If you're being shucked off the payroll by Reaganomics--or anything else--perhaps you should contemplate the difference between a brochure and a resume'. Both are a means of selling yourself, but the brochure has definite advantages over the resume.
* A brochure is more interesting to look at.
* Its information can be skewed more easily to your advantage.
* It allows you to brag selectively about yourself in the third person, as if someone else wrote it for you . . . at great offense to your modesty.
There are no hard and fast rules in devising your brochure. We are talking the elusive art of advertising, marketing and packaging, about which one businessman has said, "I'm convinced half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I can never tell which half."
A brochure is not a balanced, objective vocational history. It is a sales document pure and simple, like the one that sold you on your new Chevrolet.
It is true that a resume' also is a sales document, but there are certain conventions to be followed that you dare not ignore. For instance, you must list your jobs sequentially; you must not leave out great chunks of time; you must give some notion of salary or rank and say something about the identity of your bosses.
My brochure makes me look 10 times better than any resume' I could devise, even though I followed the No. 1 Cardinal Rule: NEVER LIE. Every syllable is documented.
By folding a letter-sized sheet of paper into thirds and using both sides of the paper, the result is six panels of information, each of which can be used for a different purpose.
The face panel is the "grabber:" Mine "grabs" with a whimsical quotation from Winston Churchill about the word "consulting," plus a cartoon of a dumb-looking guy (some of my friends thought it was a self-portrait) floating backwards over a waterfall in a canoe. Like this:
The quote says something about my personality, while the cartoon makes the brochure visible from 15 feet, read upside down, lying in a briefcase.
One of my complimentary quotes is from a picture Donald Rumsfeld inscribed for me when he was director of OEO, but I identify him with the titles he held five years later, those of White House chief of staff and SecDef (as the Pentagon colonels call that job). This juxtaposition of time garners me the more prestigious titles, although purists might complain that he wasn't in those jobs when he said what he did about me.
Another quote is from a letter to Sargent Shriver from a national organization, giving me a "twofer." Shriver is well-known and his name lends a bipartisan note to my cause, evev though he wouldn't know me if we met on the street. But I didn't say he liked--or knew--me; I just said he received a letter which said I gave a good speech.
The 10 "bullets"--the big, black dots, like bullet holes, that precede short, summary sentences--on my next panel tell how I rose from GS-7 to GS-18 in less than a dozen years with no Whitten double promotions. You cannot tell from my presentation, as you could from my resume', that I bounced around the "supergrades" (16, 17, and 18) like a yo-yo for 15 years, and left the government in 1979 as a 15: a grade I first held at age 30. Your career also may have been checkered, in which case you can benefit from the selectivity allowed by a brochure.
In 1974, my boss on paper was then-presidential counselor Anne Armstrong, whom I talked to maybe four times a year (the last when she fired me), but I talked maybe four times a day with her staff assistant who handled the subject matter I was responsible for. Without fear of perjury, either could be listed as my supervisor for that job. I doubt if Frank Carlucci and Dick Cheney, then of OEO, even remember me after 10 years, but my brochure merely says the truth: At one time, they were my bosses.
"Why," you ask, "do you strain so hard to use these names?" Because I'm selling a certain level of relative ability. I have not flown at the altitude of Cheney and Carlucci, but I was around them a lot and I devised memos and flip charts for them. That ability is the product I'm selling.
Put a picture of yourself in your brochure, even though some "experts" (there are none) say photos are gauche. Get two or three friends and some cheap wine to brainstorm what you want to say in the 250 words below your photo. What is the image of yourself you want to convey? A loyal workaholic? A detail person, or a visionary? Write 10 versions of this commercial; it's important.
Make your brochure a fetching, semi-frivolous thing, even, and back it up with a serious scholarly resume'. For they are not mutually exclusive; you will need both. The brochure, which is one kind of bait, may get you the first phone call, and if the romance turns serious, you may be asked for a resume'--either your home-made variety, or, more likely, on a form provided by your prospective employer.
But start now. It'll take you a couple months to produce a first-class brochure, and you don't know how long it may be before lightning strikes. And don't agonize over the approach or the text to the detriment of deliberate speed. At $200 for 200 brochures, they're not all that expensive. While you're getting rid of them, you may change your goals or tuck another accomplishment under your belt. You can just change the next batch.
I figure if one brochure gets me one job, I'm ahead of the game. Should you want a copy of my brochure for inspiration, write me and I'll send you one of the 200 I have lying in the corner because of a typo I didn't catch before printing.
Which brings me to Cardinal Rule No. 2: PROOFREAD THE DAMN THING BEFORE IT GOES TO THE PRINTERS!