When you are planning your resume writing lesson plans, one of the most important parts to plan are the first 10 minutes. And they better not include looking at a resume, the parts of the resume or the purpose of the resume. 

I teach a lot of resume writing sessions. I teach them in person for students at the University of Winnipeg PACE program. And I teach over 150 people a month how to write their resume in my online resuMAY program. 

A few weeks ago, I had a new cohort of marketing students start a resume writing and job search strategy class with me. I was told that they tended to arrive late to class. So, on the first day of class, at 9:01, I shut the door and told the late students to come back after the break at 10:30 am. Tough love!

The rest of the students stared at me and looked concerned that I might be a tough teacher. I said, “I’m kind, but I have really high standards and I’m judgey. It’s what you actually want in a resume teacher.” They relaxed.

And then I started a conversation with them about what they wanted in their career.

And they were writing within half an hour. 

People aren’t really afraid of writing their own resume. They are afraid of looking stupid. That’s what we want to help people get over at the top of the class. Whether you are talking about it or talking about resumes, that’s what they’re worried about ….”am I going to be able to do this?”

Resume writing is an act of creation.  It’s not a technical act. It’s an art. 

And I don’t see creators in other professions sitting in front of a zillion slides and then told to paint like the slides. Why do we do this for resume writing? The one document that can hold and express the best parts of your life’s story. This may be the closest some people come to have an autobiography.

When I have the luxury of several days to teach resume writing, my students don’t see a resume until the 2nd class (at about hour 10).

I do this on purpose. It’s because in today’s search the resume is less important than the human. If we put all our attention to the resume, we are telling our students they are less important. And I’m not interested in saying that to anyone.

The #1 skill needed in the future of work is to be able to know yourself and talk about your strengths. The person matters more than ever in their career and job search, so we need to set up the class plan to support that.


What was the last classroom you were in?

How did you feel in the class?

What could the instructor have done to have you feeling seen and more engaged?

Kerri Twigg

Career Coach | Mindfulness and Stories Training for Career Contentment

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