Thad Fox took his time completing a self-assessment before handing over his resume for a rewrite. The result spells out his ROI in capital letters.
Andrew Pearl, a certified resume writer, tells job seekers it will take about 45 minutes to complete the worksheet he sends them to prepare for the resume rewrites he does for Ladders.
Thaddeus Fox took between 10 and 12 days.
Spending such a long time mulling over questions entails both diligence and soul-searching — elements that the 53-year-old, senior technology manager said made all the difference.
“The most important thing, which I cannot emphasize enough for people who are evaluating the cost of doing this, is that the resume worksheet, if you take it to heart, if you don’t just scrape stuff off your old resume and put in on the form and say, ‘Here it is, I did it in 45 minutes,’ is the most crucial thing if you go back and earnestly answer those questions on that resume worksheet… you will often discover you had forgotten some of your most important accomplishments and that you went well beyond the job description in your performance,” Fox said.
Ten to 12 days implies a lot of soul-searching. What else did Fox do during that time?
He conducted intense research. Although he’s now a technologist with solid managerial chops, Fox’s career originally started on the financial side of business. That financial background helped him back up everything he said in his resume (and resume-building worksheet) with cold, hard financial data.
Pull statistics from annual reports
To begin with, Fox researched financial statements of the public companies for which he had worked to ensure that anything he claimed on his resume could be backed up by verifiable profit/loss figures and tangible evidence of business growth. Such research bolstered the strength and credibility in myriad instances.
One example is in the description of his accomplishments during the 10 years he spent at a recent position as director of technology at Innisbrook Golf Resort/Starwood Hotels and Resorts in Palm Harbor, Fla.
In his work supporting capital and operating budgets, Fox saved Innisbrook a lot of money. But his original resume described the cost savings in a vague manner:
“I successfully planned and controlled a variety of projects for the owner and management company under very tight cash flow circumstances that culminated in positioning the property for a triumphant purchase and sale in 2007 to Salamander Hospitality,” the original resume stated.
Fox knew, as a business-savvy manager, that words such as “successfully” and “triumphant” need to be backed up with precise data relating to the bottom line. That’s what he researched, and the results show in the resume he and Pearl completed. The rewritten resume now delves into financial details. It also quantifies Fox’s role in major technology initiatives and financial dealings, including vendor negotiations, and spells out exactly where the cost savings were found.
Here’s just one of many such passages in the new resume:
“Drove property to close 5-year combined lease/maintenance package for $1.2M Nortel Options 81C and single- and multi-mode optical fiber and copper infrastructure renovation project; reduced cash requirements for project from $1.2M to $503K by negotiating a Managed Voice Services contract with Verizon. New infrastructure enabled resort to stay open when old PBX failed after lightning strike.”
Fox didn’t stop with financial details gleaned from statements and his personal record-keeping, however.
Insert comments from past performance reviews
He also dug into his files to pull up assessments of his strengths from executive retreats.
Those assessments provided an invaluable blueprint when it came time for Pearl to write the summary paragraph at the top of his new resume. A portion of that summary shows how he employed such assessments:
“Diverse and customer-focused manager who demonstrates unique combination of technical, business, and financial savvy. Energetic self-starter with strong communication, leadership, problem-solving, analytical, negotiation, and training skills.”
Fox’s experience with the resume-rewriting process showed him that it’s not enough to pull from an old resume — that he had to be open to finding qualities and skills that Pearl could fold in as the resume writer emphasized Fox’s strengths.
Fox said he feels two things are critical in the resume-reworking process: The first is the resume critique. “Anybody who uses Ladders’ Web site should take advantage of the resume critique,” he said. “For the bluntness and the clarity of comments, and for them putting my resume in front of me and letting me know, ‘Here’s what you’re saying to employers with this resume.’ That sparked in me a dialogue of honesty. And it lets you see the weakness of what you originally thought was a pretty good resume.”
The second critical component is to hand off the resume to others before you put it in front of employers. Fox submitted his “before” and “after” resumes to people whose opinion he trusts. When he asked for their gut reaction, he knew the resume rewrite had struck gold. “You get responses back like ‘This is amazing. This shows your achievements, shows you at your real level,’ ” he said.
The result, he said, was “catharsis. Others said, ‘You were reborn.’ I said yes, I had been,” Fox said. “And the process was extremely important” in getting there.