When I started my career, I wrote one resume, and I used it to apply for one job. Right away I got an interview, and then quickly after that, I got a job offer. It took only 6 weeks from the day I graduated from college to the day I started my first professional job. I thought writing a resume and finding a job was a breeze! I mean I wrote one resume. I submitted one application. I did two rounds of interviews, and I accepted a job offer. So easy. What was everyone talking about when they said it was hard?
I spent four years in that job before I decided to take my career in a new direction. Instead of working as an editor, I decided that I wanted to explore marketing communications. So I went back to school and got my master’s degree. Once I had my degree, I updated my resume to include my most recent experience and education, and then I confidently started applying for jobs. I thought MAYBE it would take me 6 weeks to find a job since I had a shiny, expensive new degree and a few more years of experience under my belt.
What I found during this round of job searching was that it took me forever to get an interview. I would submit resume after resume and hear nothing back. So I thought I sucked at writing resumes and that maybe switching career fields actually hurt me instead of helped me. Down, but not out, I got about the business of figuring out how to write the perfect resume.
Looking back, I was probably a pioneer in A/B testing because I would switch up customizing parts of my resume for each job application in the hopes that it would stand out against the job hunting competition. After lots of trial and error, I landed on the right combination of what to include and what to exclude on my resume.
That’s when I started to get lots of interviews.
I vividly remember one week where I was driving all over town because I had three interviews with really great companies. I was so happy. It clicked. I figured out how to present my experience and contributions on paper in a way that got my resume picked, over and over again. Had I not figured that out, I would probably still be submitting the same resume into the black hole of online application systems.
Once my friends and family caught wind of how many interviews I was going on, they started asking me to review (or rewrite) their resume. Of course I obliged. It was really fun to help someone write a resume that they felt excited to submit. Soon, I started getting requests from friends of friends asking me to help them write their resume.
I was on to something.
So in 2011, I established the first iteration of what would eventually become Resume Revivalist. It was a website/blog called The Spicy Meatball. I wrote about all sorts of different topics and developed a pretty solid readership along the way. Every once in a while I would post about interviewing or resume writing under the Careers category, and sure enough, I would get more requests for me to review resumes. I loved it.
A few years later, my family made a big life change. We decided to move from Ohio to Florida to try life at the beach. This decision proved to be a huge test for me in terms of writing a great resume because at that time I was looking to move into a management role at a company out of state. Determined to get what I wanted, I updated my resume again and applied for one job—just to see what would happen.
One thing I should mention is that I am the world’s worst networker. At least in the traditional sense of the word. There is no way in hell I am going to show up to a professional networking event, slap on a “Hello My Name is Stefanie” sticker, and waltz up to random strangers to engage in small talk in the hopes that they can help me find my next job. No way. Just thinking about doing that makes me break out in hives.
I should also mention that I am one of the first people in my family to have a corporate career. Because of that, I’m not well connected with people in leadership positions who are willing to take me under their wing and help me move up quickly. I’m also not super great at asking people to do that for me. Again, I am shit at networking.
Back to the story.
Unbelievably, I got picked for an interview. My resume was chosen out of a long list of internal candidates (this company happened to be the third largest employer in Northeast Florida) and local candidates. Why would they choose me? Was my resume really that impressive? I guess so. They flew me down to interview and offered me a job the next week. We moved to Florida a couple months after that.
It was at that point I started Resume Revivalist.
I had figured out that even though I am not a strong networker, I am great at getting to the next level in my career by presenting myself well on paper, interviewing like a rockstar, and going for what I want. I figured there are probably lots of people like me out there that could benefit from what I’ve learned how to do. People who may not be great at networking, or may have switched career fields. People who have left the job market to take care of their family, or may have tried and tried to get a new job, but just keep getting rejected or keep coming in second place.
I’ve learned that there is power in a well-written resume, and strangely, I see it as my life’s work to help really great people get really great jobs. I started Resume Revivalist to shorten the time it takes between wanting a new job and accepting a job offer. I believe it’s worth it to put in the effort to find a job that you love (or at least really, really like), because there is nothing better than having a job that you love and working for a company that supports you.
I know firsthand how great that feels, and I want to help other people feel that too.