Are You Hogtying Your Writer?

I love writing résumés. With a passion. So I usually want to hang finished documents on the wall and stare at them all day.

Occasionally, however, I want to shred them into tiny bits and sprinkle them into the recycling bin.

I’ve often wondered: what’s the difference?

I’m the same person, after all. How can I feel like I’m producing exceptional work one moment, then no matter how hard I try, crank out a document that I don’t like?

Not that the work is flawed. Not that it doesn’t work for the client.

It’s just uninspired.

One day, it clicked.

The difference is the willingness of the subject to collaborate. To give the right amount of input. To trust. To allow. To be willing to face questions under a new lens and get creative.

Most of my clients give me the freedom to lead a project. In fact, they require my expertise as a former executive search consultant. They expect that the project won’t happen in a vacuum. They demand that I consider and shape context.

But from time to time, a client impedes every step of the process and rules with an iron will. In the end, it feels a bit like that client simply pays handsomely for dictation.

Here are some ideas to consider next time you hire a writer.

  1. Ask questions before you hire. When you’re making an investment in time and resources, it pays to know your writer beforehand. If something doesn’t feel right, or if the writer is at all unsure, it’s best to know upfront. I always tell clients during a preliminary call that I can’t write for everyone, and that our first phone call is to determine whether we’re a fit. If there isn’t a match, I don’t want to smudge my success rate so far — and I certainly don’t want to tackle a project that I can’t deliver on. So I discuss as much as I can, warts and all. When the project takes off, we both want to have fun doing it.
  2. Make sure there is trust on both sides of the relationship. If you’ve been referred to your writer, trust is already high. If you’re approaching them cold, have a look at their credentials, experience, and contributions to their industry. With social media today, you can gain a lot of information about a writer before you ever send an inquiry. Look at their work. Learn about their process. Do your homework, because you’re about to entrust someone with a pretty important part of your life.
  3. Be willing to let go. It can be freeing to let go. When I have my taxes done, I let go. When I get my hair cut, I let go. These are the small things that matter. So very simply, I say, be a partner, but leave it to the professional.

Every year I create an annual “Look Book” for myself, which includes every client’s set of documents for quick reference. Kind of like an annual portfolio. In fact, I just completed last year’s look book, which I’ll use this year to reminisce, take stock, notice trends, and seek inspiration when my own creativity has flown out the window for a second.

But be assured, I can always spot and remember those who collaborated, and those who simply used me as an expensive typesetter.

Until next time!

Jared Redick
Visit: The Resume
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Call: 415-397-6640

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