Resume Madness

April 14, 2010

Resumes seem to be on people’s minds a lot lately. It keeps coming up in conversations, not only from clients, but friends and family too.

One of the most common questions is “Is my resume really that important?”. My answer, it depends on the company and how you “got in” with the company, but in general, a strong yes. Regardless of if you are submitting your resume blindly or through a contact, it is a representation of you, your skills and background.

As an example- while Sarah, the Director of Sales, recommended you for the opening in Operations, it’s Sam, the head of Ops, and Pat, HR, who will actually see your resume. They like what Sarah had to say about you, but if you send them a resume that lacks relevant information, has typos, etc., it could hurt your chances of progressing.  You want to come across as professional and capable as possible. Every piece of communication should relay why you are the person they need- from your phone calls, to your emails, to your resume, and on through the interview process.

There are a few things to pay attention to when writing your resume, and we’ve put together a list of the top 10 to help you get through the madness of creating/editing your resume.

It’s free, so go ahead and check it out!

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Be Creative

March 23, 2010

Instead of following tradition formats and patterns, think about ways you can be different, things you can do to stand out when going after a job you really want.  If you are in a creative field, this is almost a given.

Some great approaches I have seen over the years include:

  • A resume on which the list of skills formed a wave pattern on the side of the page. This caught my attention immediately.
  • A carefully crafted portfolio was received a day after the applicant sent their resume.  The portfolio included separate sections that detailed why the applicant fit each set of needs on the job posting.  This was not for a creative position, which made it stand out even more.
  • An invitation to take me out for coffee to talk about the position and their application.  I couldn’t take them up on it, but the offer was so out of the ordinary, I did contact the applicant to discuss their qualifications and background (meaning, they got a call back).

As long as you are professional and know and understand your audience (the company to which you are applying), adding a little creativity can go a long way in attracting the attention of the person reviewing your resume.

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Excellent Attention to etail

June 30, 2009

“Excellent Attention to etail”


That is what I thought when I read this line in the “Top Skills” section of a resume. Then I laughed at the irony of the only typo on the document.

Do I believe this candidate has excellent attention to detail? No. Will I contact this candidate? Probably not (only if other skills seriously outweigh the oversight).

There are 2 reasons for this. One, the simple fact the word was a typo tells me this person does NOT have excellent attention to detail, and I have the proof in black and white. There could not have been a worse place in the resume the candidate could have neglected. Second, the resume was sent as a Word doc. “etail” came up as a typo when I opened it, and had the sender spent a few seconds doing spell-check (or paying attention to the red underlines), it would have been corrected.

Going back to whether or not I would contact this candidate based on the typo, my concern would be that other highlighted skills are as real as the attention to detail claim.

If you are sending out your resume to prospective employers, always, always, always run spell-check. If you are making claims of excellent, be sure that the content in your resume supports those claims.

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Resume & Cover Letter- Important?

April 29, 2009

While networking and referrals are the best way to get a job, resumes and cover letters are still an important part of the process. Too often, applicants put little effort into creating anything of value.  So, candidates, here is a quick overview of what you need to know.

Think about it this way- we all have heard how important first impressions are when meeting someone. Your resume is the first impression a hiring manager or HR person has of you. What does it say about you? What on your resume draws the reader in, making him/her want to read further- or better yet, contact you?

Think about this next time you revise your resume. 

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Gear the resume towards the job description and company. Highlight experiences and successes that directly relate. Yes, it takes more time, but if you want the job, put in the effort!
  • If you only have 1-2 jobs, add in relevant hobbies, memberships, anything that enhances your value.
  • Spell check.
  • You don’t have to include every single job, but make sure to include relevant ones.

And when you’re done with that…there’s a bit more.

There is another part to the resume submission process that is vital and that is your cover letter. It could be a separate Word document, or it could be an email. Whichever way you go, just make sure to include it.

A cover letter gives you another chance to WOW your reader- to show why he/she should call you immediately! Instead of listing your successes, tie them into the position. If you achieved high sales numbers at another company, explain how your process/skills will help you reach the same success at the new company. If your super skills in marketing lead to a 1000% increase in sales leads, let the reader know how what you did once, you can do again- for them. Personalize it to the company.

Some passion is better than no passion.   Find something about the position that excites you and use it in your cover letter. If you have a passion for the product, let it shine through. If you absolutely love project management (and it relates to the position) tell the reader why.

So, put some thought and real effort into your resume and cover letter, throw in a liberal helping of passion, and see where it can take you!

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