Remember when it was cool to be a renaissance person?
Yeah, neither do I.
I have to find a job. A real one. Not something Prez and I invented. Not the kind where I work ten to twelve hours a day, every day, but don’t get a paycheque. Nope, it’s time for me to rejoin the rest of the world and change out of my pajamas before I go to work.
My employment history reads like a career option catalogue a highschool guidance counselor might give out, with overlapping timelines that would confuse Dr. Who—a veteran time traveler. In many cases, my employer was either me or Prez or both, which makes reference letters problematic.
Kristene was a wonderful employee! I literally couldn’t live without her.
There’s also the matter of certification, something our society seems to be all about these days. No, I don’t have any post-secondary credentials in business or marketing but in nine months, and with no budget to speak of, Prez and I took a dilapidated beach resort from the bottom position on Trip Advisor to the number one spot. And we held that rank until the day we left. Oh, and we also brought occupancy up to an 80% average, even during the off season. I don’t think an MBA could have done any better than we did.
But how do you take that—and the other chaotic mish-mash that constitutes my work experience history and skills—and convey the information effectively to a complete stranger…in one or two pages of bullet points?
I routinely bang off thousands of words in a day without breaking a sweat. Imagine my horror when I sat down to write a resume and found myself, an hour later, staring at the one and only sentence I had managed to squeeze from my keyboard. Horror and humiliation.
BLINK BLINK BLINK went the cursor and with each new BLINK I felt decades of hard-won confidence slipping through my fingers.
BLINK-what kind of loser can’t even write a resume-BLINK-you will end up working at A&W-BLINK-if you’re lucky.
Desperate, I googled “Kootenay Career Development Society”. I knew of this place—a non-profit organization that helps local people with their job searches—but I’d never thought it was for me. I mean, I’m a writer damn it! As if I need help writing one stupid page of facts and a four paragraph cover letter.
BLINK. You need help.
I hated to admit it, that I needed help, but that’s exactly what I needed. And so I rolled my pride up into a tiny ball and swallowed it, then I made an appointment with an employment counselor.
His name was Shane. He made me laugh. I told him my story and showed him my resume. We filled out the necessary government paperwork and scratched our heads at all the places where my round peg would not fit into the square holes. Shane explained how we could highlight my skills instead of focusing on the crazy list of jobs and dates. He talked about courses I could take to satisfy employers’ desire for certification and assured me he would try his best to get government funding to cover the costs. Most of all, he affirmed what I had always believed—that real life experience and success are as valuable as paper credentials.
I walked away with a plan and a shiny new resume that makes me sound pretty darn awesome. My confidence began seeping back in.
I wrote a letter in my head:
You don’t have to be good at everything. It’s okay to ask for help, beg for it if necessary. Please don’t forget that again.
Now the hunt begins. Wish me luck.
(See how I’m asking for help again?)