We’ve all received bad career advice at some point. Mine came from an aunt who said: “You should be a chemical engineer. You’d be good at it.” Two years of advanced math and 627 headaches later, I decided she was wrong.
Here’s some bad career advice on resume writing that my clients have received from friends and co-workers. My suggested solutions follow. And feel free to share your own tidbits! You can email them to me at kevin at gresumes dot com.
Bad Resume Advice #1 — Don’t sell yourself too hard in your resume.
Nonsense. You should claim the highest levels of skill and achievement possible in your resume. This is not being pushy or aggressive. This is being competitive. You’re not the only one who wants that job, after all.
Corollary: Selling yourself strongly is not to be confused with making “factually inaccurate statements,” i.e., lies. Stick to the truth. It’s easier to remember.
Bad Resume Advice #2 — People don’t have time to read a two-page résumé.
“By saying less you are saying more,” is what one colleague told a client of mine. Rubbish.
People don’t have time to read a BORING resume or one that’s ILL-SUITED to the job opening. But 95 years of advertising research and five years of my own resume writing experience tell me that long, interesting copy always outsells short copy.
You can say a lot in two pages, which is the maximum length I recommend. Try to shoot for a mix of 30-40% duties and 60-70% achievements when describing your experience at each job.
Bad Resume Advice #3 — Include your salary and reasons for leaving each job.
Never include your salary, and include reasons for leaving in rare cases only.
For example, a recent client of mine was prevented from working in his industry by a non-compete agreement. Here’s how I explained his transition from the seafood business back into computers: “Sold firm at twice original revenue and re-entered high-tech sector upon expiration of three-year non-compete agreement.”
You can use similar language to explain why you left a job or left your industry.
Remember what Satan, as played by Al Pacino, once said: “The worst vice is advice.” While that’s not always true, be sure to consider the source the next time you get a hot tip on resume writing from someone who doesn’t do it full-time ….
Best of luck to you!
Resume Roulette or a Sure Bet?
Did you know there are certain unwritten rules that if you adhere to will increase your chance of getting the attention you deserve?
Your Resume must Give Your Readers What They Want
A recent poll I conducted among fellow recruiters revealed most spend less than 15 seconds on the first page of your resume. Most, in fact, never get past the email note or cover letter, let alone your carefully worded “Objective” at the top of page one of your resume. Frankly, human resource managers are no better.
No one has time to waste waiting for a Job Seeker to get to the point… so the first rule of resume writing is to construct your resume so the Reader gets the information they need fast. A little advance planning is called for.
Keep Your Resume Relevant.
Presumably the reader has a job you’re interested in, so show how your experience fits their requirements on the first page of your resume. Don’t assume people can or will “read between the lines” on your resume – they don’t have time. It’s not their job and they don’t care about you – yet.
Target your Reader’s Hot Buttons with Your Resume.
You need to understand who your “reader” is because – different people read a resume looking for different things.
- Recruiters look for “hot” marketable skills because they want to make money marketing you. Your resume is your introduction to the recruiter. If your skill set is not in high demand, they won’t call unless you are an exact fit for a job order they have.
- HR folks look for an exact skill fit with a job first, then your stability, then your personality type -an you have to fit it all on your resume:-)
- Hiring managers look for skill sets first, then how flexible you are and finally your ability to learn on the job.
Keep it Crisp
People are visual. They like looking at documents that are clean, neat and well constructed.
Use Resume should have lots of Bullets
Sentences, that is. Short sentences are easier to write and easier to read. They also give the reader a sense of action and energy as they read the resume [that's a good thing].. The reader can get the gist of your experience quickly. You can elaborate at the interview. the resume is used to get their attention and heighten their interest… sort of like lingerie [wink wink] !
A REsume needs to Highlight your Strengths
Whichever strengths (accomplishments) are the most relevant to your reader – they go first on yoiur reusme. DO NO T save the best for last. They’ll never read it. Always lead with your best foot forward.
Use ###, %%%, and $$$ throughout your resume to emphasize your accomplishments. One million dollars is less likely to be noticed than $1,000,000. Numbers and symbols jump off the page of a resume.
Give it “POP”
Power verbs like those below give your resume “pop”, that crisp delivery of “just the facts ma’a’m – just the facts”. They’re high energy and factual, making you appear to be a “driver”! Just rewriting your resume alone with these words will increase your chances of being interviewed by 50%.
Be Concise – It’s a resume not a user’s manual
Your resume should not contain one more word than it needs – to make your point. Ok?
Connect the DOTS for them
Make it easy for the reader to see your fit with their job. Before you write your resume, research newspapers, job boards and Internet ads for positions that are similar to the ones you’ll be seeking and grab the keywords used.
Ensure that the latest “buzzwords” are prevalent on your resume. Common key words and phrases like “JAVA or Audit Trail or channel management or DWDM” should map to the bullets in your resume – if those terms make sense on your resume..
Scientists and senior executives should prepare an appendix of publications and papers as well for the last page of your resume. Technical people need a separate Technical Summary page like this for easy identification of your skills.
Kevin’s done a lot right so far and he’s had a job now for quite some time.I’ve just lacked the time to blog about it.So let me tell you how he did his web site and what he did to get on the radar of recruiters and hiring managers once it was done.
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