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Great Resume Writing: Career Advice From Arsene Wenger, Beyonce, Bill Gates And Other Stars

This past week, two unrelated landmark events in the entertainment industry – professional sports and music – stuck with me. Keeping with our tradition of learning from the careers of world beaters on how to build meaningful and fulfilling careers, today I seek inspiration from these historical happenings. Can Arsene Wenger’s announcement that he is leaving Arsenal performance teach us about the art of great resume writing? Can Beyonce’s Coachella performance show us how to write professional resumes that make us stand out from the pack? How does embracing humble beginnings as demonstrated by the starts of Bill Gates, Angelina Jolie and Usher builds your CV?

cartoon of a caricature at a desk with a large orb shaped into a face made from bultac that satires the modern concept of work experience identified here as key to great resume writing

Kenyan doctors in their numerous strikes for better working conditions have a not so family friendly corruption of the word internship that serves to expresses their disdain to some of their experiences during the penultimate and mandatory stage of training before licensing. Twitter is laden by gory stories from all over the world of demeaning experiences of work internship. Tough situations that young professionals endure in order to gain some work experience. All in a quest of giving their resumes some ‘meat’ and end up with a professional feel to it. Great resume writing is the art of turning the ugly or scanty experience into beautiful map of a career headed to the top. Image | Modern Toss

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hether you are just starting out or deep into your career engineering your next move, work experience remains a differentiator. Picture the situation when Arsene Wenger arrived in Arsenal at the start of a reign that would last almost 22 years. Football pundits, fans and observers were in unison in skeptically asking : “Arsene Who?”

Tips On Great Resume Writing : Get Started On Your Career Wherever, However Lowly

They were right. Here was a mid forties football nobody with the looks of a school teacher. He boasted of only a playing career as an amateur. His experience as a football manager was with mediocre teams, sometimes in nondescript leagues. You can imagine the blandness of Arsene Wenger’s resume then. With his last posting in Japan, a football backwater then, it is safe to say that not even great resume writing would have landed then man the job.

But something else, a principle that lies at the foundation of great resume writing, did put him on the path that led him into football’s hall of fame. Arsene Wenger had been testing out his ideas from the age of 33 where he first stated out working as the assistant manger for league 2 outfit Cannes. By the time he was taking over at Arsenal in 1996, he had a decade and a half of obsessing over his methods and refining his philosophy.

A Chance To Fail And Tell The World About It

By agreeing at certain points in his career to be the big fish in a little pond, Arsene got the chance to fail. In a nutshell, that hallowed requirement – work experience – is nothing but an euphemism for having had the chance to fail. Failure tests our knowledge, shapes our attitudes equipping us with the tools to solve the problems of today.

Taking up fringe roles in entry level jobs in their field of choice not only gives an applicant fodder for their CV, but also gifts one with an ant’s eye view necessary to plan future career moves. The role of running reserve and youth teams at lowly RC Strasbourg made Arsene conscientious of the importance of studying English. It can also be argued to have been the seminal moment  that laid the ground for his future as an acclaimed launcher of the careers of many young players.

Beyonce’s Little, Big Teasers Method As A Template For A Killer Professional Resume

We love Beyonce. For us millennials, it is partly because we have grown together – kind of like how it is with a favorite cousin. For generation X and Y, it probably is because of her iconic role in clarifying matters that are dear to the 21st century. Particularly by being brave on gender, racial relations and sexuality. Most importantly for us all, we love her  because she gets into the nub of all that heavy stuff but still puts out a great show while at it. And it never ends. There is always a tomorrow which we anticipate. Because we have come to trust that Queen B will put out an even better show.

The lesson here from Beyonce’s dizzying career is one of bettering your own successes. This philosophy of central to the art of great resume writing. It is about putting out your best when handed a platform and then topping it as doors fly open. Combining this philosophy with what we have learned from Arsene we end up with a potent mix. When we embracing the stage, however small the platform, we can amplify our value to the market.

A Good Professional Resume Demonstrates Progress

That way, we find a situation where we are constantly make the best of what we have. Isn’t it that what life is about anyway? Make use of every stage that is within hand to showcase your abilities. From social media to helping out at your local church or even neighborhood association. As this review of Beyonce’s Coachella performance on leading music magazine Pitchfork describes,

On Saturday night, Beyoncé executed one of the most precise, demanding, and altogether staggering performances by any musician on a national stage in recent memory. Her headlining set—a first for a black woman at Coachella, as she pointed out from the stage—served to clarify the intent and impact of a superstar who is only growing more subversive as time goes on.

Increasingly, Beyoncé has used her art—that is, everything: the albums themselves, but also her videos, her tours, Instagram, and so on—to examine power imbalances and to show how people blanch when those imbalances are brought up to the surface for examination. Think about the “Formation” video, in which a black child dances in front of a line of cops wearing riot gear, or her Super Bowl halftime show, where she paid homage to the Black Panthers, or her Lemonade longform visual, in which she reimagined images of American wealth and power with black women at the forefront.

In a way, all of it was a prelude to Saturday’s set, which felt like her most definitive statement yet, the kind of show that requires a deep and widely-known catalog, ideological ambition, and a thorough knowledge of history (musical and otherwise).

Humble Beginnings and the Art of Great Resume Writing – The Bill Gates, Angelina And Usher

So far, Arsene Wenger has taught us the importance of purposefully identifying a stage. About being decisive and adventurous about where you will launch your career irrespective of the size of the role. Beyonce’s career has highlighted the value of amplifying our skill-set and abilities. How you build a bigger stage for yourself by crafting a coherent message. And speaking of something beyond yourself that your career seeks to accomplish. Having the courage to better your best. What the careers of both these legends silently teachers us is that it takes time.

Arsene Wenger was forty-six when his big career break came. Meaning, he might have been considered by family and friends as a failure for most of his life. Beyonce is thirty-six. She has been keeping at it since her teenage days of Destiny’s Child . It took her more than two decades of auditions to earn the chance of delivering a critically acclaimed performance. One described as for the ages.

The lesson here is great resume writing starts with a vision of the end. Whenever one writes or updates a resume, they deliver a bit of this vision. It has little to do with editing, resume templates or hiring of the best professional CV writing companies. It requires a mindset whose final pillar is found in the stories of Bill Gates, Angelina Jolie and Usher.

building a great professional resume starts from humble beginings like those of Angelina Jolie, Usher and Bill Gates

A great looking resume takes years to build. Be patient and mindful of your beginnings however humble. Humility infuses that authentic feel into your story. Authenticity is a necessary ingredient for every charming story of great success. Images | Courtesy. Compilation by MMI-MMC

Example: How I Employed The Art of Great Resume writing: Picking A Stage, Demonstrating Continuous Self Improvement and Embracing Humble Beginnings 

Consider this situation that I found myself in fresh out of nursing school. I was interested in an advertised position of an Accident and Emergency (A&E) nurse in a leading private healthcare provider in Kenya. Granted, my professional experience was as scanty the next freshly minted Bsc in Nursing graduate starting out. I was rightly stumped on how to go about it

How do I write a professional resume with my limited experience?

What of my limited experience do I include in the resume ?

I took a chance that latter turned out to that which clinched the job that launched my nursing career. To date, it is something that I always urge younger colleagues starting out to include in their resumes. I chose a resume template from the many available for free on the internet picking one that highlights career experiences.

I highlighted unique experiences in each module that I had encountered while training. Up top, occupying the most prominent position was the most relevant experience. During the interview, it was apparent that what was my first professional resume got me the job. This was the incident that it highlighted:

It was a case during my Emergency room rotation in Nursing school. It involved a mass accident. A public transport bus traveling from one Kenyan town to the other had collided head on with a truck. The accident had resulted in approximately 70 casualties. We lost some. Others arrived in A&E in critical condition requiring I CU care. Some needed to be taken to theater immediately. Thankfully, most of the passengers were stable.

With a broad brush, my resume detailed how each class of casualties was handled. From triaging to highlighting medical procedures that we performed.


The secret is as a job seeker, you should never present as having no work experience. Great resume writing is about laying down a map of ground covered. It is about demonstrating markers laid down for a calling you have answered to as your life’s work. It therefore beats your goals if you have nothing to show for your desire to pursue this great calling. Otherwise, the product (your resume) will reek of wage seeking. Feel free to include what you might consider as not being real work experience such as internship, practicum experiences and even drills that you participated in as part of your working experience. This is especially true for technical professions such as nursing where training involves varied experiences.Save

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