication skills are fundamental to your career advancement.

Once you have a first draft of your resume and cover letter, you can begin to ask for feedback. Career counselors can offer suggestions on content, emphasis and presentation. Industry professionals can add a layer of expertise based on the documents they see specific to their career field. At the end of the day, these are your documents and you are the final editor.

Your resume and cover letter are your RSVP to a potential career opportunity. These two documents start the conversation that will continue in an interview. Begin the conversation with your voice, not the voice of the ghost writer.

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