So, you know you need a resume, right?

Oh, the things I do for you people! As it has no doubt become apparent, I have very little patience with the whole “resume field”, as in my struggles with finding employment over the past decade I have had my resume wrung out, shredded, reformatted, inverted, dumbed-down, anonymized, starved down to one page, ballooned out to a dozen pages, praised, damned, mocked, and held up as a great example … because every freak'n “job industry person” has their own model of how it should look and work. And, I'm a little cranky about it.

So, my voluntarily launching into yet another resume book at this point can only be explained by my wanting to bring “on target” material to you in this blog. You're welcome.

Now, I will admit, that at least I wasn't cussing at this book while reading it (unlike the case of several other resume books I've suffered through in the past), as The Damn Good Resume Guide: a Crash Course in Resume Writing (by the late Yana Parker and now Beth Brown) presents a reasonably coherent, direct, and compact “system” for getting you from nothing to a useful resume in well under 100 pages.

This is the fifth edition of this book (just coming out now), with the last edition (a posthumous update two years after the original author's death) being ten years ago. Now, if you're putting out a book about how to carve whirligigs, you can expect that to probably stay fairly “evergreen” since the tools and supplies for woodworking are fairly consistent over time … however, a book about the job search, especially in the fast-change modality of American culture over the past century, can get stale real fast. Just to put forth one “contextifying” example, MySpace didn't exist when the 4th edition of this came out, FaceBook (even on the single college level) didn't exist, Twitter didn't exist, and if the term “social media” was ever uttered, it was probably somebody trying to make business cards sound fancy. While this is touched on in an appendix here, the vibe is still very much towards printing on paper a document, which is hardly the main way that resumes get where they're going these days.

And, speaking of “these days”, in the 2nd Great Depression, job seeking is Hell, and companies, in the quest for ever-greater efficiencies, have implemented systems where resumes don't even meet with a “decision maker” until 99% of them have been summarily rejected. Unfortunately, this reality seems to be outside the world-view of this book, despite its up-to-the-moment new edition.

This is also focused largely on people just getting into the work force … with a lot of advice on how to fit in “non work” experience, etc., and a significant percentage of sample resumes targeting very low-level positions … although I suppose, given that the 10-step system presented in this is fairly comprehensive, experienced job seekers certainly could use it to “restart” a search with a fresh look at what they're bringing to the table.

Unlike some other books in this niche, the “system” here is pretty straight forward and direct … and only takes up 36 pages, so even the most “lesson averse” person is unlikely to take a flip through this and think they can't work it. Most of the rest of the book is taken up with sample resumes, which have one very useful add-on of a note explaining why the format and the particular info was used in that example … a great way of adding some context to what could otherwise be pretty stultifying content.

Anyway, as always, more info can be found over in my review … this is something which I think I'd suggest for the new job seeker, but it has material useful to all.

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  • So, the "Good Book" remains good! Glad to hear it. Of course, you could expect others to launch a resume book attack on you, since you mention that you keep reading them!
    So, for you and any who read this, please accept the following FREE copy of my just published e-book Resumes That Sizzle. I hope it helps those who need such advice. It is available in pdf and all the of the popular e-reader formats.
    Go to www.smashwords.com/books/view/136041. Enter the coupon code HR67M to obtain a FREE copy. (Offer good throuh 6/09). Simply enter the code within the ordering process, and you will not be charged. You will then be able to select the e-book format you wish to download, including pdf.
    May your resume land that interview!
    Mallory Chamberlin, PhD

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