EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Personally, I am not a big fan of art museums. Sure, there are particular “objects of art” that I find to be of interest, but I guess I find the walking around part a little tiring.

For amusement during these art museum tours I try to overhear what the tour guides are saying. The at length descriptions of what was in the artist’s mind never fail to bring a smile to my face. I often wonder how they know. Is it possible the artist was thinking one thing, but told his supporters something else? Is it possible that he wasn’t thinking anything at all, but just started painting and worked backwards into his logic once it was done?

I know from personal experience writing editorials for you that sometimes I write down a few thoughts, but the end result ends up somewhere else. I get ideas as I write and I try not to let any preconceived notions stand in the way of my “painting you a pretty picture.”

In much the same way, resumes and 90-second announcements have as their REAL purpose the need to “paint a pretty picture of you.” Sure, at some point a week by week detailed accounting might be needed by Human Resources so they can pin point that time when you were in jail – oops, forgot to mention that on my resume. You should consider information omitted, (like entire jobs you have held) the same as leaving off an entire lower corner of your picture. (i.e. not something you should do.)

I think you will all agree that most pretty pictures have a simple elegance. They tend not to be cluttered. Perhaps it is my accountant’s view of life coupled with my years in the advertising and publishing businesses, but I like things to look crisp. (It could also be my failing eyesight.)

The canvas on which we work for resumes is traditionally two pages. If you have been around the block more than a few times, I really don’t mind if you take three. Three pages of 8-point type, however, mean to me that you don’t understand the product.

I always suggest taking your resume and changing the entire document to 12-point Times New Roman. It is the most common type font because it lends itself to readability. If you want to go fancy, be my guest, but understand that at least for resumes sent by email, fancy fonts do not always look the same on the other end.

Pruning unnecessary words and ideas without losing the “pretty picture” is a lot of hard work. Although your resume can only be written by you and be accurate and impactful, editing it yourself with no help is akin to taking out your own appendix. A careful mix of the two approaches seems to work best. As painful as it may be, writing and rewriting and rewriting again is how you can draw the best possible vision of how well you will serve your new firm if only they would at least call you in for an interview.

I hope that thinking about your resume and 90-second announcements as art and not science will change your focus a little. As financial types, we tend to think that there is a formula we can follow to get the best result. Alas, in terms of describing out who and what you are, nothing can be further from the truth. And the truth is what you are trying to present.

Being selected for the right reasons can happen if the picture you draw is easily absorbed without a tour guide. In our efforts to be all things to all peoples we often leave the reader or listener in the position of “not being able to see the forest for the trees.”

Call it a marketing document if you like, but the truth is that a properly drawn resume will provide a vision of lush valleys with gently flowing streams, if you work at it.

Great art takes time. I will also share with you a story I heard a long time ago. It seems a reporter was watching a craftsman carve a large wooden door. As the days wore by, the door gradually took shape and was absolutely magnificent. Still, the craftsman continued his labors. At some point the reporter was inspired to ask how the craftsman knew when the door was finished. The answer was “They take it away.”

Regards, Matt

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