Today I'm working on a fantastic project. My client has a diverse and interesting background and is making a career change. His experiences are perfect for what he wants to do next, but presenting them well means carefully sifting through them and selecting the things that are most helpful while minimizing the stuff that might distract recruiters.
I love doing this and I'm good at it. I instinctively know what to include and what to leave out and how to lay it all out on the page. If you have relevant experience, no matter how long ago, or how unusual it is, I can help you show your worth.
But sometimes I'm approached by people I can't help. People who simply don't have the experience required but who think I have a magic wand. Today's was an IT professional who wanted to go into web design. The only problem is that he hadn't done any web design - I don't mean he hadn't done any professionally. I mean he hadn't done any. No volunteer work, no college studies, no unpaid work for friends and family. Nothing!
I know I could do a great job, he told me. I just need someone to give me a chance and I can learn on the job. That's where a good resume comes in.
Um no. Actually it isn't.
There is nothing I can do on a resume that can make up for the fact that you haven't put in the time. If you have unpaid experience, I can make it look paid. If you've freelanced while working full-time jobs, I can bring that freelancing to the forefront. if you started out in design and then moved away from it, I have tricks to bring that design experience back into focus for employers. If you've taken college classes, I can write about your college design projects.
But if you're just hoping to persuade employers to hire you with no experience and then teach you the job, you're hoping for a miracle and miracles I don't do.