My Journey as a Professional Writer, Part 11: Updating the Resume

So, if you’ve been paying attention, you know I’m quitting my job. Obviously, one of the most important steps to finding a new job is creating an effective resume.

Writing a resume is like any other kind of writing. There’s going to be a rough first draft. You’ll need feedback and critiques from others. There will be multiple revisions. Eventually you wind up with a finished product you’re willing to send out.

I went through the early drafting stages of my resume back in spring, in Professor Laura Mangini’s Professions in Writing Arts class (the website used by the class is publicly accessible, so if you want to read some tips and resources for resumes and query letters, go check it out). This was a wonderful class, and one of the reasons I’m proud of Rowan University. The class was entirely designed to help students make resumes, cover letters, and networking connections to help their future careers. Part of my grade for the class was making a resume! I essentially got an easy A in this class just for getting the help I needed improving my resume. Pretty sweet deal, eh?

Since that class, I’ve had a few improvements that required updates to my resume. Here’s the current version:

Resume 4.0

FYI, if anyone reading this knows of a job in the South Jersey/Delaware/Philadelphia area, you’re more than welcome to pass this along (or email me at cantrellwriter@gmail.com with details). I’ll also gladly do the same for you.

Now, there’s some things I’d like to discuss about what went into that resume, and also what did NOT go into it. For starters, it doesn’t list every job I’ve ever had. If you’re a college student or recent college graduate like me, you’ve probably worked a variety of low-skill jobs like being a cashier, working in a restaurant, cooking, cleaning, or performing manual labor. I’ve worked such jobs for most of my life. Now, I will definitely say I learned a lot in some of those jobs. I know a lot about labor laws, health codes, food safety, customer service, managing inventory, and resolving on-the-job conflicts. I’ve got about four years of management experience, which includes a lot of valuable skills. Yet you’ll notice those skills and jobs are missing from my resume. Why? Because they’re mostly irrelevant to getting a writing job.

I don’t really need a future employer at a magazine, newspaper, or publisher to know that I know the safe food storage temperatures for refrigerated or hot foods (under 40 degrees for cold foods or over 140 degrees for hot foods). I really don’t need them to know that I am skilled at creating food prep lists or managing inventory to make sure the food ordered gets used before it’s expiration date. None of these skills are going to make them want to hire me as a writer.

What I want them to know is how I did publication layout at SLACK Incorporated. How I photoshopped X-rays and photos of medical procedures to be formatted properly for a magazine page. How I helped select works to be published for Glassworks Magazine and sat on the editorial review board. How I used all of the writing and editing skills that I’ll be using when they hire me. Because they will hire me, as soon as I show them how skilled I am.

Of course, this resume needs some polishing still. That’s why this week I’ve contacted some of my professors at Rowan to get their professional help and advice. That’s also why I’m posting it here; if anyone has advice for me, I’ll be happy to hear it. Likewise, if anyone else needs help with their resume, I hope that the information I’m sharing here (and on the sites I’ve linked to) will be useful to someone.

Of course, getting the resume ready is only the first step. I’ve still got to figure out places to send it to. I’ll write another blog post in the future detailing the process and letting you know what types of places I’ve applied to. With any luck, anyone reading this blog will be able to follow along as I explore opportunities, get interviews, and eventually quit my job and start a real career.

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