As a fitness instructor, I know how important it is to have muscle on your body – especially if you’re looking for work. If I had it my way, every job seeker would be given a stipend to spend it on doing jumping jacks with yours truly so they can at least look good and feel good in an interview.

Unfortunately, life isn’t like that. You have to get a job so you can see me for muscle building.

The trouble is, even if you have muscles, chances are you have a flabby résumé. Chances are your résumé doesn’t have powerful verbs that will show you off sufficiently to get that interview.

In 1966, I had a Grade 11 English teacher who understood muscular writing. He taught us about past tense, present tense and future tense. Then he introduced a whole new tense. I thought he was kidding. Introducing a new tense to me seemed roughly akin to inventing a new sex. Frankly, I wanted no part of it.

He introduced the topic of gerunds. “If you change a verb to the gerund form, you make it a truism no matter if it’s in the past, present or future. If you change the verb ‘to swim’ to a gerund, you add  ‘ing’ to it.. Swimming is fun. Swimming is fun no matter when you did it, do it, or will do it.” “Gerunds,” he went on to say, “Make flabby writing muscular.”

I developed tensophobia. I became a tensophobe.

I had forgotten about my adventures in English 11 for a few decades. Then I landed a multi-year contract to teach fitness at the West End Community Centre in Vancouver. At the time I also held a position in the Vancouver School  Board  writing flabby résumés for unemployed older workers. No matter what I did to their tomes they couldn’t get the interviews they needed to have a ghost of a chance at getting employed.

This, of course, jeopardized my own position

Ron Schindler signed my cheques at the community centre. I looked him up, and sure enough, it was the same guy of English 11 infamy.

We met for a coffee.

I wondered if that was you, Mike.” He said while doing a few bicep curls. “I remember you from that class. I remember teaching you, but you didn’t learn much, did you. Look at you now – doing jumping jacks for a living.”

I told him what I did for a day job, then I told him about my flabby résumé problem. “Do you think if I changed all the verbs to gerunds it would make the writing stronger?” I asked

He snorted coffee through his nose. “Mike, you’re the first person to ask me anything about English 11 in all these years. Of course it will make the writing stronger. All of your participants will go on to get PhDs if you do it..

Here’s a challenge, I would like everyone to reach into their desks and pull out those dusty old résumés.  Find all the verbs and change them to the gerund form, and see if it makes it stronger. See if something you did at one job in the past is something you can still do even into the future

Make those résumés flex.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.



  1. janieemaus Says:

    I haven’t written a resume in a million years!

  2. Sharon Says:

    Good advice. I’ll check mine one of these days. Right now I’m too busy going nuts with so much to do.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: