Problem Resumes : Elphaba’s Wicked Resume
Serious advice for handling problem résumés. But you’re gonna smile.
Copyright © Sandra A. Jackson, JobTownResumes.com, 2013. All rights reserved.*
Some people are so misunderstood!
Ever read the book, “Wicked” or see the Broadway play? It’s the longest running Broadway play in history about the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba. Most resume analysts would agree that her’s falls in the problem resumes category and would pose a challenge. So that’s our case in point and our sample to explain how it’s done. (In case you aren’t familiar with Elphaba, Glinda, and “Wicked,” click on the link, “Wicked” (the musical) Wikipedia for a detailed synopsis. And if you happen to be in exciting New York, click on the graphic below for tickets to “Wicked” on Broadway.)
I started wondering, “Just how would one handle Elphaba’s wicked resume?” After giving it some thought and a little imagination, a first draft appeared. Then resume “Best Practices” from the National Resume Writers’ Association were applied to it. Click on the links below to see it. You’ll have a good chuckle.
- She had a gap in experience while she cared for her sister and the Winkie Prince.
- She left her position suddenly after blowing the whistle on the Wizard of Oz’s fraudulent practices.
- Most of her potential references thought she was wicked. She was an animal activist, a crusader against evil, and a righter-of-wrongs. These traits can sometimes be misinterpreted if you haven’t chosen the right occupation.
- She had choppy, short independent jobs after her initial executive assistant position. (She disappeared altogether for a while with that faux “melt” stunt after she left Oz, but she spent her time with further education, volunteer work, and consultations on magic during this time. She kept busy.)
- Her sorcery was misunderstood. Of course, in my imagination, she was a techie witch. After all, that crystal ball and those ruby slippers were pure genius.
- HOW TO HANDLE A GAP IN EXPERIENCE: Tell the truth about your gap, i.e., caring for a sick relative, completing coursework, or getting laid off, etc.
- ALWAYS OPT FOR THE POSITIVE SPIN: Of course, it is more of a challenge to explain getting fired. In these cases, be sure to take advantage of the break to do volunteer work, coursework, and certifications so that you can put a positive spin on activities during that period. This is also true for time after a lay off. Learn from your mistakes, if there were any, and don’t let life’s speed bumps keep you down. Go for that “glass half-full” concept.
- ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH: A lie is almost always discovered on a résumé and it will hurt your chances in the end. Recruiters and companies keep databases full of résumés they obtain from applicants and from résumé mining on the internet. I know because I was one of those recruiters who hoarded resumes. Although most employers say they only keep the résumé for six months, it is usually kept longer than that (sometimes years) in a database. They will notice inconsistencies between resume versions and work history when they do reference checking and verifications.
- FOLLOW RESUME WRITING “BEST PRACTICES.” Then, be sure to meticulously follow conventional wisdom for résumé writing. Click on this link for a list of “Best Practices.”
Once you’re done writing the resume and have addressed all problem areas following the “Best Practices” guidelines, cross your fingers and throw salt over your shoulder while chanting “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble” (like Shakespeare’s witches in MacBeth).
Naw. I’m just kidding. You can cross your fingers if you want to, but if you follow the resume suggestions, your resume will look great.
If you’re going to write your own resume, take a look at the industry recommended resume and cover letter books listed in our JTR Store by clicking on this link.
And call me when you’re done writing, so I can proof, edit, and give your resume a polish and shine. It’s a cost-effective way to go. On the other hand, if you’d like to leave all those details to someone else, call me to write or rewrite the entire resume from scratch. Either way, it’ll shine.
Kind Regards, Sandy, Your Resume Writer
p.s. And for goodness’ sake, practice your interview questions so you’ll be ready when they call. Notice I said “WHEN.” Check out “About.com” for interview questions and answers. Or check out “Interview IQ” for a comprehensive look at (literally) lists and lists of interview questions for professionals and executives.
Here’s wishing you a Happy Halloween!