The Gig Life means always keeping your resume updated. On the last weekend of every month, I’ll look at my resume, and add a little more to it. My primary resume is three pages. I start with my contact information, mission statement or summary, then experience. Education fills out the second page and the third page lists out any relevant professional skill. No lies or exaggeration. My resume is my ticket to the next gig.
Three pages might seem excessive.
I had a 1-page resume for years until an incessant recruiter kept asking for more. This length has since worked famously for me. It’s a good balance of career narrative, highlights, and the training I’ve had over the years, without going into specific details over proprietary processes. Recruiters can chop it down when they shop it around.
Never lie or exaggerate.
When I’ve been a technical interviewer, I’ve asked about every detail that seems suspicious. I keep on a topic until they crack and lie or give me details that only someone who has done the work could answer properly. If you’re not sure you can hold a 5-minute conversation over a line in your resume, drop it. Your interviewer won’t.
Interviewing is a skill, like everything else.
If you’re interviewing through an agency, your recruiter will already vet your technical skills. The agency handles the hiring and firing. They won’t shop around someone that won’t make them money. These sorts of interviews, after some basic technical questions, are minor psychological studies. “Will they get along well with my team?”
That’s the biggest advantage of contracting.
The hardest parts are done for you. You’re fast-tracked in. All you have to do is get there early, well-nourished, empty bladder, calm, and well-dressed. The recruiter should have already vetted the daily duties of the job, assessed you, and determined you could fix the mess requiring a contractor. That side is easy.
What’s not is when you get a slimy recruiter.
I’ve been lowballed before. I’ve haggled over a dollar per hour a new recruiter wanted to keep, even after I told him I got that in good faith for my work with the agency. I’ve had recruiters send me to jobs I was completely overqualified or underqualified to do. Recruiters have high turnover, so don’t invest much in them.
“I’ve had maybe 20 or 30 recruiters…” “Seriously?”
Between an accurate resume, decent interviewing skills, researching the company and interviewers, along with a poker face to negotiate what you’re worth, you can usually get what you want. Or at least find decent common ground. Just remember that every gig should serve you and lead you to a better spot.
Loyalty is only as good as the employer.
If your boss treats you like garbage, your well-tuned resume is your escape rope. Keep working, unless otherwise is necessary, don’t let on, and innocently use up your sick leave. Even if the next gig is just slightly better, don’t give up!
Never let your resume grow dust!