Resumes: Defining and Refining with Feedback

I have hundreds of resumes that I’ve written, overhauled, and tailored over the years. So, revising my resume for a career shift isn’t entirely new to me. However, this time I’ve been able to do it with the support of a community. That has been a game-changer.

 

I’m a scrappy person (“resourceful,” as Dr. Robin exclaimed) who’s used to sifting through the internet in order to gather reputable sources of information and strong exemplars to emulate and use as inspiration. Thankfully, the learning and development community is full of people like me, and many of them embrace a cooperative, give-and-receive ethos. So, I didn’t have to rely solely on my scrappiness for my latest resume overhaul.

 

First, I went through the lessons and resume-related resources within the IDOL courses Academy. Then I took that draft to my peers in the Academy. Having founded an accountability group, consistently contributed to it, and built relationships within it, I felt comfortable asking for initial feedback there. My accountability group came through in a big way, providing me with a ton of advice and points to consider.

 

After implementing the feedback from my accountability group, I met with a mentor from the group Teaching: A Path to Learning and Development (TPLD). This was a logical step in my career shift because my experience includes teaching. I found it especially helpful to have a one-on-one conversation in real time with someone whose background was similar to mine.

 

I also came away from that meeting with several pieces of targeted, actionable feedback, including the following:

  • Any sort of educator workshops or other training that you’ve led translate well to L&D.
  • Do not use acronyms, as they are not universally understood or known by recruiters or hiring managers.
  • Impact can be shown in creative, non-numerical ways.
  • Use wording from the job posts that you apply to.

 

Again, I revised my resume based on the feedback I received. I then posted it in the Teachers in IDOL group, which also exists within the IDOL courses Academy. This was because I wanted more educators’ eyes on it. 

 

After a few more suggestions there that I implemented, I reached out to an IDOL mentor for her feedback. I was very intentional with the mentor that I chose, because I knew her strengths (resume review) and her style (extremely thorough and detailed). Basically, I knew what I was signing up for, and I was ready.

 

Sure enough, the feedback that mentor gave was exhaustive. She helped me to specify numbers and percentages in my bullet points as much as possible, and I kept the dialogue going over multiple iterations. (Yes, I revised, had her review those revisions, and revised yet again.) It was tough, took hours, and required a ton of mental energy because of how intensely I had to reflect on my work experience, but it was exactly what I needed to do.

 

Finally, I submitted my resume for feedback from an IDOL coach, the last step (sort of). Because I had already gone through so many rounds of feedback, the coach didn’t have to focus on things that were easily fixable or more foundational. He was able to be very precise and focus instead on the overall cohesion and purpose of what I wrote. In fact, he advised me to simplify some of the language I had used (which had morphed drastically since my first draft). This surprised me at first, but when I took a step back and let his explanation sink in, it made a lot of sense. I needed to make my resume accessible and scannable (two important aspects of instructional design). This also helped me to put crucial parts of my resume back in my own words – to reclaim my voice.

 

I submitted my resume to that same IDOL coach a second time. While there were more notes, this time it was merely two, and they were minor. “Hallelujah!” I thought.

 

Did I submit my resume a third time for coach feedback? No, although I could have! I do continue to iterate when I apply to jobs, ensuring there is language that fits the job description. But, crucially, I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Now it’s like using a well-built and customized template. Utilizing the L&D community and IDOL’s feedback process helped me accomplish this. 



Written By: Breanda Perna

Brenda is an instructional designer, eLearning developer and technology integration specialist with a passion for making learning accessible and fun. She loves to create and innovate while also being very process-driven. Check out her work at brendaperna.com and connect with her on LinkedIn.

 

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