Tag: resume advice
The most precious piece of real estate in your entire resume is the top of the first page. At the cursory glance, this is the area that is going to get the most attention. And there are some things you can do to make the most of that – or get your resume tossed in the “not interested” pile.
Here is a quick checklist of things NOT to do when crafting the opening statement of your resume:
Don’t generalize. Focus, not generalization is critical. For example, say the VP of Sales for a Fortune 500 company gets ahold of your resume. He or she reads your opening statement which begins with, “Sales executive with 15 years of experience building teams and consensus, expanding territories, etc., etc… Ultimately, this tells the reader very little.
Ask yourself what questions the reader might have. I guarantee they are trying to come up with a framework of perspective about you that includes things like:
- Do you have experience with regional, national or global sales?
- How big are the teams you have managed?
- What kind of companies have you called on and what is the dollar figure of the products or services you have represented?
- Do you have any particular selling skills, such as conceptual selling, or academic credentials, like an MBA?
Using a combination of keywords and a brief opening statement, you can paint a picture (quickly) that satisfies (not frustrates) your reader.
Don’t write an opening statement over 6 lines deep. If you have Googled “executive resume writers” and viewed their samples, you might notice professional resumes are becoming more and more visually impactful and much less dense in text. This is because big blocks of text in your resume will seldom get read.
You must say what you wish to say directly, simply and briefly. Focus on the value you bring to the table. In other words, describe what happens when you do what you do as opposed to just providing an outline of your tasks and skills. After all, what does someone who reads your resume want to know? It sounds harsh, but the questions that are really being asked are, “What good are you to me?” and “Why should I be reading this?” Your focus on value demonstrates that you “get” that.
Don’t speak in first person or past tense. New graduate resumes, mid-level resumes and executive resumes all have one thing in common: they are written in implied first person. Don’t say, “I offer 5 years of social media marketing experience,” but, “Offering 5 years of social media marketing experience.”
BONUS TIP: Enhance your opening statement with keywords either above or below it. This is an easy way to help your reader understand your value. For example, a construction executive resume might say:
Commercial Construction | Healthcare & Academia | Teams to 400 | P&L to 500 Million
Many of my clients have been previously fired or laid off. Over 50,000 people are let go from their jobs each day in the U.S, so there is a very good chance most professionals will experience this unfortunate event at least once in their careers.
This does not have to be a point of contention with potential employers during your job search though, and it does not have to detract from the accomplishments of your career or your strengths. Here are a few points to consider:
- Don’t mention being fired or laid off in your resume. There is absolutely no benefit that I can think of that would justify mentioning a lay off or firing on a resume. Period.
- Identify exactly why you were laid off or fired prior to your interview. Develop a SHORT, clear script of what happened and why. Be sure not to go on and on – that can open a can of worms and create more questions than answers.
Many clients I work with, including c-level executives, have not received their college degree for one reason or another. Most job postings will state this as a requirement, which is daunting for individuals who have accomplished much in their career but do not have a college education or an advanced degree.
Fortunately in most of these cases, these individuals went on to continue to be amazing producers of results in their careers and were recruited into exceptional positions with fantastic companies despite their lack of degree.
How did they do it? My friend and mentor, the late Mark Hovind, President of JobBait, used to put it this way:
“I turn lead into gold but only have a fifth grade education…
want to hire me?”
If you produce results or, more aptly, if you “turn lead into gold” and make or save a company money, you are worth hiring – Ivy League college degree or not! Your resume and cover letter must speak to the results you bring to the company in quantifiable %% and $$ whenever possible.
Here are some tips: Continue reading
If you type “resume writers” into your search browser, you’ll notice that the first big sites to come up are fondly referred to by reputable writers as “resume mills.”
These are companies with a lot of writers who generally have pretty slick websites and offer cheap resumes. I have often seen resumes offered on these sites for $199 and even “executive level” resumes offered for $299. If you are tempted to go with one of these mills to save a few bucks, here are a few things to think about before you take the plunge:
- Generally in life, you get what you pay for. I not only like that my resume prices are a great value, but that they include a lot of extras and bonuses, because I want my clients doing back flips about my services, and I want to help them in a holistically with their entire job search. I also offer a full money-back guarantee if someone isn’t fully satisfied with the quality of my work (which to date, I am happy to say, I have never had to use). But I can’t and don’t give my services away for next to nothing. And I generally don’t invest in services that do, because there is always a catch. I might not know where or what it is, but I know it’s there – either in lack of quality, lack of experience, lack of service or dependability, etc…
- Before you do anything CALL and talk to a live person. Some companies are involved in fraudulent business practices. Talk to a live person – ask some questions and trust your gut.
- LOOK at their resume samples. Once you do that, go to Career Directors International and search for certified and/or award winning resume writers. Now look at their samples. I have so very rarely seen these samples compare, because when you are a reputable, award-winning and certified resume writer, your charges are in line with the market. A good – a really good resume – is a critical piece of your job search pie. It’s not the place to skimp. It’s your career. Get the best writer you can afford. You are worth it.
- Be realistic. Here is what I have seen as averages for good/great/excellent resume writers: $299 to $450 for a new grad resume; $550 to $800 for an entry-level to mid-level management resume; and $800 to $3000 for a VP to C-level “executive” resume package. If you are making determinations in this range, generally you are in a good spot.
If the rates for a resume service or writer you’re researching seems drastically lower than the figures in #4, my suggestion is to check with the major Career Services Associations, look up some members websites, and conduct your own comparative analysis. In my opinion, Career Directors International is the best place to start, because their certifications are not cheap, the testing is very difficult, and they set their quality bar very high. To keep certifications current and in good standing with CDI, writers must provide a certain number of annual continuing education credits and hours of volunteer work. THAT is the writer you want to hire, because that writer is serious about their craft and getting you the biggest return on your investment possible.