PRO-file: Gina Sanabria, Resume Writer
Gina Sanabria has been a resume writer for over 25 years and explains why resumes are important, what are common mistakes people make, and the value of hiring a professional resume writer.
What do you love about this work?
I really love the fact that I am helping someone attain their career goals. I enjoy making them think about their accomplishments in past positions or throughout school. This is often very difficult for my clients to express but I ask them not to be afraid to brag.
Why are resumes important? What’s their key function?
What I have always tried to stress to those who do not see the purpose of a resume is that it has two goals: One for the employer and one for the applicant.
The goal of the resume for the applicant is to get their foot in the door. To get an interview. That’s it. I can’t guarantee the job because I don’t know what you will do once you walk in that door. But the resume should speak for you and get you that appointment.
The goal of the resume for the employer is to weed out as many unqualified people as possible. When you look at it that way, it is much easier to understand why having a power resume is very important.
What is the biggest mistake professionals make when writing their resumes?
Sometimes they go on forever with routine job descriptions and don’t focus on what makes them stand out from other possible applicants. I try to find out their uniqueness and highlight those qualities.
What is one thing professionals could do better?
It would be to their advantage to keep a log of their accomplishments, promotions, awards and academic achievements. It is often like pulling teeth to get people to remember very momentous accomplishments.
What are the advantages of working with a professional resume writer?
I have been writing resumes for over 25 years. I do not use a template. I research the job titles and descriptions, identify correct keywords, stay in contact and ask questions, use questionnaires when necessary, ask clients to give me three important facts about themselves that an employer would want to know about them, so that I can customize their cover letters. Most important, I stay with them, with unlimited revisions as needed, until they secure employment, and I make sure each client is satisfied with my work.
How did you begin working with people on resumes?
I worked as a Vocational Counselor for individuals with disabilities, recovering addicts and ex-offenders. I helped them with training, resumes writing, job search strategies and post-employment counseling. After my children were born and then toddlers, I was exhausted traveling to and from the city. I decided I would try to write resumes from home and was trained by an editor of an online resume writing company. She would review my work and then show me how to prepare resumes for professionals of all different levels and fields. I subcontracted work from a few online resume companies. I did that for a few years and then just began to work independently once I became more experienced. As a result, I developed a generous referral based business. Later I grew on the internet with help from my website, yelp and google.
What is the most challenging resume you have had to write?
My own! I don’t think anyone likes writing their own resume, including resume writers. I recently had a woman I know who is a life coach and works in Human Resources ask me to do her resume. She said, “I can write a resume, but I just can’t write mine!”
What do you want people to know about what you do?
I really enjoy asking people how many doctors, nurses, secretaries, receptionists, salespeople, plumbers, etc. they know and then ask them, “and how many resume writers do you know?” I enjoy that feeling of being a little unique myself. I want people to know that a resume is a personal introduction and a way for you to be in the room explaining how great you are without even being there. And for that reason, you must make sure you get it right and you don’t make any mistakes that someone will remember. And you also want to answer questions in that resume before they even think of the question. These are the things I am thinking about when someone comes to me asking for a resume.
I have many clients return to me after a few years asking for revisions for a new job search. It makes me feel good to know I had a small part in that process.