How to Workshop a Resume

by guest author, Frankie Wallace

The job market might be hot right now, but that doesn’t mean you can just whip up a resume and expect to land your dream job. No matter how plentiful jobs may be, if your resume isn’t on point, recruiters aren’t going to give you the time of day. But creating an eye-catching, attention-grabbing, job-winning resume takes time and effort. And by far one of the best ways to craft a resume that gets results is to workshop it. This article will show you how.

The More Eyes, The Better

The greatest benefit of workshopping your resume is that it gets more eyes on your document before you send it off to the recruiter. And that’s a much better approach than the strategy many job seekers use of simply writing something up in an evening or a mere hour and then firing it off–or worse, recycling the same tired resume you’ve been using since 2010.

The reality is that when you write something yourself, it can be very difficult to be objective. You might not be able to spot ambiguities or irrelevancies in your text. You might not even see the grammatical or typographical errors that your readers will spot instantly. After all, writers often see what they intend to write rather than what they’ve actually written!

Those who are workshopping your resume, however, won’t know what you meant to write. They will only see what’s in the document before them, and that means that you’re going to get a more objective and incisive perspective on your draft than you could have possibly managed on your own.

Workshopping Equals Brainstorming

In addition to spotting errors or deficiencies within the text, workshopping your resume is also the ideal way to brainstorm innovative touches that will truly make your application stand out. Focusing on idea generation in your resume workshop will help you to find and excise the mediocre and predictable elements of your draft. At the same time, workshopping can help you to identify skills and attributes that you might never have considered using in your resume and to present those talents in creative and memorable ways. 

The key, though, to using your workshop for idea generation is to define the goal by asking the right questions for your brainstorming session. And when it comes to brainstorming resumes, this question should center on what, specifically, the recruiter will be looking for in the ideal candidate and how to draft the resume to fit that perfect candidate profile. 

In fact, the job ad can be the perfect “brain dump”, inspiring a brainstorming session that results in a resume that recruiters can’t resist!

Choosing the Right Tools

Workshopping your resume isn’t just about recruiting discerning readers and setting the stage for productive brainstorming. You will also need to use the right tools for the workshop. If you want to make the most out of the process, then you’ll need to get as many eyes on your draft as you can. But it’s not always feasible to get your readers together in the same place at the same time.

That’s where having the right software comes in. Creating, workshopping, and revising your resume in PDF is a great solution. With PDF, you can share your draft with multiple readers/reviewers simultaneously. Those collaborating on the text can make edits or provide feedback directly on the document, making updating and idea-sharing a breeze.

Best of all, workshopping a PDF allows reviewers to view the document as the future recipient will see it. This is not always the case with documents written on other platforms, where formatting can easily be lost as it is shared between readers. 

And that’s no small thing, because formatting does, indeed, matter. After all, if you’re not willing to invest the time and effort into crafting a careful, accurate, and reader-friendly text, then you could be telegraphing to your recruiter that your work would be similarly haphazard–and that’s not the way to land the gig of your dreams! 

Choosing the Right People

Though it’s important to get as many eyes on your draft as possible, there is a limit. Too many cooks spoil the broth, after all. However, inviting around 6 to12 reviewers should ensure you have enough feedback to be useful without having so much that you become overwhelmed. 

It’s also important to remember that not all reviewers are created equal. When you’re trying to generate great ideas for your resume, you need the right people. Be discerning in whom you ask to workshop your resume. Your reviewers should be knowledgeable about the task at hand. If they have expertise in the field to which you are applying, so much the better. Above all, they should be capable of being objective and honest.  

The Takeaway

Writing a resume may not be the most exciting way to spend a Saturday night. But when you finish the process off with a productive workshopping session, you can end up with a resume that gets the offers pouring in!

Check out more articles by Frankie:

The Importance of Being Culturally Sensitive When Applying for a Job

4 Ways to Impress Potential Employers with Your Education Experience

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About the author

Frankie Wallace is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys writing about career guidance and education but occasionally goes back to her roots with socially active news journalism. Frankie spends her free time cultivating her zero-waste garden or hiking in the mountains of the PNW with her loved ones.

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