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What Is a Human-Voiced Resume?

Everybody knows the traditional resume format. It hasn’t changed in years. When I was job-hunting in the early nineteen-eighties, my resume read just the same way most resumes read today:

Results-oriented professional with a bottom-line orientation and superior communication skills, can-do attitude and proven track record of success.

This is how we’ve been taught to write a resume, but now it’s time for a change!

I was an HR VP for a very long time. I read thousands and thousands of resumes and I was struck by the format we have all adopted for our resumes. It’s a horrible format. It makes every person sound the same, when all of us are so wonderfully different from one another!

Imagine if you to work every day wearing an ugly, shapeless grey uniform. Imagine that everyone at work had to wear the same awful-looking, drab uniform.

We’d have to work even harder than we do now to stay lively and to have fun at work, and to bring across our own unique personality.

You have the same problem when you write your resume in the traditional, boring zombie resume style.

It’s difficult if not impossible to convey your spark and wit, your terrific stories and your zest for your profession through that sludgy, bureaucratic language!

That’s why when I got sucked into career coaching about a decade ago through a series of curious events that I will tell you about another time, I started right away to write resumes in a new style. A Human-Voiced Resume sounds like a person is talking to you — pretty much the way I’m talking with you right now.

I’m sitting here and you’re sitting wherever you’re sitting, or you’re standing up at the bus stop or lying down in bed. Wherever you are, you’re reading about Human-Voiced Resumes and I’m telling you how they came to be.

I led a very large online community for women for ten million years. The community was called WorldWIT, and it had local branches like ChicWIT in Chicago and SandWIT in Miami.

There were about 85 of these local groups around the world. One day I invited the WorldWIT community members to post the top part of their resume – the Summary — on our discussion board (they were list-servs) and I’d humanize their resumes Summaries for them.

I started editing resume Summaries to put a human voice in them, and our members wrote to say “Dang! That’s a whole different spin on my career. When I read my new Summary, I feel like I have something to bring to an employer. I feel more like myself, too!”

We started writing complete Human-Voiced Resumes for clients (not just the Summary at the top!) and by now have written thousands of them. We teach people to write their own Human-Voiced Resumes through our virtual courses.

There’s more information about the courses at the bottom of this post.

A Human-Voiced Resume is still a resume. It’s one or two pages long. It shows black or blue ink on white bond paper or a white or off-white screen. In all those respects a Human-Voiced Resume is standard.

Here’s where your Human-Voiced Resume departs from the zombie-esque traditional resume format.

You’ll use “I” in your Human-Voiced Resume. You can’t write a Human-Voiced Resume without the word “I,” and why would you want to? “I” is not a scary word! Whoever made up the goofy rule that you can’t use “I” in a resume never had to sit and read huge piles of resumes the way I did, and the way millions of recruiters and hiring managers do every day!

Your resume is all about you. It’s your principal branding material, so it had better use the word “I!” Who else are we talking about? We’re talking about you!

Your HVR uses a conversational tone all the way through. It doesn’t use governmental-sounding sentence fragments and it doesn’t use meaningless cliches like these:

  • Meets or exceeds expectations
  • Proven track record of success

Can we break these two standard bits of resume filler down? The first one makes no sense because if you flew past your goals at work, why would you also use valuable resume space to tell us that you also sometimes merely met your goals?

The second one makes no sense either. Is there such a thing as a proven track record of failure? Is there such a thing as an unproven track record of success?

These goofy slices from the traditional resume pie have long outlived their usefulness. They tell us nothing about you — nothing that anybody would care about, anyway.

It’s time for a new approach to writing your resume!

Read the blog post “How to Write Your Human-Voiced Resume” here!

Want to learn about our virtual courses and private coaching services related to Human-Voiced Resumes? They are detailed at the bottom of this post! 

Reach us here with your questions!

2 replies
  1. Bilal
    Bilal says:

    Motivating article about resume writing. People lost their identity and would not mention themselves as the writer force to “I”.


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