I have started my round of job applications. Working on the theory that – if my resume isn’t working it needs to be updated – I am currently doing online tutorials on how to write a resume. I have taken out anything that might date me, have cut out all the weasel words, and instead of a list of qualities I have supplied a Recent Achievements section.
I have applied for several jobs where I ticked all the boxes and still never managed to swing an interview. I found out why recently, when I emailed on the advertisers and asked them (very politely) why I hadn’t made the shortlist. This person was very kind and open about the situation. What happens is that the firm will plan to interview a number of candidates. If they get 200 or more applications, it is a waste of time reading every application. Instead, they will just read through the pile until they reach the number of people they want for a shortlist … and stop there. So, a lot of the time, you have spent hours writing an application that won’t even be read!
This sort of epiphany can disheartening, if you let it. Instead, it means having cover letter and resume that will tick all the boxes if it does get read. There can’t be a single thing wrong that might take the shine off the application. And hence, the resume is getting another polish.
This is a strategy that works with your writing as well. When you hear of an author that submitted to thirty publishers before they were accepted, don’t assume that it was the same manuscript sent out every time. If it is me – and I strong suspect this of every writer – that text gets another going over every time it come back. I will polish it and polish it. None of my stories are ever ‘finished’ in my eyes. I’ve just had to draw a line in the sand and send my baby off to test its wings (how is that for a mixed metaphor!). Joking aside, you will find new things to change every time: Spelling and grammar mistakes that you were POSITIVE you’d fixed. A tangled sentence that needs to be unknotted. Maybe add a little more detail to the setting.
Perfection is subjective. You can only keep trying.