About Char Mesan

From inside the book:

For readers who do not know anything about me, have not read my blog articles or seen my posts and updates in any of the Jobsearch Facebook Groups I regularly participate in, hello, my name is Char Mesan. I live in the outer western suburbs of Sydney, Australia in the Nepean / Blue Mountains region and work as an independent resume writer and jobsearch trainer. I enjoy helping people gain suitable, meaningful work – whether that help is my creating resumes from scratch, assessing existing ones to see what can be righted to improve results, or else providing personalised jobsearch or computer advice and coaching.

I have a number of formal qualifications in employment, business, administration, customer service and computers (Certificate III to Diploma’s - seven in total, plus eligibility to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning for two more certificates), which when combined with my professional history in word processing, communication, administration, writing, self employment and various job roles within the Employment Service industry (including jobsearch trainer, employment consultant case manager, marketer, post placement support and office coordinator) enables me to successfully write and assess resumes and cover letters for a living. And provide you with quality, specific, effective professional resume and jobsearch advice.

To be honest, I don’t know how many resumes I have worked on over the past ten years, but it must be in the high hundreds – maybe even low thousands by now. Unfortunately I never counted them. Whatever the actual number though, clients have consistently provided feedback that they like and are ‘delighted’ with the resume I wrote or repaired, and always express gratitude ‘for the invaluable advice’ I’ve given them.

Of the clients I’ve assisted that genuinely wanted to work and to find it quickly (those not being fussy or at all choosy about roles and offers, for whatever reason), they generally gained work within three months from me handing the completed resume over to them. (Though, I am no longer surprised by how picky and choosy some clients are, even those who are supposedly ‘desperate’ for a position, compared to what I used to be when I first started out in this line of work).

It is my eighteen months plus experience as the dreaded Hiring Manager, culling bulk numbers of applications down to a small shortlist, which should be of greatest interest and will benefit readers the most. Because I’ve worked from both the application making and the hiring decision sides.

You see, in one of my former employment services roles, the agency I worked for had a dedicated fax-printer machine set up to receive applications from the multiple different job vacancies we were concurrently filling. That fax printer machine was arguably the busiest and most over-worked team member in our entire office, as we went through about two reams of paper per weekday just receiving resumes and cover letters. One after the other, with barely a break in between.

Our Sales team members were the staff that met with employers to obtain job vacancies from across all industries, and if our agency didn’t have a suitable unemployed person on our rather sizeable case load, then the Sales team put up a job advertisement on a free online job board so our agency could still try to fill the vacancy with an unemployed persons perhaps assigned to one of our competitors’ caseloads. We might be able to talk such jobseekers into transferring to our agency (or we couldn’t place them in the role otherwise), and if they were happy to do so (not all were), the whole situation became a winning one: for the employer, the jobseeker and our agency.

My role in all this was to perform the initial cull of the large piles of resumes for each of the vacancies and get that pile down from the hundreds received to just three (or less) suitable candidates; and then pass only whichever resumes were deemed worthy of further review to the Site Manager. At any given time, our agency usually had about fifteen vacancies externally advertised all going at once. So I not only had to work out which job each candidate was applying for, I also had to review the resume and any cover letters or fax cover sheets to then decide which applications would progress to further consideration by the management team, or not.

Once I had rejected the majority of applications, the agency site manager, and oftentimes the sales rep team members, then reviewed and further considered whichever resumes I had passed on – if I had indeed passed any on. (Sometimes, through necessity, I rejected every application received, to the praise and thanks of the others!) We valued only introducing the Best of the Best applicants to our employers - so those employers would use our agency again next time they needed staff. If an application didn’t show the person as being high quality and if they didn’t fit the brief, I rejected the application immediately and without any hesitations. If I didn’t do it, the management team would have rejected it anyway.

Once I had handed over the best candidate’s applications (if there were any decent ones), the manager and sales team then made the subsequent hiring decisions during our daily Sales team meetings, such as deciding whether to call that person in for an interview, or dismiss their application for additional reasons. Usually, the jobseekers that passed those more scrutinising reviews were then handed to the sales team member managing the vacancy to run the remainder of the hiring process. The Sales Rep then invited the person to attend our office for a preliminary interview with them, and if the person passed that preliminary interview, the Rep then arranged for the applicant to meet with their employer and perhaps coached them on how to answer questions during the employer interview.

If the person was from another agency, they were advised about the employment opportunity being exclusive to clients assigned to our agency, and generally transfer paperwork was only completed after the employer wanted to offer them the role.

Before the Sales Reps took suitable candidates out to meet with the employer at an agreed date and time, the Sales Reps often handed the applicants resume back to me with request I improve the content and presentation, and so that our agency had an electronic version.

In short, I might not have decided who was ultimately offered the job, but as all applications were initially assessed by me, I directly decided which candidates were (and weren’t) interviewed, making me the person jobseekers had to impress and convince first and foremost; as well as being the person that improved the content, wording and presentation of resumes, to minimise employers rejecting those candidates who were presented to them.

Although I’m no longer in that job, I’ve continued to apply the skills, knowledge and experiences gained from this role in each position I’ve held since. And I know I have directly contributed to many jobseekers gaining jobs because of my unique skill set.

When I first started in that role I imagined, like you might, that the culling task would be rather difficult because of the high responsibility in regards to deciding people’s futures. But it turned out to be one of the easiest parts of the role instead – because jobseekers made it so easy for me to reject their application! Hardly any application ever stood out to impress me. And if I wasn’t impressed (and I’m a fairly easy-going person), neither would my manager, the sales team members, or the employer be.

By the time I reached one month in the role, I had developed the skill to be able to take one glance at the application and know if the person would be suitable or not. The words didn’t even have time to come into focus, I already knew.

Now, I am right handed, and a fairly neat worker. The culling task was only one of my many responsibilities within that role. I was usually so busy with everything else (especially the Accounts and getting invoices paid on time, and managing the cash we held on site with which to purchase employment related products and services for qualifying jobseekers who couldn’t afford to buy the product or service their own self), that I often did the sorting and culling of resumes in batches. I often left the task for Friday’s if I could, because that was my quietest day and the team generally tried to make Thursday the advertisement’s closing date, so that everything was finalised and ready the following Monday for their to proceed to the next stage.

As an organised person, who frequently had to switch tasks mid-task to complete something more urgent, I’m naturally inclined to keep everything I still need to do in neat piles off to my right (where it is easier for me to retrieve when needed) and to file everything that is not important or is to be stored away or binned off to my left (so it is out of the way until I could do so).

Because of this, when I reviewed resumes most candidates ended up in a pile off to my left – my rejection pile – and the handful that I wanted to take a closer, second look at or immediately thought the manager and sales team would be most interested in, I automatically put onto a pile created off to my right (which also happened to be the most convenient spot in that role for staff to come and pick things up from my desk when I was busy on the phone (which I almost always was)). 
Actually, it was my doing that – placing ‘right’ resumes in the right pile – that helped me title this book.

I want you to write a resume that is right in the view of the hiring manager so that it is placed in the right hand pile (the ‘still in contention’ one, whether the particular hiring manager creates their piles to the left, right, middle or anywhere else). And, if you have a resume that has been failing you, then you can right (as in, correct) it, so you change your results around towards increased success and less rejection.

My goal in writing this book was to mostly help mainstream jobseekers who struggle with what to write; that is, school leavers looking to gain their first job, long term unemployed who may or may not have barriers to overcome, parents returning to the paid workforce after a number of years being at home caring for the kids, or for a person with a disability, health condition or injury needing an employer to overlook their disability-barrier.

Because these are the jobseekers who I know need my assistance most. But, I aim to keep the advice as relevant and appropriate to all jobseekers, industries and position levels as I can make it so as not to exclude anyone that needs resume writing help.

So that is a little bit about me, and why I feel I have the right skills, knowledge, experience - and even expertise - to help you with getting your resume right.

Now, let’s start on fixing or creating your resume content so you stand out to make a good impression!

Char Mesan, author of Right Your Resume