What “Scrappers” bring to the workplace


Yesterday I saw a Ted Talk that was eye opening. Regina Hartley, works in HR Management at UPS, and said she prefers to consider the “scrapper” over the “silver spoon” because these people have faced adversity and are more likely to address problems and solve them. She asserts that the scrapper’s secret weapon is passion and purpose.

After watching this Ted Talk, I tallied up the number of jobs I’ve held. I stopped at 80, and this did not include the number of temp jobs I held for staffing agencies  where I went on a lot of assignments over a few years. I would consider myself a “super scrapper.”

In my defense most of these jobs were concurrent, and/or overlapping part-time gigs. Some lasted a few weeks, some a few years. I’ve learned a lot in these occupations which included broadcasting, tourism, retail, publishing, marketing, social media, public speaking, and others. After all, full immersion is the best way to get an education. And each of these jobs taught me more about life and how to quickly adapt. I was also able to bring added knowledge and experience to my employers who needed help with media relations, travel itineraries, or other topics that were outside my job description.

But let’s be honest. I know my own resume is a mess. It’s how I ended up a professional resume writer. To any employer, my background looks scattered, like I can’t make up my mind or play nice. In truth, I get easily bored, and I get annoyed with inefficiency, wasting resources, and mind numbing tasks that don’t fulfill me. And I won’t stick around if I don’t like my manager. People don’t quit their jobs. They quit their managers.

With all these jobs on my own resume, I have become extremely experienced in workplace issues, job searching, resume writing, and interviewing. You become really skilled at something when you do it a lot!  I like seeing how my resumes parse (or don’t) into the applicant tracking systems. I like trying out new techniques that I can pass along to clients, so they can learn from my failures, as well as my successes. Plus, I am still optimistic that there’s a great job that fits me to a ‘T’ that will help me settle down someday. And if that doesn’t happen, then I am I content to be the most experienced job seeker and best resume writer in my industry.

Growing up, resume writing was never on my radar as a preferred occupation. I wanted to work for an airline. I wanted to be on the radio. I wanted to work in television. And publishing. Yeah. I wanted to do a lot of things. And I did. Thanks to a well-written resume that opened a lot of doors. And the motivation to seek out avenues that put me in the right place at the right time.

When my resume started to become too long and convoluted, I realized that my greatest strength was getting a job. I launched a business to use this experience to help others. I honed my resume writing skills further by attending resume writing conferences, subcontracting for other resume writing companies, and testing for certifications. But it didn’t end there. By continuing to apply for jobs, going on interviews, and even picking up part-time positions here and there, I continued to learn about the ever changing world of job searching and workplace policies and rules.

Isn’t that what you want in your next resume writer? Someone who is out there pounding the pavement ahead of you, and getting a firsthand look at the world of hiring from your point of view? The process is always changing and hard to keep up if you’re not out there navigating it on a regular basis. Like you, I understand the frustration of the process.

The value of a professionally written resume is measurable in its results. You might think you’re saving lots of money by writing your own job search documents. Consider this: Just because you can read a book, doesn’t mean you can write one. The same goes for resumes. It took me about 5 years to learn how to do it right. It’s not something you can learn in a one hour workshop. Or by copying out of book.

Being a “super scrapper” has made an immense difference in my personal and professional life. I wear the badge proudly, and it’s nice to know there are HR Managers like Regina Hartley who understand the value we bring to the table. Scrappers work hard to make a difference.