There is Always a Wrong Way
I will make this easy. At the top of your resume should be “Resume of Name, Title” The word resume and your title should be in a smaller font than your name; all centered across the page, taking up approximately 80%. Phone number and email are right justified on two separate lines below this text. Then a clear one-line career objective. “I wish to obtain a full-time job as a car salesman.” Next are three separated bulleted paragraphs with the following centered headings: skills, job history, education, and interests (non-related job items.) End your resume with “references available on request.” Never place your references on your resume. Only use New Times Roman font for your entire resume.
OMG, are you 5 years old? You put down your career objective? That is irrelevant. Obviously, the job you are applying for is the objective. It is always Resume, your name, and title. Always left justified on separate lines. NEVER CENTER YOUR WORDS. Why are you separating job history and experience? A reviewer needs to see when you learned your skills. Other interests? Delete that junk! You are not listing your references? Do you ever plan to get a job?
I worked at a copy center for half a year during college and one year after college. In that time, I copied hundreds of resumes for every possible job all written in every conceivable format. We even had a professional resume person on site who I spoke with often about the topic.
Over the years, I noticed many patterns. Good resumes got the basics right out there. Bad resumes were cluttered and made it difficult for the reader. Some used small fonts, hard to read fonts, and mixed fonts. I saw misspelled words, random extra spaces, and uneven tabs. Plus, loads of irrelevant information. Overall, I found that people could not decide if their resume should be very formal or slightly informal.
How do you write a patent? Well, you start off with… [Dear four regular blog readers. Please insert lots of boring patent stuff here.] Alright message received. I will not drone on about how to write a patent. In essence, they are complex descriptions written in legal double talk. If you have some time, do a patent search of dog finder, dog locator or dog GPS. Hundreds of patents will pop up. After skimming through a few, the reader will quickly see that patents do not follow a common format.
Wait, a minute. I am sure my blog readers know that the patent office provides simple examples, exact templates, and well-defined rules. Well, not so much. All the government information and examples are hard to find, incomplete, of poor quality, contradictorily, and written in incomprehensible legal speak. The patent office is a small government department that is very far behind the times. In short, they are not your friend, instead, they are an overworked government agency full of bureaucracy. While the patents you might find may appear similar to the provided templates, the wording, diagrams, and internal workings all look radically different; even on a common topic like “dog finder.”
In my life, I have written five patents, and while they got a lot of compliments, they were not approved for various reasons. As a result, several people have asked me to write patents for them. My answer is: Never again! They were an enormous pain without reward.
Years ago, I wanted to start a business, and people told me that I needed a business plan to attract investors. This would be an effortless task. So, I bought three books on the topic and began reading. Wow, they looked nearly unrelated. One flaunted incomprehensible spreadsheet’s with loose supporting paragraphs, and the book included a non-working computer program. The second book contained a lofty mess that loosely described starting a business. The third proclaimed to contain five “award-winning” business plans with tips on making your own. Upon reading the five plans, I found them to differ vastly from each other and difficult to understand. In short, the three books failed to define the topic.
To help, my mother hooked me up with a family friend who wrote business plans for a living. He showed me four plans that were successfully used to start companies. I was impressed with his accomplishments. Then, he hit me up for $1,500 to continue speaking with me. When I told my mother what happened, she became outraged because she did their family many favors over the years. After getting yelled at, he printed me out a copy of his four plans. (Side note, he expected $1,500 for this gesture. This upset my mother even more.) When I looked over his plans, they sort of made sense, but they were difficult to follow, and I did not feel comfortable with this format. Interesting side story. He later tried to have his wife killed by paying a man to beat her to death.
My father then asked a business friend to help me out. Damon took a lot of time to explain all aspects of a business plan. This was a great personal favor on his part. (Side story, he screwed my parents on a business deal, and this was his attempt at an apology.) I worked hard for a year with him and came up with a great business plan.
My plan stood out as having a clear objective, a slick appearance with excellent documentation. As a result, I got comments from potential investors like, “Brilliant plan, but I am not interested in investing.” “Wow, this is easy to understand. I am not interested, but would you write a business plan for me?” Interesting side story. My plan did not start a business, but I learned a lot and like to think I now have an unofficial MBA.
Resumes, patents, and business plans are supposed to follow “a standard format.” Yet, they deviate wildly. What is the goal of all those documents? Get the reader, reviewer, jury, patent attorney, company, investor, loan officer or random interested person the proper information. This allows them to make an informed decision.
Here is the fundamental question intended to be answered by a resume: Do you have the skills to do this job? If a resume reviewer has to hunt for the answer, they will pass the candidate up for somebody with a better resume. One resume I copied had jellybean stickers on it. Really? I came across a resume that had a threat, “If you do not hire me, you are an idiot.” What the heck!
Since I wrote my business plan, I have seen many others. They were all a mess. One of them had very optimistic language, “I guarantee 3000% return!” Sounds illegal. One had flowerily language, “I want to make a far-out restaurant.” Business plans are supposed to be serious.
One business plan (written by a friend of mine) did not explain the amount of money requested or explain how the company would spend it. (Side note. When I questioned him about this, he answered, “Explaining how I would use the money is not important. It’s boilerplate. You ask for the amount in person, not in the plan.) What the heck? The definition of a business plan = How I PLAN to spend YOUR money. Throw them a bone! Side note, he had many difficulties funding his business and was only successful when somebody else came in to help.
Another business plan did not have the contact information on it. Another was only one page long. (Side note. I have read about 20 one-page patents.) Another did not define the basic business type. It was basically a resume for a person who wanted to start a business.
I found one a dog finder patent with misspelled words (yes, over one) in the title. In the title? Really? Could they not spell check the title? Side note. My company was looking into making a dog finder. There are over 1000 patents on dog finders, yet there are very few products.
There are many patens with offensive (four letter) words in it. Do not even get me started on the “artistic” choices in the patent drawings. Crazy side note. There are patents for adult pleasure devices. Those drawings are quite “artistic.”
The point of this blog is we all perceive there is a standard format, and our format is the most correct. Yet, people kind of know there is some leeway in formatting. What everybody can agree on is that there are wrong formats. There is an old aircraft saying, “If it looks right, it will fly right.”
In life, pick a path and follow it. However, we learn, try to improve. As for resumes, patents, and business plans, I have settled on a format I like. However, with writing books, I still struggle with a basic format, style, and plot decisions. I see improvements due to my endless editing efforts, but I know there is much to learn. I wish there were a more accepted book standard; especially in the area of framing dialog. Even the professional editors had opposing suggestions.
In closing. What if there were an accepted standard format? I suppose life would be easier, but a lot less fun.
You’re the best -Bill
Setember 23, 2020
BUY MY BOOK
Read my next blog