As a consultant, strategic advisor, and creative partner to my clients, my work is all about helping them construct and design an impactful story around their professional journey, and the unique value they bring to the table. My goal was always to help as many people as possible – and in 2015, that goal was achieved when we expanded the Brooklyn Resume Studio brand to include our sister studio in Los Angeles.
I sat down recently with Daryn to discuss his thoughts on what makes an effective resume, the state of hiring in the Los Angeles market, and why he chose the fine art of resume writing over pro sports as his ultimate career direction.
How did you get into resume writing?
I have always been good at writing – as soon as I put pencil to paper (back when that was a thing), words just seemed to flow. I was rather disappointed that I was always winning writing awards, since my dream was to play with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the LA Lakers.
I began my career as a veterinary assistant, worked at Starbucks, and went on to teach in the Los Angeles Unified School District – that’s where I realized my natural talent for writing could be used to help others, and create a career I was more passionate about. I took on a part-time role at a resume writing company while earning my professional certification.
For over 16 years, I have dedicated myself to helping people identify, clarify, and proficiently present their “brand.” I get an incredible sense of fulfillment and meaning when my clients let me know they landed a dream job they never thought they would get. I love what I do and I am extremely passionate about helping others to get to a place where they feel the same way about their career that I feel about mine.
So what – in your opinion – makes a great resume?
It’s a combination of several factors:
- The presentation should be concise, clean, direct and free of errors.
- It needs to be compliant with applicant tracking systems (ATS), which many larger companies use to scan for keywords before the resume ever reaches a real person.
- It should tell your story, and position you not as just ANY candidate, but as THE candidate for the role.
- Branding is also key – and a resume should clearly communicate who you are, and differentiate you from your competitors in terms of your strengths, skills, and accomplishments.
What are the biggest mistakes you often see candidates making?
You can write a resume by yourself, but I equate that with performing your own dental work. You’re going to get the best results by hiring a trained and experienced professional. Many of my clients previously wrote their own resumes, and after 6 to 12 months of unsuccessful job searching, they came to me. Once we rewrote their documents correctly, they landed a job much more quickly.
Don’t start a resume with a statement about what you want. A resume should focus on what the EMPLOYER wants, and how you fulfill that need.
Another big mistake I see is including too little information and leaving out key strengths; or providing so much detail that the document starts to resemble an autobiography more than a resume. Think of it as a marketing resource – simple, clear, and to the point – like a commercial billboard designed to sell you.
How can job seekers stand out more in today’s ultra-competitive job market?
Understand how to pitch yourself. If the CEO of your dream company walked into the elevator, and you had 10 seconds to describe your background, what would you say? You should be able to speak to your unique talents, accomplishments, and experiences that define your value – and this message should resonate throughout your resume, cover letter, and online profiles.
Networking is also key – and job seekers should absolutely use LinkedIn and their own networks to penetrate the hidden job market.
Let’s talk about the LA market – what industries are hiring?
There are always industries that are growing, remaining static, or shrinking. Silicon Beach is flooding with hundreds of tech startups; Defense firms like Northrop and Boeing are reducing manufacturing, but rapidly expanding in areas like health informatics and electronic healthcare systems; Innovative brands like Netflix, Apple TV, Hulu are thriving and using LA’s entertainment infrastructure to out-Hollywood, Hollywood.
Yahoo! made a big splash in 2013 by eliminating telecommuting, but more industries and companies are actually embracing virtual teams. So competition is reaching beyond market lines, and taking on a national tone. It’s more vital than ever for everyone to have attractive and well-written marketing documents that really sell their potential, and support their search strategy.
What do you like most about Los Angeles?
We have an incredible amount of diversity, and this city is full of great ethnic enclaves. There are few places on earth where you can go snowboarding, and then drive 2 hours to go surfing. We also have a tremendous range of industries and companies here – from Hollywood, to Tesla, to Boeing, to Disney.
Any other tidbits you’d like to share about yourself?
Those of you reading this should know that I’ve been where you have – in terms of changing careers multiple times, navigating unemployment, and managing an extensive job search. The search itself can be stressful and draining – but I am passionate about helping clients identify their strengths and translate those into work that they enjoy.
I am here to help! Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.