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Napoleon Hill – The Great Résumé Writer

Famed author, Napoleon Hill is best known for his extraordinary book, Think and Grow Rich, but did you know he was also a professional résumé writer? I made the discovery recently as I was leafing through his famous book for the umpteenth time! But, instead of calling the document a résumé or CV, he termed it a “Brief”.

So confident was he about his ability and the effectiveness of his ‘brief’, that he unequivocally stated, “The information described here is the net result of many years of experience during which thousands of men and women were helped to market their services effectively. It can, therefore, be relied upon as sound and practical.” Wow! How bold, Mr. Hill!

For those who believe they can prepare their résumés in a hurry, or that it doesn’t take much effort to develop an effective résumé, or it’s just a typing job, read Mr. Hill’s thoughts on that:

“This brief should be prepared as carefully as a lawyer would prepare the brief of a case to be tried in court. Unless the applicant is experienced in the preparation of such briefs, an expert should be consulted, and his services enlisted for this purpose. Successful merchants employ men and women who understand the art and the psychology of advertising to present the merits of their merchandise. One who has personal services for sale should do the same.”

Mr. Hill implied here that if one does not have the experience in preparing their own ‘briefs’, “an expert should be consulted and his services enlisted for this purpose.”  “Hello dear reader, are you still with me?”

While career coaches and professional résumé writers prefer to use the top third of the résumé – referred to as ‘prime real estate’ – to summarize the client’s brand and personal statements which capture attention, we might cut Mr. Hill some slack for starting the ‘brief’ with Education, as in:

“State briefly, but definitely, what schooling you have had, and in what subjects you specialized in school, giving the reasons for that specialization.”

That was what was common in his day.

He then continued: “If you have had experience in connection with positions similar to the one you seek, describe it fully, [and] state names and addresses of former employers. Be sure to bring out clearly any special experience you may have had which would equip you to fill the position you seek.”

This statement is significant. He implies here that it is not necessary to include all one’s experiences, because, in fact, that would take several pages for some of us. We should dissect the job posting then select and use only the experiences that relate to the employer’s requirements.

On the subject of references, Mr. Hill said, “Practically every business firm desires to know all about the previous records, antecedents, etc., of prospective employees who seek positions of responsibility. Attach to your brief photostatic copies of letters from:

  • Former employers
  • Teachers under whom you studied
  • Prominent people whose judgement may be relied upon.
  • Photograph of self. Attach to your brief a recent, unmounted photograph of yourself.”

Well, way back in 1937 when the book was written, it was customary to provide all of the above, but these days job seekers are advised to make sure they have their reference list ready, but rather than attaching it to the résumé, they should wait until they are asked for it. Of course, attaching a photograph to one’s résumé is not normally done, but with the availability of social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google +, it’s difficult for job seekers to hide. Testimonials and LinkedIn recommendations also play a role in the modern reference process.

Mr. Hill also believed, like career service professionals do, that the résumé should be focused. Too many times I am asked by some job seekers to develop a generic one-size-fits-all résumé. Here’s what Mr. Hill said about this:

“Apply for a specific position. Avoid application for a position without describing EXACTLY what particular position you seek. Never apply for ‘just a position.’ That indicates you lack specialized qualifications. State your qualifications for the particular position for which you apply. Give full details as to the reason you believe you are qualified for the particular position you seek.” 

Mr. Hill also wrote about having a neat and professional résumé. He said, “Remember another thing; neatness in the preparation of your brief will indicate that you are a painstaking person.” One of the unwritten rules of résumé writing is that it must be free from grammar and spelling errors and it must be pleasing to the eye. No different from what Napoleon Hill stated so many years ago.

Finally, and this is where I draw my conclusion that the man was a professional résumé writer. He said, “I have helped to prepare briefs for clients which were so striking and out of the ordinary that they resulted in the employment of the applicant without a personal interview.”

The briefs that he prepared “were so striking and out of the ordinary…” They stood out; they were not created from templates and they were not generic. In other words, they were customized and reflected the job seeker’s personal brand! Résumé writers, career coaches and Napoleon Hill are on the same page when it comes to résumé creation. We painstakingly apply proven strategies that position our clients for job search success!

What are your thoughts? Was Napoleon Hill a professional résumé writer? Have your say.

 

 

Don’t Allow the D’s in Your Life to Defeat You

Although my primary role is that of a career coach and professional résumé writer, one day out of the week I write the Monday Rx blog post hoping to wipe away the Monday Morning Blues and offer encouragement and hope to my readers, whether or not they are clients. This week’s post missed the Monday mark and ended up as the main article for my CareerTips2Go newsletter. Here it is:

Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking is one of my all-time favourite persons. While preparing to write my usual Monday Rx blog post, I picked up the Miniature Edition of his book and it opened at the chapter “I Don’t Believe in Defeat”.  What serendipity! That’s exactly what I was going to write about. For starters, here’s a quote from the chapter:

“If you are thinking thoughts of defeat, I urge you to rid yourself of such thoughts, for as you think defeat you tend to get it. Adopt the “I don’t believe in defeat” attitude.”

We all go through rough times when we believe that everything is about to fall and fail. At such times, all the ‘D’s seem to surround us:  Defeat, Doubt, Despair, Discouragement, and Disappointment. Don’t allow them to defeat you. Analyze them for what they are, get them out of the way and move on to something more productive. Today’s post not only offers tips on how to get rid of all the ‘D’s in your life, but I have included relevant quotes to support and strengthen you.

Defeat – We are not going to win at everything we set out do, no matter how hard we try. We are going to meet setbacks. However, “being defeated is often a temporary condition.  Giving up is what makes it permanent”, said  Marlene vos Savant

Doubt – Are you beginning to doubt yourself and your abilities? Look deep within and you will realize you have all that it takes to succeed. Don’t allow the negative committee in your head, or anyone else for that matter, to tell you anything different! Feed your faith until your doubts starve to death.” Anonymous

Despair – If you are feeling anxious about something, I suggest you take a walk in the woods to refresh your mind and recharge your energy, watch a movie or listen to some music – anything that will get you in a state of relaxation. As Dolly Parton said, If you’re feeling low, don’t despair. The sun has a sinking spell every night, but it comes back up every morning.”

Discouragement – Have you given it all you have got and you haven’t seen the results? Are you at the point where you are ready to give up? Hang in there. “Never be discouraged. Never hold back. Give it everything you’ve got. And when you fall, fall forward.” Dr. Denzil Washington

Disappointment – Are you disappointed over something or someone? Somebody didn’t come through for you, or the news you received was not what you were expecting? Be encouraged. What might be a disappointment today may be a blessing in disguise tomorrow. Eliza Tabor said, Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.”

If those ‘D’s do get in your way, don’t allow them to defeat you. Defeat them instead!  I hope you found this message uplifting. You are always welcome to add your comments.

 

Need a résumé, interview coaching or career advice? Contact me at info[at]thewrightcareer.com or 647-930-4763.  You can also visit www.thewrightcareer.com.

 

When a Résumé Looks too Good to be True…

…It probably is! Some time ago I wrote an article titled “Lying on Resumes Alarmingly Common”, where I referenced a newspaper article with the heading “Official Résumé Wrong”! Fast forward to 2011, and it appears the topic of ‘lying on résumés’ has reared it’s head again. As a matter of fact, one month ago, I was reviewing the résumé of a young man and when I questioned him about his most recent experience, he admitted he had fabricated it because “others were doing it.” As a career coach and professional résumé writer, I owe it to my clients and myself to make sure that the information is correct.

Officeteam recently conducted a survey and it reveals, once again, that most job seekers stretch the truth on their résumés, particularly when it comes to their job duties and education. The job market may be tough right now, but job seekers should refrain from embellishing their résumés as they will be found out, sooner or later.

Here are some tips that Officeteam has offered to employers on how they can verify information on résumés. Job seekers should take note:

1. Watch for ambiguity. When reviewing resumes, question vague descriptions of skills (e.g., “familiar with,” “involved in”) which may be signs that a professional is trying to hide a lack of relevant work experience.
2. Ask once, ask twice. Pose interview questions that relate to specific skills needed. For example, if a candidate must know a particular software program, ask how he or she has used the technology in previous roles. If an applicant’s response is ambiguous, don’t be afraid to rephrase the question.
3. Get the facts. Ask references to confirm basic information such as the candidate’s employment history, job titles, responsibilities and salary. If they’re willing to talk further, delve into their thoughts on the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, interpersonal skills, and ability to work on a team.
4. Branch out. Inquire if references know of others you can speak to about promising candidates. Also, tap your own network to find mutual acquaintances who might be able to shed light on the prospective hire’s background and character.
6.  Put them to the test. To get a true sense of a candidate’s abilities, consider hiring the person on a temporary basis before extending a full-time offer. This allows both parties to assess whether the position is a fit.

How about you? Do you embellish, or have you lied on your résumé? Do you know anyone who does? Add your voice here!

Source: Officeteam

Related post: Lying on Résumés Alarmingly Common