When you’re trying to put together a top notch resume, a great exercise to help you write meaningful and descriptive material is to have others write it for you. That doesn’t mean they actually put together the document, write your bullet points, and write a marketing document for you. Instead, get others to describe what you’ve done and accomplished so that you have material to work on and craft into your resume.
Here’s a guide to how you can get others to write your resume for you:
Your job description
The first place to look: the job description of your current or most recent job. Try to find the job listing you literally applied to before getting hired (which can be tough -- always save job descriptions even after you’ve been hired!) through a Google search or expired online pages. If you can’t find it, you could also look at current job descriptions at your company for roles similar to yours.
Use the bullet points within that describe the role to adapt the words you use in your resume. The description was written by a hiring manager, recruiter, or even your boss, so you’ll know that your own skills match up with what was on the page. Use the jargon and the responsibilities to reflect what you’ve now been able to accomplish in your time on the job.
Your performance reviews
If you randomly ask your boss to describe what you do and what you’ve accomplished, you may arouse suspicions that you’re leaving. However, what your boss says about you can be super valuable to work off of in a resume. Luckily, there’s a perfect time that you can use to get them to open up about your work: the performance review.
But what your boss has to say about your qualities is one of the most important sources of quality resume information you can use. Luckily, there’s a perfect time that you use can get them to open up about your work. That time is the performance review. During performance reviews, you’ll be told about the good things you did, the awesome things you accomplished, and the things you can work on from the perspective of your boss. Write down what was said during the meeting.
What you glean from the performance review can easily be translated to short bullet points in your resume. For example, your boss might praise you on helping onboard a fellow employee or manage through a crisis. They might point to a specific project in which you truly excelled. Use this material in your resume -- it’s what you did and what you’re good at!
Even if you’re not looking actively looking for a job, it’s a smart practice to record feedback from your boss -- especially the positive stuff, as that will help you in the future when you decide to look for your next gig. Do this regularly and you’ll find writing your resume will be a breeze.
Find a trusted co-worker and conduct a quick, mutually beneficial exercise: you describe what you know your co-worker does, what they’ve accomplished, and how they’ve positively impacted you or the workplace. They do the same for you. You both take notes (and include as many specifics and numbers where possible). Voila, you’ve got prime, high-quality material to use to describe exactly what you’ve done and what you’re good at in your resume.
This exercise can also be done with former co-workers at your old jobs, so long as you’re still friendly and in regular contact with them. You both benefit! So reach out to a co-worker, former or current, and get this valuable peer feedback!
The people who best know your work are the ones that you did it for. Happy customers and clients that rave about your service are a great source for quality resume data. Make a habit of writing down any feedback you get from customers and clients -- and make sure you regularly ask for it, too. When you’re writing your resume, you’ll easily be able to translate those quotes into impressive, results & numbers-driven data for your resume.
There are even times when direct quotes about your work could be used in a cover letter. It’s like creating your own testimonials page and treating your work as a business. It shows companies you’re applying to that you have had valuable impact that has been vetted by people who most have a right to judge you.
Finally, don’t forget about your mentors when writing your resume. Your mentors are the people in your life who aren’t necessarily involved in every role you’ve had but have been there to offer advice & help along the way. From former managers who took you under their wing to college professors who considered you a favorite student, your mentors are a great source of a specific kind of information for your resume - your personal traits and best qualities.
Talk to people you consider mentors and ask them to describe in detail your greatest strengths and weaknesses. This information helps you better write about yourself in self-descriptive bullet points. People often find it hard to talk about what they’re great at and what they can improve on because they’re rarely prompted to give that level of introspective thought. That’s why it’s important to have others who are honest and invested in you, as a person, give you candid feedback. And as an added bonus, this information is also great for interview prep.
You don’t have to write your resume on your own. In fact, you can often write a better one when you get others to talk to you about what you did and what you accomplished. So talk to your boss, mentors, colleagues, and consult the job description to get a great sense for the best way to portray the best you.