WorkWise Q & A: Writing, whistleblowing, interviewing

culp@workwise.netApril 14, 2013 

Q: Dear Dr. Culp, My resume is one page long and contains all of my work history. The graphics are eye-catching, but interviewers seems to be saying things I think they’re saying to everyone they interview. How can I inspire them to think about what I’ve done and how to use my experience?

-Not a Writer

A: Dear Not, Make the content more special by approaching it as if you were writing advertising copy, where less is more. “Less” refers to results rather than functions.

Before you organize anything, turn your resume upside down or shift to an empty screen on your monitor. Think about all of the jobs you’ve had. Don’t tell employers what you did to achieve a result. Convey the results.

What was the most important result in all of the results you achieved at any of your jobs and in your community activities? Record it. What was the second-most important? Record it next and so on.

Take a break from the project. When you go back to it, shorten each result to as few words as possible. Make each result zing. Take out any low-impact statements describing what you did. mlc

SELF-PROTECTION

Q: Dear Dr. Culp, There have been some very unethical dealings in my company. I’ve documented them and I’m about to blow the whistle. I’ve met with an attorney.

I’m well aware that this puts my job at stake, but I’m willing to risk it in this economy, because I’ve saved a great deal and the worst that could happen is that I’ll have to go off on my own. However, I’d prefer a traditional job. If I lose my job, what shall I tell people?

-Ready

A: Dear Ready, Your courage is commendable.

The obvious answer is that the company was moving in a direction you hadn’t anticipated or was changing directions, but the real problem you face is much greater than that. What are the people you leave behind going to say about you?

Some won’t be happy with your decision to air more than dirty laundry. Have you planned which people to ask to serve as references? When you part company, be prepared to tell your employer that your dates of employment are acceptable and legal, period. If anyone at the company releases more than that, your attorney will step in. mlc

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