Outten & Golden: Empowering Employees in the Workplace

Getting Back in the Game

April 27th, 2011 | Bob Rosner

Image: Bob RosnerIf a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, getting back into the work game begins with re-writing your resume. Sure, networking is how you’ll find an opportunity, but resumes are the foundation of your networking.

A quick confession, I haven’t written a resume in fifteen years. Ever since I’d become an author, columnist and speaker, all I really needed was a paragraph or two describing my career highlights and my latest book, speech, etc. Then I’d send people a link to my speakers video and we would usually be off to the races.

Post-firing, I began my resume writing path where most of us do, with the template section of the word processing program on my computer. This made me feel like a visit to a crappy used clothing store. You know what I mean, where you’re palpably aware of every other person who’d ever worn the clothing that you were currently trying on.

Resume templates feel that way too, this isn’t something that will really capture you unique gifts, no it’s trying to fit a square peg of your experience into round hole of the damn template.

Anyone who is fired knows what happens next. Instead of looking at that blank template with the problem of trying to fit ten pounds of experience into a one pound package, you look at the blank page and wonder if you’ll ever be able to fill it up. You ask yourself, can I get by with a three-quarter page resume? The confidence challenges of being fired are interesting, they pop up at the most unexpected times.

This is probably the closest I’ve ever come to feeling like three-fifths of a person in my lifetime. But the cloud of being fired doesn’t lift off of you quickly, it lingers. And the resume process is an especially interesting part of pouring the salt into your wounds humiliation.

Instead of starting to make a list of all the things you’ve done, you tend to get stuck on how to describe that last job. How to cover it up. How to make it sound like something other than what it was. How to put up roadblocks between your resume and people who will want to call the guy who fired you. I had no idea that being fired would set off so many mental gymnastics.

But eventually the tide turned and the resume writing experience turned into a confidence builder. I was remembered of a lot of my past wins and I was able to craft a resume that helped me put my best foot forward.

Even though this process ended on a positive note, it had many moments of walking across ice that wasn’t fully frozen. You know that creaking sound that you hear as you take each step? That’s what the resume writing process was for me, a creaky discovery of my skills that unfolded over time.

My a-ha: Resume writing is the opposite of Spring, you go in like a lamb but leave the process like a lion.

Next installment: On the Dole

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.org. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, “The Boss’s Survival Guide.” If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.org

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