A Sneaky Trick I Learned From A Master Copywriter That Will Eliminate Résumé “Writer’s Block” FOREVER…

LANDON LONG 1 Comment;

frustrated-with-spam1Imagine what it would be like if you could just sit down and bang out the perfect resume from scratch in no time flat… without ever having to go through the whole “staring at a blank screen for HOURS” phase…

How cool would that be?

You wouldn’t have to procrastinate your job search any more or experience that sinking feeling in your stomach every time you think about working on it.

A lot of times when I’m trying to come up with content for my resume I almost always run into writers block. My mind draws a blank and I never get past a few lines of text. It’s frustrating as hell because I can be sitting in front of my computer for an entire day and have nothing to show for it.

After studying famous copywriters and reading TONS of books on how to become a better resume writer (and writer in general), I’ve stumbled across a little gem of knowledge that’s really helped take my resume writing to the next level.

Here’s one very important concept I learned that I also mention in my book The Unspoken Rues of Getting Hired, and that is:

“Premature criticism destroys creativity”

This concept can best be explained like this… Imagine you’re in a sculpting class and there’s a barrel of clay going around from desk to desk giving each student enough clay to work on sculpting for the day.

Now the rules are simple: When the barrel comes to your desk, you have 10 seconds to grab as much clay out of the barrel as possible. As soon as your time is up, the barrel moves on to another desk and you are only allowed to work with what you were able to get in the 10 seconds you were given.

Now, what would you do?

The smart thing to do, would be to do nothing else but shovel clay out of the barrel for the 10 seconds that you have! Because if you don’t, chances are you won’t be able to make much progress on your masterpiece.

But that’s exactly what most college students (and experienced professionals) forget to do when it comes to writing content for their resumes. What they do instead is they grab a little clay and start editing, write a sentence or two, and edit some more… and they don’t get very far.

So gather clay first à then sculpt later or rather, write first –> edit later.

Turns out, the human brain can only focus on ONE thing at a time. We really do have a one track mind in that sense. I mean think about it… Can you ever really have 2 totally different thoughts at the same time? I’m not talking about being able to pat your head and rub your stomach…or watching TV while you’re doing homework… those activities don’t require THOUGHT.

What I’m talking about is being able to do your Math homework while simultaneously writing a paper… You cant!

Its impossible.

Our brains just aren’t wired that way.

The next time you sit down to work on creating new content for your resume, pay attention to what’s going on. What you’ll notice is that you’ll look at what you’re writing on the screen and you’ll go back and fix all the little typos as they happen.

STOP!

This is what’s screwing you over…

What just happened was your brain went from being in a creative state to analytical / editing state. Instead of maintaining momentum in creating and getting into the “flow” state, you slammed on the brakes and robbed yourself of gaining any real ground… this is what causes most beginning writers to  take up an entire day to come up with material.

But its not YOUR FAULT that this happens! Its just how our brain is wired. This is all going on subconsciously and AUTOMATICALLY and almost no one knows its going on as its happening!

So in terms of writing our resumes, what I’ve discovered is that our brains can only be in 1) creation mode or 2) editing mode in any given moment. What most of us tend to do is we write a little bit in our resume then analyze the hell out of it and we write a little more then analyze it again and it turns into this orgy of writing and editing that never really gets us anywhere.

Eventually we give up, and say things like, ”Fuck this… I’ll just wait till spring quarter and then worry about sending out resumes.” Which if you’ve read my Opportunity Cost of Senioritis Article, you’d know that’s not the best idea when it comes to finding success in life after college.

What we need to do is focus ONLY on creation for a period of time and ONLY on editing for a period of time. That’s the secret to eliminating Resume writer’s block and being able write MORE content in LESS time.

And here’s are my resume tips for how to do that…

STEP 1) Open MS Word so that you have a blank screen

STEP 2) Close all other programs on your PC or MAC so that no “pop ups” will come up

STEP 3) Turn down the brightness of your screen till its BLACK (or turn off your monitor so that you don’t see ANYTHING on your screen). By doing this, you’re making the creation state INEVITABLE by eliminating ALL chances of distraction or impulses to edit.

STEP 4) Setup a digital timer or Google an online countdown timer and set it for ONE HOUR

STEP 5) Write and DON’T STOP WRITING UNTIL THE TIMER GOES OFF!

Keep in mind, as you’re writing you WILL make mistakes. Its bound to happen and its OK. Just go back and edit what you’ve written later. That way you’ll at least be able to have some content to sculpt instead of staring at a blank screen for hours and getting distracted by facebook or email, etc.

So now that you know how to get over your writer’s block, I want you to sit down and pick 1 previous work experience and write for one hour using this method. Then in the comments area below, let everyone know how you did. If you know of any other tricks, go ahead and leave them on here as well and maybe we can all create a nice collection to share.

Happy hunting!

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  1. Jason Luck
    Jason Luck

    I like this. It puts a bit of science behind a similar technique I encourage my customers to adopt when writing a CV.

    There are two questions I typically ask. 1) How long is your CV? and 2) How long should it be? Often people give the same answer to both questions – “two pages”. If you have only two pages to work with, you can only apply to one narrow job role. If you have ten pages, you have a lot of combinations which will allow you to show yourself as the appropriate “specialist” the recruiter is seeking and will therefore be able to make credible applications to a broader range of jobs.

    You are quite right, the trick is to let rip with the creative juices and generate raw content. You can adapt this at a later stage in response to specific job criteria.

    Another tip is to write ultra-specific examples of achievements. Then ask yourself “what does this say about me in terms of “leadership” or “judgement” or “analytica ability”. This gives the basis for dealing with a range of transferable skills. Hey-presto, a bumper crop of CV content ready and waiting for use under the appropriate conditions!

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