Category Archives: Résumé Writing

6 Reasons Why Cover Letters Should be Part of Your Job Search

Look, everyone has the right to voice their opinion. So when recruiters say they don’t read cover letters, it doesn’t offend me. And it doesn’t cause me to trash my cover letter webinar. I certainly don’t advise my clients to refrain from writing them.

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Nothing I can say will change the opinions of cover-letter naysayers. That’s not my intent. My intent is to reinforce the need for job seekers in certain industries to continue writing tailor-made cover letters.

Not every hiring authority is a recruiter

Some recruiters are so hellbent on killing cover letters that it’s almost amusing. “Almost” is the operative word. I find it irritating when recruiter summarily dismiss cover letters basically because they don’t have time to read them. Recruiters are busy people, as I’ve written here.

But here’s the thing: not all job seekers reach out to recruiters, nor do recruiters reach out to all job seekers. Depending on the industry, recruiters are few and far between or nonexistent, such as non-profit, government, academia. As well, recruiters don’t dabble in lower-paid occupations.

To assume all hiring authorities don’t read cover letters is a dangerous assumption to make. Keep in mind that hiring managers read cover letters to get a better sense of a candidate’s abilities and personality. Cover letters provide another dimension to a candidate that resumes might not.

Cover letters demonstrate your ability to write

A major reason why your cover letter needs to be well written is because you’re applying for a position that requires you to write. Take marketing as an example; writing is a huge part of the role. Yes, marketers will most likely have to provide a portfolio in the interview process, but a cover letter is the first point of contact.

Your cover letter needs to accomplish two major goals. First, it needs to demonstrate the purported value you’ll deliver to the employer. The same value you express with your resume, but more directed toward the position at hand. Are you regurgitating your resume? Definitely not.

Your cover letter also must express your passion for the job at hand without being superfluous and wasting the reader’s time. I am immediately turned off when I read a cover letter that is all fluff and contains no substance. This is a common complaint of many recruiters and one reason why they don’t read them.

Your cover letter should be no longer than one page long. Within the one-page cover letter, you need to compellingly explain why you should be interviewed for the position. This is a challenge for some job candidates who tend to be verbose. Part of great writing is brevity.

Cover letters don’t have to be boring

Boring is as boring does. Please do the reader a favor and don’t open, and continue, your cover letter with boring content.

“I was excited to see on LinkedIn the position ABC company is trying to fill a project manager’s position.” How boring is this? It’s extremely boring, and a line I often see in job seekers’ cover letters. The first line of your cover letter must grab the reader’s attention, lest they discontinue reading it.

Something like, “Stop the hiring process! I’m your candidate” doesn’t bode well, either. Or does it? Some hiring authorities might like the broad approach, but not me. I prefer something strong but not obnoxious.

In the opening paragraph describe a challenge the industry is facing and state why you are the solution. In the second and third paragraphs, prove you’re the solution to the problem. The final paragraph should shout why you’re excited about the opportunity.

There you have the format for a un-boring cover letter. Keep in mind that your cover letters will change with each job to which you apply.

Every cover letter should be modified for each job

That’s right, your cover letters should be tailored to each job. Look at it this way; if you’re wooing potential love romances, would you send the same love letter to each one? Of course not. Every person is different and deserves your appreciation.

The same concept applies to cover letters; you want to show each employer the love they deserve. This means that research is essential. Show that you understand the requirements and challenges of the job, and demonstrate how you will excel at the requirements.

To further show the love, briefly explain why you’re interested in working at the company. As mentioned above, don’t write gushing verbiage that would make the reader gag. Like the love interest analogy, you want to show the company that they are special.

You might keep a cover-letter template to modify for ever job. From my experience, I wrote a totally new document every time I applied for a position.

You can be more personal with your cover letter

One thing I stress in my resume writing webinars, as well as with my clients, is that their resumes should be devoid of fluff. I’m not saying cover letters should contain fluff, but the words “love,” “enjoy,” even “outstanding,” “superior,” etc., have their place to express enthusiasm and performance.

But wait, Bob, you said earlier to avoid fluff. Yes I did, but I’m talking about a sentence, maybe two, where you’re giving the reader a sense of your personality. What I meant by fluff is a cover letter is bullshit from the beginning to the end of your cover letter. This is a major turnoff for any reader.

The job ad says, “The candidate for this job must be dynamic and a real team player.” I abhor seeing these words on a resume, but in a cover letter is a different matter. Such as, “I’ve been told by my manager that I’m a dynamic copywriter and that I contribute a great deal to the marketing team.” Their words, not yours.

Check all the boxes

This reason for writing a cover letter is listed last because it isn’t the strongest one. However, it is worth noting that some employers might make a hiring decision based on who includes a cover letter with their application.

The general rule is that if a cover letter is required for the position, definitely include one that meets the tips above. If a cover letter is not asked for, check the box and include one in your packet. Lastly, if the job ad clearly states to not send a cover letter, don’t send one.


My opinion of cover letters isn’t a popular one among the recruiters I know, but I’d like you to keep what I said earlier in mind; not all hiring authorities are recruiters. And…some recruiters appreciate cover letter, albeit a small amount.

Which of Four Resume Formats is the Best?

One fact is clear about the functional resume; most hiring authorities and resume writers don’t favor it. According to a poll on LinkedIn, it’s one of the least preferred out of four resume formats. The preferred resume format is…you guessed it…the chronological resume.

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This article is not only about the functional and chronological resumes. It’s also about two other resume formats: the combination and hybrid-chronological. If you’re not familiar with any of these formats, I’ll explain all of them. Let’s start with the functional resume.

Functional resume

The Areas of Expertise section is the meat of a functional resume. It follows the contact information, Summary and, perhaps, Skills area. This section highlights expertise that is transferable, making a transition to another career doable.

Each of these areas of expertise should be supported with three or four bulleted statements, ideally accomplishment statements. The reader should see, by reading your statements, how they relate to the job for which you’re applying.

For example, if someone is changing from marketing to career development, the following areas of expertise are plausible: Written and Oral Communications, Customer Service, Outreach, and Counseling. Here’s an example of one of the four areas of expertise.

Written and Oral Communications

  • Wrote more than 30 articles—within two years—that were placed in industry-related magazines, often earning the praise of CEO during company meetings.
  • Spoke via phone and in person with customers, VARS, OEMs, and distributors in writing the first “Customer Success Stories” in the company’s history.
  • Wrote the content for the company’s first newsletter and coordinated with webmaster to disseminate it electronically. Received favorable reception for newsletter.
  • Reached out to CEOs and presidents of partner companies to coordinate onsite visits between company’s president.

Following the Areas of Expertise section is a de-emphasized Employment section that consists of company names, their locations, and years of tenure at the companies. Or if you prefer to place the Education section above this Employment History, that’s acceptable, particularly if you’re a college grad.

The fault in the stars

As one of the people who participated in the poll stated, the functional resume comes across as suspicious. Hiring authorities often wonder what the candidate is trying to hide.

In the example above, when and where did the candidate write more than 30 articles? When and where did the candidate reach out to executive-level employees to arrange onsite visits?

Do you think I would gloss over the need for well-developed accomplishment statements? I would be remiss in doing that. Ideally every line on your resume would show value. By providing quantified results with #s, $s, and %s, you’ll impress the reader and be invited in for an interview.

The hybrid-chronological resume

This resume format is slightly behind in the poll of the functional resume. Perhaps it’s because it’s misunderstood; one person who responded to the poll asked what this format is. I understand the confusion but feel that it helps readers to understand the nature of one’s position.

The hybrid-chronological format integrates the functional and chronological for each position. Not everyone can pull it off, but when they do, it works well. I like the diversity of highlighting the areas of expertise while also sticking to a reverse-chronological work history.

If we take the example of the Written and Oral Communications area of expertise, the reader can clearly connect the dots rather than having to find examples of this area of expertise. Written and Oral Communications can be written in bold print as a sub header.

The fault in the stars

One drawback of the hybrid-chronological resume is, again, the reader wondering when, not where, the job candidate achieved a particular accomplishment. For example, most of the accomplishments for written communication might have occurred earlier on in the candidate’s 10-year tenure with the company.

The combination resume

The wonder of writing a combination resume is that you highlight the Areas of Expertise section, as explained above (Written and Oral Communications, Customer Service, Outreach, and Career Development) and follow it with the chronological piece.

If you want to tell a compelling story, this is a resume format that will achieve that. It’s important that the areas of expertise in the functional area are placed in order of priority.

Let’s say you feel that Customer Service is the number one priority, followed by Outreach and then Career Development and finally Written and Oral communications. This is how you will arrange your areas of expertise. Further, you’ll arrange the bulleted statements in order of priority.

The fault in the stars

This can be a longer resume than the other resume formats, so it’s important that the chronological area be presented on the first page. If you’re going to include a Summary, as well as Outstanding Achievements and Skills sections; you’ll be hard pressed to fit the functional and chronological pieces on the first page.

The chronological resume

The almighty chronological resume is one that lacks creativity, in my opinion; but it’s the preferred format by a country mile. Many hiring authorities espouse this format because it’s easier to read. However, as I’ve written above, finding the key points you’re trying to make can be difficult unless you prioritize statements.

Do you think I would gloss over the need for well-developed accomplishment statements? I would be remiss in doing that. Ideally every line on your resume would show value. By providing quantified results with #s, $s, and %s, you’ll impress the reader and be invited in for an interview.

See the differences between the following duty and it’s accomplishment statement:

  • Brought the social media campaign in house.

Now the accomplishment statement that provides the quantified result followed by the action statement.

  • Saved the company $125,000 by bringing the social media campaign in house, while managing a team of 5 on a limited budget.

The Summary of Achievements before it attracts the reader’s attention, enticing them to read further:

  • Generates new client business by at least 25% annually
  • Saves companies $100,000s of dollars
  • Meets Key Performance Indicators (KPI) on a consistent basis
  • Leads teams to earn top recognition

The fault in the stars

The chronological resume can make it difficult to find the key points the candidate is trying to convey if they’re buried in a sea of duties. It’s important to separate the duties from the accomplishments.

This can be a simple fix by starting with the outstanding duties and inserting a sub header titled Accomplishments. Where will the readers’ eyes go? You guessed it; to the accomplishments.

Is all lost for the functional resume?

The functional resume isn’t currently in dead last. This means some hiring authorities and resume writers appreciate this format for its diversity. I have a soft heart for the functional resume, as I landed two jobs using it. Does the fact that I landed the jobs 20 years ago factor into it? Maybe, probably, who knows?

I fancy the hybrid-chronological resume, personally. But the fact that it sits dead last in the poll should tell me something. All I know is that the chronological resume (46%) isn’t for everyone.

Enough with the Excuses, Promote Your Greatness with Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

Four areas on your resume and six on your profile.

Talking with a client the other day, we had a conversation about the difference between bragging and promoting one’s greatness. Now, I’m the last person who would outright brag. Promote my greatness in a factual way? Sure. But brag, that isn’t me.

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And by no means was I suggesting that my client brag. I pointed out that her resume and LinkedIn profile lacked the oomph that would impress employers and separate her from every other job candidate.

Here’s the thing about your resume and LinkedIn profile: you are given permission to promote your greatness…in a factual way. You are not encouraged to brag; there’s a difference. So, let’s break this down in simple terms.

Your resume

There are four areas where you are encouraged to write about your greatness. They are your Summary, Skills and Experience sections, and even Education.

Summary

In the Summary it’s imperative that you convey the greatness you will deliver to the employer. Make it brief. No hiring authority wants to read a 10-line paragraph. You might decide to go with bullet points to separate the major areas of value. Here’s an example:

  • Workers Compensation Director with expertise ranging from examining claims to developing and marketing managed-care products and services
  • Establish relationships with partners in the Northeast region, exceeding managements’ expectations
  • Design products and provide services that Saves millions of dollars for client companies

Avoid using cliches like “results oriented,” “ingenious,” “outstanding,” to name a few. You get the picture. They do nothing to promote your value.

Skills

The Skills section is where you list the skills that are pertinent to the position at hand. Don’t be shy. Highlight at least nine skills mentioned in the job ad in order of priority. Reading the job ad you notice the following skills required for a marketing manager:

Strategic Sales

Branding

Media Relations

Promotions

Client Relations

Strategic Partnership

Market Planning

Event Coordination

Project Management

Your greatness is proven by knowing which skills to include in this section. If you list skills that aren’t relevant, you’re missing the mark. You will further backup your skills in the Experience section.

Experience

The Experience section is king when it comes to your resume. It’s where you must demonstrate your greatness. Again, avoid lofty platitudes that carry no weight. If you want to come across as a great sales person, prove it.

  • Increased company revenue 65%—in a turbulent economyby following up on sales made 2 years prior. Earned “Employee of the Year” for 2020

Prove you’re an outstanding IT specialist who can increase productivity and were acknowledged for your efforts.

  • Increased productivity of Sales Team 50% by initiating and implementing Infusionsoft software 2 weeks before 3-month deadline. Received accolades from CEO

Wondering if you should use metrics in your accomplishment statements, read Should You Have Metrics on Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile?.

Education

Even your Education section can demonstrate your greatness. Don’t be hesitant to let employers know what you accomplished 20 years ago; if you earned it, tout it.

Bachelor of Science, Software Engineering
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Summa Cum Laude, in the top 5% of graduating class

You’re a smart cookie, so show it.

Hint: one strong suggestion is to make your resume easy to read. Here’s an article that explains how. 7 Ways to Make Your Resume Easier for Hiring Authorities to Read.

LinkedIn profile

There are six areas where you should express your greatness. They are your background image/banner; Headline; and About, Experience, Education, and Recommendation sections.

Background image

Promoting your greatness with your LinkedIn profile is a bit different; there are more ways in which to do it. It’s not bragging, for instance, to post a background image/banner. Make it relevant to the work you do or industry you’re in. Even make it about what you enjoy doing.

To learn more about the importance of a background image, read 4 Reasons Why Your LinkedIn Background Image Shouldn’t Be Ignored.

Headline

Tons of articles have been written about the Headline. Instead of getting into all of that, check out the list of LinkedIn voices job seekers should follow. There are about 100 plus people on it. Ergo the title, The Ultimate List of 100+ LinkedIn Voices Job Seekers Should Follow.

Check out their Headlines to see which ones draw your attention. These are LinkedIn members who are definitely worth following for the content they deliver on LinkedIn..

About

Again, much has been written about this section of the profile. In an article called 16 LinkedIn Pros Talk about Creating a Powerful About Section, the common theme is telling your story and starting with a hook.

The secret behind the success of these pros is their lack of reluctance to promote their greatness. I tell my clients to let loose some accomplishments to whet the appetite of hiring authorities who visit their profile. They don’t need to be saved for the Experience section.

Experience

This is a section where you should show your greatness with quantified results. Similar to your resume, the accomplishment statements should include actions and positive results, but not necessarily in this order. I’m a fan of leading with quantified results followed by actions.

Their are two points I make with your About and Experience sections. First, write it in first-person point of view. Second, only include the outstanding accomplishments. Let hiring authorities look at your resume to learn about the other stuff.

How would writing about your greatness in first-person point of view look? Take the aforementioned accomplishment statement above.

  • I Increased productivity of Sales Team 50% by initiating and implementing Infusionsoft software 2 weeks before 3-month deadline. As a result, I received accolades from CEO

This makes the Experience section of your profile more conversational, gives it a personal tone.

Read why the LinkedIn Experience section shouldn’t be ignored. The Majority of Hiring Authorities Read the LinkedIn Profile Experience Section First, so Make It Shine.

Education

Similar to the outline of your resume, the next profile section is Education. You guessed it; this section must also tell a story. Also similar to your resume, it includes the same information, degree you earned, academic institution, and year of graduation if you choose to list.

You can take it further than you would on your resume. In addition to the above information, LinkedIn encourages you to tell a story that includes any designation you earned, as well as what you did while at university. Here’s an example.

University of Massachusetts Amherst
Master’s Degree, English/Technical Writing
Grade: Magna Cum Laude

(You can provide a description of your time at university) This was one of the most exciting times of my life, as my wife and I were beginning our family. During this time, I interned at Mount. Holyoke College as a career advisor. This is where I learned I wanted to be in career development.

Recommendations

Let’s skip to the next section where you can demonstrate your greatness. This is Recommendations which is, unfortunately, anchored in the basement of your profile. This said, you can direct visitors of your profile from the About section to your recommendations.

A statement at the bottom of About like, “If you want to see my recommendations, scroll to the bottom of my profile.”

Your recommendations will do the speaking for you. You aren’t required to display every recommendation written for you, so only display the ones that speak highly of your greatness.


There you have it. Your resume and LinkedIn profile provide you with plenty of opportunities to promote your greatness. Don’t give up these opportunities. Grab hold of them like a python, because if you don’t you’ll be like the other job seekers, normal.

Should Your Resume/LinkedIn Profile Include Metrics? 65% Of Voters Say YES

Metrics in the form of numbers, percentages, and dollars give your resume’s and LinkedIn profile’s accomplish statements power and separate you from the fold. They cause readers to take note. They complete the story. They show proof.

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Based on a poll I conducted on LinkedIn, 65% of voters said metrics on your job-search documents are important to have, 25% voted “No,” and 10% stated, “It depends.” The poll is still active with 1,334 people who have voted.

Executive Resume Writer Adrienne Tom says it well: “Numbers provide the proof. Anyone can say they are good at something in their resume. Anyone. The only way an employer can tell exactly how good you are is to back up your claim with numbers and specifics. Provide the proof.”

An accomplishment statement consists of an action (what you did) and a result (hopefully quantified with #s, $s, and %s). Simply providing a statement is devoid of a positive impact on the company, or an accomplishment.

Conversely, listing only the quantified positive result fails to explain to the reader how you were able to achieve the result. Some job candidates do half the job of writing an accomplishment statement by doing this.

Following is an example of a project manager who led a team of 6 software engineers to complete four major projects in one year. They were able to complete the projects before estimated time, thus saving the company cost on salary.

Duty
Championed a team of 6 software engineers completing 4 projects in 2020.

The problem with the duty alone is it doesn’t show the positive impact on the company. Here’s the positive impact on the company.

Quantified result
Saved the company $493,020 in projected salary.

You see that to only list the quantified result robs the reader of learning how the person achieved it. Following is the full accomplishment statement.

Saved the company $493,020 in projected salary by championing a team of 6 software engineers to complete 4 projects in 2020. The projected number of projects was 3.

An 18-wheel truck driver traverses the country on an annual basis. On their resume or LinkedIn profile, the candidate simply writes a duty: “Drove 18-wheel truck across the US.

Not nearly as impressive as: “Traversed the US 200,000+ miles annually, accomplishing a perfect safety record and earning Top Driver out of 30 employees for fastest hauler.

Better: “Earned top driver out of 30 employees for fasted hauler by traveling the US 200,000+ miles annually; achieved perfect safety record.

We can assume this truck driver saved money for their employer based on being the fastest hauler, and saving money equals increasing revenue. Alas, these figures aren’t available to the driver.

Laura Smith-Proulx provides an accomplishment statement that contributed to her latest TORI win (Best Classic High Tech resume):

Growth Imprint: Elevated Advantech to #2 market ranking by developing and deploying Demand Response product at global customers (now running 38%+ of all US electricity). Promoted offering at World AI IoT Congress.

Biron Clark offers an accomplish statement for a customer service rep who improved a process in their role.

Saved business $29,000 in 2019 by implementing new customer service process that reduced customer refund requests by 9%

Saving costs and increasing revenue ain’t all that matters

What you’ve accomplished in your most recent experience isn’t only about saving costs or increasing revenue; although, that’s great. Companies and organizations appreciate these two accomplishments. But what if you don’t have the numbers for metrics?

Jessica Sweet: While I will agree that numbers are important Bob, I will also say that not everything that is important can be measured by numbers. Improving morale – can you quantify that? Maybe you can quantify the increased productivity, but the fact that people don’t have ulcers anymore or aren’t on the verge of divorce because of the stress.

Coaching younger employees – can you quantify that? Maybe there’s less turnover or better performance, but the fact that you stick in their mind as the best boss ever, even 30 years later, and the one that inspired them to have a great career?

So there’s other things you can’t put numbers around that really, really matter.”

I agree that it isn’t always possible to provide metrics in your accomplishment statements. One solution might be using a quote, as such:

“Shannon has brought innovative supply chain strategies to (company) which made us more efficient and save cost. Our customers were extremely pleased with Shannon’s attention to their needs.” Bob Jones, VP Operations, ABC Company

Or simply state your value to the company/organization.

Frequently acknowledge by manager for providing the best service to our patients; earned “Employee of the Year, 2020.

Nii Ato Bentsi-Enchill provides a great example of an accomplishment statement which doesn’t contain a quantified result:

Designed ‘New Product Validation Program’ from scratch, enabling for the first time onsite initial quality verification to improve non-conforming parts prior to new vehicle launch, vastly reducing reliance on external labs.”


One person who wrote a comment for the poll I conducted said it nicely when it comes to quantifying results, or not:

Matt Warzel: Yes all resumes should have some focus on KPIs and bottom-line accomplishments. If you have sales, metrics, etc. use them! If not (or they have to remain confidential), turn your sentences in accomplishments still focused on operational impact, but without the figures. Streamlined efficiency, drove revenue gains, reduced waste, optimized workflow, saved money, etc…

64% of voters say they will pay someone to write their job-search documents

There are times when having a professional do a job for you—like replacing the brakes on your car, installing a water heater, or roofing your house—is the right way to go. Let’s add one of my recent failures, installing a screen and glass door to the list.

Some of you might be thinking about the aforementioned projects, “I can do that. I’d rather do it myself than waste the money.” And perhaps you can at the expense of your valuable time and doing a shoddy job. Not good.

Smart consumers understand the value of their time and getting the job done right. Another project you think you can DIY is writing your job-search documents (resume and LinkedIn profile). But will you write documents that will truly show your value to employers? Or will you do a shoddy job?

As I’m wont to do, I polled LinkedIn members asking them if they would pay for someone to write their job-search documents. Sixty-four percent (64%) of them said they would, 29% voted no, and 7% stated they write job-search documents for a living. Eliminating the third option, leaves us with a strong affirmative for the first option.

Hiring someone to write your job-search documents

I should have prefaced this article by saying that I’m not promoting resume and LinkedIn profile writers. What I’m saying is that if you decide to outsource your job-search documents, make sure your writer can accomplish the following:

Won’t put you in debt

For many people who find themselves unemployed, the cost of hiring someone to write their job-search documents is a concern. Massachusetts offers the highest unemployment benefits at $823 a week. Mississippi, on the other hand, offers $235 a week. Someone from Mississippi will have a more difficult time paying to have their documents written.

Even if you live in a state like Massachusetts, there are other bills to pay. You need to determine if hiring a writer to do the job for $500-$1,500 is within your budget. Perhaps you received a generous severance or you accumulated a substantial savings. This might provide you with enough resources.

One solution might be asking loved ones for money to pay a writer to produce your job-search documents. Your brother in California isn’t aware of your industry and occupation, but he can send you $200 to help you in your job search. This will lessen the impact.

Saves you time

Creating strong job-search documents is time consuming. For some it’s a matter of producing a resume they’ve been updating over the course of their career, or just beginning to write their LinkedIn profile; but for others it could be creating the documents from scratch.

I’ve had high-level job seekers who’ve never written a resume or profile. They’ve been at their previous job for more than 30 years, and in between gigs they didn’t require these job-search documents. Rare, but it’s possible.

Do you have the resources to do the job right? Hiring someone to write your documents can save you hours and allow you to focus on your job–if you’re currently working–and conduct other aspects of your job search, such as researching companies on your target list.

Has a great reputation

I was hired a few years ago to review resume writing services that revised a poorly written resume I sent them. The results varied but, for the most part, out of seven resume writing services two returned acceptable products. I refer to them as resume mills because they pump out resumes by the hundreds per week.

None of the resume writing services achieved what I’m talking about here, getting a sense of who the “candidate” was and what he had accomplished. Many of the products these resume mills produced focused on keywords that they said would make the resume ATS-friendly.

It’s important that you do your research and find the best resume and LinkedIn profile writer to fit your budget, while also producing products that will land you interviews. (Also keep in mind that no writer in their right mind will guarantee the documents they write will land you tons of interviews.) How you distribute your resume is a key factor.

Is in sync with your occupation/industry

If you’re going to hire someone to write your job-search documents, it would probably be best that said person is familiar with your occupation and industry. I’m not implying that if you’re an engineer or marketer that the writer must be a former engineer or marketer. I am saying that your writer is qualified to produce a product that will be relevant to the position for which you’re applying.

Let’s say you have consistently increased processes which saved your team time, but your writer believes that increasing revenue is what should be highlighted. Because they don’t understand the nature of your occupation, they fail to hit the mark. You’ll get the sense that you’ve wasted a great deal of time and money.

A good writer will refer you to someone who’s more qualified to write your job-search documents. In the past, I’ve referred people to writers who are more aligned with job seekers. Why waste the job seeker’s and my time?

Can tell your story

A great writer will effectively tell your story. They will interview you to produce a product that will give the employer a strong sense of your career trajectory and your accomplishments that include metrics. Your job-search documents will sell you from the beginning of the documents to the very end.

Most important is the Experience section that tells a story through accomplishment statements that read like a S.T.A.R. formula. Here is a story followed by the two-line accomplishment statement:

What
ŸŸŸŸImplemented new CRM software to help Sales.

How
Approached and received approval from upper management.
Implemented Infusionsoft software for sales; originally using Excel on Intranet.
Trained Sales on how to use Infusionsoft.

Results
Increased productivity of Sales team 50%.
Completed 2 weeks ahead of schedule: projected 3 months.
CEO announced my achievement in front of staff at building meeting.

The one-line accomplishment statement

  • Increased productivity of Sales Team 50% by initiating and implementing Infusionsoft software 2 weeks before 3-month deadline. Received accolades from CEO

Ideally your writer can create a story for every accomplishment on your document, but this isn’t always possible. Good writers will “drag” your stories out of the recesses of your memory.


As I mentioned earlier, this is not an advertisement for job-search document writers. On my journey through LinkedIn I have come across great resume writers who will meet most of your objectives—cost, time saving, great reputation, in sync with your industry, and tell your story.

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Do spelling errors and typos matter? According to more than 8,635 voters, not so much

I’ve found that my spelling errors and errant typos have gotten increasingly worse over the years. Is it because most platforms have spellcheck and alert me to my mistakes, thus making me lazy? I hope it’s the technology and not my waning memory.

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Do you find yourself misspelling words and making silly typos? If you do, you know how it feels to see them on the screen after you’ve published your posts or articles for the whole world to see. It might be cause for you to stop writing all together. Don’t let your mistakes get to you. You’re not going to be judged as harshly as you think.

A poll I conducted on LinkedIn surprisingly resulted in a mere 12% of voters who are intolerant of spelling errors and typos. The remaining 88% will allow a few or more mistakes in people’s writing. In fact, 55% of voters answered yes to, “Hey, everyone is human,” meaning that more than three is acceptable.

For the majority of voters who don’t expect perfection might imply that content is the key. A few or more mistakes can be overlooked. Another message I derived from the poll is that it depends on where the mistakes are made. For example, resumes and cover letters must be devoid of spelling errors and typos.

Not on resumes and LinkedIn profiles

Good resume writers are careful to deliver flawless products to their clients. Case in point, Erin Kennedy writes: “Well, as a writer I am probably the hardest on myself–but I’m hard on my staff as well. Our job is to write for other people so mistakes aren’t an option. In other jobs, it may not be as important.”

TIINA JARVET PEREIRA concurs: “It’s important to have a resume that looks clear and is without typos. In my job as a Headhunter I would ask the candidate to correct the typos before passing the resume to the Hiring Manager. It gives a better first impression.”

The strongest argument comes from Wendy Schoen, who writes: “I believe that your resume reflects your character. If you do not take the time to make sure that the product (the temporary stand-in for YOU) is fantastic, what am I, the hiring entity to think of the “real” you? Of course, in the long run it does depend somewhat on the industry, but my feelings as a recruiter transcend the industry.

“Take that extra moment and have someone else proof your product before unleashing it on the world…

BTW, it isn’t just misspellings. It is also the improper use of “s” and “‘s” after numbers on a resume that turn me off.”

And for those who write their own resumes, they should carefully proofread them. In fact, job candidates should have others review their resumes and cover letters. We know that once we miss a mistake two or three times, forget about noticing them. But others will.

Okay in articles and posts?

My insecurities began to arise as I re-read some of my articles and noticed said mistakes. Grammar isn’t as much of a problem, but spelling and punctuation errors spring up like dandelions; no doubt a matter of not proofreading or having someone do it for me before sending my content live.

Erica Reckamp assuages my insecurities, writing: “Ideally, if it’s public-facing or client-facing, our content would be subjected to another round of edits, but posts/blogs are understood to be fairly free-form and it is my impression people would rather have timely, raw content than ‘airbrushed’ content.” (Read the rest of her comment below.)

You might think this is a simple topic, perhaps one that only English teachers would appreciate. Au contraire. At this point in the poll–with four days left–8,011 people have voted and 444 of them have commented.

Let’s not forget grammar

You can be the best speller in the world, but if your grammar sucks, you’ll lose your audience very quickly. Verb tense, punctuation, point of view, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, propositions, conjunctions; am I leaving something out? There’s just too much to remember.

Victoria Ipri didn’t forget grammar: “I fall somewhere between the 1st and 2nd choices. It’s not only spelling that is a problem, it’s grammar too. I’m not the grammar police, but do feel when the writing is for a professional or business document (from resumes to blogs), those who lack spelling or grammar skills should consider tapping a proofreader. (By the way, I own a shirt that says ‘I’m silently correcting your grammar.’) 😨

The fact is that sucky grammar can be more of a turnoff than poor spelling and typos. I’ve read books that contained mistakes but were so compelling that I glossed over spelling errors and typos. Thanks for bringing this up, Victoria.

There were so many excellent comments. Let’s look at some of the standout ones.


Chris Hogg: “You say, ‘I wonder if this makes me less credible as a writer.’

“I don’t think it does, but it does indicate that you need to take more time before hitting the send key.

“Why not write an article, post, resume, whatever, and let it sit for a day or two while working on the next one, and build up a small backlog that you can proof before rushing to publication.

“Also, there is a ‘rule’ in writing/publishing that once a gremlin gets into our stuff, it’s almost impossible to get it (or them) out. This is why editors and proofreaders have jobs, because they can see what we cannot.”

Ed Han (He/Him): “I competed in spelling bees and was an English major.

For me it depends on the medium, *if it’s a medium that doesn’t have built-in spell check*. Most modern web browsers do, as does every major mobile phone. So ignoring the red squiggly line on those platforms is potentially problematic to me.

Otherwise? We’re all human, and being a jerk about this stuff–or really any stuff–isn’t my idea of good networking.

🔹 Angela Watts 🔹: “It really depends on the role for me.

“If the person will be involved in developing corporate communications, I’m going to need to see a pattern of mostly flawless writing. If the individual is C-level and will be communicating directly with top tier partners, investors or customers then there is a need for error-less writing (which may be achieved by having others proofread it first). If accuracy is a critical element of a role (like in an Accountant position), typos could indicate deficiency in this skill.

“Presentation matters, but perfection does not. We should strive to write well and give ourselves (and others) grace when we make mistakes.”

Erica Reckamp: “Communication is the goal and content outweighs polish, in my opinion. If the errors obfuscate meaning (alternate word or wrong URL) or perpetuate more errors (candidate scripts with errors), then it’s more of a concern. If they’re little glitches, most readers will gloss right over them.

“Ideally, if it’s public-facing or client-facing, our content would be subjected to another round of edits, but posts/blogs are understood to be fairly free-form and it is my impression people would rather have timely, raw content than ‘airbrushed’ content.

“As a former editor, I’ve had my fair share of contacts apologize profusely for a typo. They assume we’re out for blood, but even in books released through major publishing houses, you can find 4 errors per page if you know the style sheet. We get it the best we can in time for release, so the ideas shine through! Then you just have to let it go until the next round of edits”!

Kevin D. Turner: “Passion, Caring and Knowledge Sharing to me Bob is the most important components of writing that I’ll read. You always deliver all of that. A bit of spelling or grammar issue I will forgive to get to the right valued message, especially in this global world. That being said I write and can’t read between my own mistakes, too hot and too close to the subject, so I’ve started to use a few tools to double check before posting.”

MARY FAIN BRANDT: “As someone who has dyslexia, I often overlook spelling errors, even though I know how to spell.

“Just the other day, I was proofreading an social post, which I had read 3 times and I caught another typo.

“What’s worse is that when I was younger, I had dyslexia of the mouth, I would change the order of words or letters and not realize it. one time I asked my mom if we could get fable mudge cake mix…3 times in a row.”

Paula Christensen: “I’m surprised by the 12% (so far) one error and done votes. I suspect with the current low unemployment rate and hiring difficulties that many more errors are being accepted. My personal view- everyone makes mistakes so a few less egregious errors are okay, more than three may signify the candidate didn’t take the time to present professionally.”

To bold or not bold text on your resume and LinkedIn profile: 63% of voters opt for bold text

I’ve been a proponent for a long time of writing some of the text on job-search documents (resume and LinkedIn profile) in bold. I stress some of your text, not all of it. Because to bold all the text would diminish the impact of your sentences. It would be like having too much frosting on a cake.

I’m not alone in my preference for bold text. A poll I recently conducted says that 63% of voters favor using bold text on their resume. This poll garnered 4,564 votes, so we could say this is a valid case study. Some of the comments are listed below.

To be clear, I’m not talking about just the documents headings or your titles. I’m talking about select text to which you want to draw the reader’s attention. Text you want their eyes to settle on like:

𝗦𝗮𝘃𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗻𝘆 $𝟭𝟬𝟬,𝟬𝟬𝟬 over the course of 2 years by bringing social media campaign in house; revamped the campaign while 𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗼𝗻 𝗮 𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗯𝘂𝗱𝗴𝗲𝘁.

This is important for one obvious reason. It’s said that hiring authorities take six to 10 seconds to glance at your resume after it has been stored and accessed from the applicant tracking system.

This will help hiring authorities to capture important text on your resume within the six to 10 seconds and decide whether it goes in the “must read pile” or the “don’t read pile.”

Do you think recruiters and HR will take minutes reviewing your resume when they first receive it? No, the lives of these people who hold your future in their hands is hectic to say the least. Some recruiters say they spend most of their days reading resumes to determine if people like you will advance to the next round.

When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, bold text also draws readers’ attention to important points you want to make. I use bold text in my Headline and About section.

Example: 👊 I’m on the front-line fighting 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗚𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗙𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 for job seekers. For a little emphasis, I use the fist emoji; something you wouldn’t do on your resume. If you’re wondering how to employ bold text on your LinkedIn profile, here’s a site I use: https://lingojam.com/BoldTextGenerator.

This brings us to another reason to use bold text on your documents; it helps to highlight important information, particularly information relevant to the job ad. It reminds the reader of the major requirements, if you will.

The naysayers to bold text on their resume and LinkedIn profile think it’s nontraditional, just like using sans-serif font in nontraditional. Here’s some news for those people; if you’re using Times New Roman, you’re dating yourself. Perhaps there will be a time when not using bold text will be nontraditional.

Let’s read what others feel about using bold text.


Kevin D. Turner: If 𝗯𝗼𝗹𝗱 is used, IMO it must be sparingly, perhaps to highlight a few of the really big achievements, Bob, otherwise it can get a bit messy and if almost everything is 𝗯𝗼𝗹𝗱, there is then no emphasis.

Tejal Wagadia (She/Her): I don’t particularly like bolding. It takes my eyes away from what I am looking for. If I have downloaded resume that has bolding I will remove that formatting.

I have seen it done well a few times but most of the times it’s random bolding with no rhyme or reason!

Bernadette Pawlik: If a client who comes to me as a #CareerSTrategist wants to know how to use bolding, my advice is based upon 25 years of evaluating resumes as a career recruiter. Having evaluated thousands of resumes, what makes it resume instantly easier to consider first is being able to find what I needed: Name, Experience, Education. Bold those in all caps.

Then, after that I look for chronology, so employers, bold those but not in all caps. Then, I read the rest. I see resumes that are bolded in mid-sentence to accentuate an accomplishment.

Accomplishments should go in bullet points. Donna Svei, Executive Resume Writer who also has extensive recruiting experience has some great samples of resumes on her website which show how to use bolding, color, and italics…and I’ve spoken to Donna and we have no affiliate relationship..but her resumes make finding what recruiters/employers need to find wonderfully clear.

Erica Reckamp: Strategic bold, bullets, and shading allow key elements to pop off the page for stronger reader response and retention.

Stand out as a top candidate by highlighting your headline (demonstrate clear target and alignment), keyword bank and job titles (establish candidacy), and key phrases in accomplishments (preferably results: # s, $s, %s).

LAURA SMITH-PROULX: Bold text in a resume works very well, but only IF you limit it to notable career stories and IF you avoid drawing attention to items you’d rather not emphasize.

I see resumes all the time that apply bold text to “unfortunate” facts in a work history, such as dates that make you look like a job hopper. Go ahead and apply bold, but think carefully about the message you’re sending when doing so.

Sarah Johnston: The goal of the resume is to make it easy for the end user to consume your story. Design elements such as bolding, shading, and call out boxes (used sparingly) make the resume easier to read. Resume writers are also trained to use design to “trick the eyes” to read what we want the target audience to read.

Ed Han (He/Him): Absolutely yes on my own and I counsel the same to draw emphasis to proper nouns, names, brands, technologies (in IT), or anything else salient.

I also use them to call out hyperlinks, which I use incessantly for schools, former employers, trade associations, certifying bodies, etc.

The vast majority of resume reading takes place on a screen: optimize for this reality.

Adrienne Tom: Bolded text can help key content pop off the page. The important thing to remember is to only highlight top/best/relevant information and details. Be strategic with what you bold in a resume. Too much bolded text will cause key points to blend together again.

Angela Watts: As a screener, I’m drawn to read bolded text, even when doing an initial skim. If used well, it can encourage a reader to digest compelling content they may otherwise have missed.

Donna Svei: Bold narrative text jerks the reader’s attention around the resume in a graceless fashion, says “this is the only information in this document that matters,” and begs the reader to look at it. Thus, it signals desperation and lack of confidence in your story and story telling ability.

Story telling is a key leadership skill. If you want a leadership role, don’t use this awkward device on your resume.

7 ways to make your resume easier for hiring authorities to read

One thing my wife and I disagree on when we go on vacation is whether we should make the bed when leaving a hotel. I tell her that the kind staff would rather we don’t make the bed, because if we do it’s more work for them.

I try to convince her that the staff who make our bed before we arrive for vacation, and while we’re there, make hundreds of beds. It’s easier for them if we leave the sheets and covers on the floor. She insists it’s better to leave a good impression than leave the bed unmade.

Similarly, hiring authorities read hundreds of resumes per week. You need to make reading your resume as easy as possible for them. Making it easier for them to read your resume depends on seven factors.

1. Make the paragraphs short

I tell my clients that readability is a big sticking point for me. I’m opposed to 10-line paragraphs, as they’re difficult to read. In fact, I won’t read them. The important information they’re trying to convey gets buried in all that text, much of which is usually fluff.

Instead, they should write paragraphs that are 3 to 4 lines each. When we read we digest information easier if the text blocks are shorter. This is important if you’re trying to make a hiring authority’s job easier.

  • You should use bullets to highlight your accomplishments and, again, the lines should be short, no more than 2 lines at most. One line can suffice in some cases.

You’ll note that none of the paragraphs in this article exceed four lines; most are three or two lines. My valued LinkedIn connection, Donna Svei, reminds us that resumes aren’t only read on the computer screen. She writes:

A big trend impacting all content consumption, resumes included, is the practice of using mobile devices as people’s preferred reading platforms.

Thus, your resumes needs to be easy to read on a phone. Send your resume to yourself, open the file, and make sure you can easily read it. Check for:

  1. White space.
  2. A font suited to being read on a mobile phone, such as Calibri.

Adequate font size. I like 11-point.

2. Prioritize statements

This means strategically placing on your resume the information relative to the job ad in order of priority. You want to make it easier for the reader to see that you meet the requirements of the job.

This applies to every section of your resume, even your Education section. For example, if you notice in the job ad that a Bachelor’s degree is the first or second requirement, strategically place your Education section under your Summary.

In the sections below, I’ll talk about resume areas where you can prioritize statements, starting with the very next one.

3. Use a Headline

Only professional resumes, it seems, have a Headline that brands them. You can call it a branding Headline if you will. It simply tells the hiring authority the title for which you’re applying and some areas of expertise. Here’s an example for a candidate applying for a Project Manager position.

Project Manager
Operations Management | Team Building | Lean Six Sigma | Business Development

Prioritize statements in your Headline. With the example above, the project manager identified Operations Management, Team Building, etc. as the important areas of expertise in order of priority. This makes it easier for the hiring authority to place your qualifications with the requirements of the job.

4. Point out your relevant accomplishments

Have you ever read a resume and said to yourself, “So what.”? You don’t want the hiring authority saying the same to themself. Rather, you want them to say, “Exactly, this is what we need.”

In the job ad you noticed that the marketing manager position requires a candidate who can lead a team of more than 5 staff, coordinate multiple projects with sales, and oversee external communications on a global scale.

Start of by highlighting your relevant communications in your tailored Summary statement:

Meets deadlines while leading teams to communicate companies’ external global communications.

Expand the broad accomplishment you mention in your Summary, making it one of the top bullet points in your Experience section:

Earned accolades for leading a team of 10 to meet deadlines—coordinating projects with Sales department—producing compelling external communications.

But wait; the job ad also states the successful candidate will have to manage the team, on a limited budget, to revamp the company’s social media campaign. You’ve successfully done this, so you write:

Saved the company $100,000 over the course of two years by bringing the social media campaign in house; revamped the campaign while managing a team on a limited budget.

5. Keep your work history shorter rather than longer

You’ve accomplished a great deal in your 25-year employment history. Here’s the thing, employers are more concerned about what you’ve accomplished within the most recent 5-10 years. Anything beyond 10 years is probably irrelevant. I can hear the silent boos from my clients when I say this.

I understand their displeasure when I tell them to cut their work history to 10—okay 15—years. They’re proud of what they’ve done throughout their career, but they have to realize that their resume should be written for the employer, not them.

Am I saying that your resume must be one page long? No, the winner of page length is two pages by most career-development pundits. This article, which includes many resume luminaries, settles the great resume-length debate.

6. Include keywords

We can’t forget the keywords that will help your resume to be found when hiring authorities are searching the applicant tracking system (ATS) for winning resumes that will lead to interviews.

(There is much debate as to if the ATS automatically selects resumes to be read or if recruiters and HR do manually search for them.)

Most important, though, is that your resume is readable and demonstrates the value you’ll deliver to the employer. You can stock your resume with keywords, but doing so will make it negligible if your resume fails to accomplish the aforementioned.

Your keywords should be sprinkled throughout your resume. I tell my clients that the job-related and transferable skills should be highlighted in the Skills area, while the personality skills should be implemented in the paragraphs within the Experience section, NOT the Summary.

7. Bold certain text

You notice that certain text is in bold font. I’ve done this to make important points stand out. This is not uncommon in online articles and among executive resume writers. Using bold text is my preference providing you bold only the most important text.

Here’s the thing: when hiring authorities read your resume for the first time, they’ll spend six to 10 seconds scanning it to see if they’ll read further. As I pointed out, you want to capture their attention with important information you want them to notice. Your resume should go in the “must-read” pile, not the “don’t read pile.”

Want to read more about this, including quotes from resume writers and hiring authorities, read this article.


The argument of to make the bed or not after our hotel stays is not one I find worth fighting; however, I pity the poor staff who have to unmake and then remake the bed after my wife makes it. I also feel sorry for hiring authorities who struggle to find the value candidates offer as they read their resumes.

Make it easier them to read your resume.

Photo by Michael Burrows on Pexels.com

How a resume should be written and comments from 13 resume writers

By Bob McIntosh

It’s a fact that if you hire 10 resume writers to write your resume, you’ll get 10 different resumes. It’s also a fact that there are some traits of a resume that are universal. In other words, they are a staple of a resume.

The most obvious traits begin with a Summary statement that effectively expresses the value a job candidate will deliver to employers. Skills/Core Competencies required for the job at hand follow. Of course a value-rich Experience section and Education piece complere the resume. Or is Education placed at the beginning?

Bonus: a great resume writer will most likely include a headline or branding statement at the top of the resume. This is one addition that will give their clients a foot up on the competition.

In a poll I conducted on LinkedIn, some of the best resume writers weighed in on what they consider to make an outstanding resume. I presented two resume groups, both containing some do’s, as well as some don’ts and asked which one they would select.

Thinking that most of them wouldn’t go with Resume A or Resume B, I gave them the option to choose Resume C, which essentially meant they could create a stellar resume based on the traits of the first two. They could also add others. Here are the two groups I presented:

Resume A must:

  • Brand a candidate with a value proposition or headline
  • Contain accomplishment statements with quantified results
  • Be no longer than one page
  • Have the Education section near the top
  • Utilize graphics and color

Resume B must:

  • Be readable with paragraphs no longer than 3 or 4 lines
  • Consist of bullets only, as they make a resume easier to read
  • Include a candidate’s entire work history
  • List the candidate’s home address in the Contact Info
  • Be written in sans serif font

Resume C must (voters could customize their idea of a stellar resume)

Surprisingly, only 39% of the voters chose Resume C; Resume A edged out Resume C with 43% favoring this group. Resume B only garnered 18% of the voters.

I was one of 101 commenters who added my two cents. I chose Resume C with the following traits:

  • Brand a candidate with a value proposition or headline. This is a two-line statement that includes the title from a job add and below that some areas of expertise.
  • Contain accomplishment statements with quantified results. Agreed, not always possible to quantify results with #s, $s, and %s but they have more bite to them.
  • Be as long as warranted, all within 15 years. If you have all accomplishments, your resume can be as long as three pages. Acceptation to the 15-year rule would executive-level job seekers.
  • Utilize graphics and color is appropriate. Graphics appeal to hiring authorities like visuals. However, applicant tracking systems (ATS) don’t digest them well.
  • Be readable with paragraphs no longer than 3 or 4 lines. No one likes to read 10-line paragraphs. Shorter ones are more digestible.
  • Be written in sans serif font. Arial and Calibri are most common these days. Times New Roman dates you.
  • Include in contact info your name, professional email address, LinkedIn URL, cell phone. Key is a professional email address that includes your whole name, not something like hotlegs@aol.com.
  • Must be ATS friendly. The only way to ensue this is by tailoring your resume to each job. A tailored resume will include the necessary keywords.

The fact that people were torn between Resume A group and creating their own Resume C group is telling. Maybe the traits of Resume A are acceptable, almost preferable. I found the one-page rule, for example, unacceptable. And placing Education at the top? This doesn’t apply for all people.

I decided to include in this article what some of the voters added in comments for this poll. You can read what others said by going to the poll.

What some voters said

Sweta Regmi: One Size Doesn’t Fit All. Have them at hello from the top part, would they want to continue reading? Hook them 👇 Use the marketing commercial of 10 secs to get them hooked and call you.

Less is more, make them curious to call you but don’t leave [out] crucial info related to JD. The education section depends on job descriptions and career level. Personal preferences here. The recruitment industry wants education on top. Coaches customize based on client’s experience and job descriptions.

Adrienne Tom: I can find potential hang-ups with both A and B, depending on the person and their career level. For example, a senior-level professional wouldn’t showcase their Education section near the top of the file (nor should they), and not everyone needs to stick to 1-page.

Listing a complete work history may not be relevant. Ultimately, how your resume looks and is formatted all ‘depends’. You are unique. Therefore, your resume will be too.

Lezlie Garr: I’m not really a fan of ‘musts’ for a resume, except for this one: a resume must be relevant to the position you are applying to. All the other details are subjective and variable, depending on how relevant the information is to the position.

These are some great examples of things that CAN be included, and some typically and probably should be included, while others can be used less often.

Maureen McCann: Every person is different. They deserve a resume that highlights what’s most valued about them. Some people have recent and relevant education, so if that was the case, I’d highlight that. Other people might have direct work experience. For them, I’d highlight their work experience, skills and time spent in the industry.

Derrick Jones: First “There is no one-size-fits-all” when it comes to writing a resume. Both use strong resume writing principles. I could use several strategies from Resumes A and B. It depends on the role and industry. The “No one-size-fits-all” principle is different from essential components of a resume which should have the right: 1. Content 2. Format 3. Design.

Virginia Franco: I’m with you Derrick Jones, CPRW/CEIP. Everything depends on the story and the job target. All my resumes, however, contain a headline and summary, and are designed to be read on mobile just as easily as in print.

Donna Svei: My sister paints. I write. Sometimes we explain how we do what we do to each other, but we both know we’re only scratching the surface. A resume “should” be written by someone who wants to tell a story in a way that will make others want to read it. If you let that be your guiding principal, you will write a good resume.

Loribeth Pierson: I agree with Donna, a resume “should” be written by someone who wants to tell a story in a way that will make others want to read it. Also, Adrienne has a great point, “Ultimately, how your resume looks and is formatted all ‘depends’. You are unique.” A lot of misleading data out there, which makes it difficult for the job seeker today. 🤷‍♀️

Scott Gardner: 👉🏻Brand a candidate with a headline, tag line and value proposition. 👉🏻Focus in accomplishments and quantify the results. 👉🏻As long as needed, but make sure to highlight the last 7-12 years, and have the rest just form the foundation of the career. Exception to this is an early career success that is truly impressive.

👉🏻 Leverage graphics and color as appropriate. 👉🏻Consumable content with paragraphs no longer than 3 or 4 lines and bullets at 1-2 lines preferably. 👉🏻Use a sans serif font. Contact info Name, email address, and create hyperlinks for the LinkedIn URL and cell phone.

The biggest thing is that these are all just general guidelines. A great resume reflects the candidate, targets their career goals, and speaks to the hiring authority managing an open position at a desired employer.

Julie Walraven: Many job seekers are confused by the misleading data out there on 1 page resumes and ATS-friendly to the extent that they eliminate marketability of the resume. The reality is that focusing on telling your story is key to creating readability and enthusiasm for you as the candidate. I agree with Erin Kennedy, MCD, CERW, CMRW, NCOPE, CEMC, CPRW that all bullets or all paragraphs makes for a dull and boring resume.

Gillian Kelly: Open with a powerful pitch that features metrics and branding, leverage metrics and storytelling throughout to leave the hirer in no doubt about your capability to do the role and potential value to their business, and optimise your content and design to work for both the reader and technologies. 

Note: Richard Grant’s and Wendy Schoen’s comments were outstanding but too long to include here. Please read them in the comments of the poll.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

It’s the LinkedIn profile over the resume by a landslide: 3,338 voters decide

Like a lopsided political race, this one is a landslide. I’m talking about a LinkedIn poll asking 3,338 voters to chose between keeping either their resume or LinkedIn profile. Which one wins by 72%? Why, the LinkedIn profile, of course. I’m not at all surprised by the result.

What I find interesting is that the voters opting for the profile seem to have forgotten that the resume is where it all starts; it’s the foundation of your LinkedIn profile. No one writes their LinkedIn profile and then their resume. No one has their profile written for them and then the resume.

It comes as no surprise

So why is the profile the favorite of the two? In three words: “It’s all that.” Let’s face it, the profile is more exciting. It’s, dare I say it, sexier. Your heart flutters a bit when you see a great background image and professional photo respectively.

There’s also the Featured feature, where you can see one’s video, audio, documents, and links to a blog. LinkedIn has improved this feature in both look and functionality. With just one click, you’re brought to a LinkedIn member’s website, audio, SlideShare, or document.

You’ll find none of this on your resume. The photo is the exception but only for certain occupations and foreign country.

Another attribute that barely makes it on your resume is personality. The point I make about your resume being the foundation of your profile is true. However, once you’ve laid down the foundation, you need to personalize it with first-person point of view. Call it your personal resume.

In an article I wrote that is still streaming out there, I point out the differences between the LinkedIn profile and the resume. Here are some sections/features the resume lacks:

Photos and background image, already mentioned, are major differences that are being utilized by increasingly more LinkedIn users. Rarely will we see the light blue (whatever it’s called) default background image.

Same goes for the ugly light-grey avatar. Increasingly more LinkedIn users have professional photos or, at least, selfies (a no no) to be more recognizable, trusted, and liked. There still are some LinkedIn users who don’t get it, but LinkedIn isn’t for everyone.

Activity brings you to other peoples’ contributions on LinkedIn. They deliver you from a LinkedIn users’ profile to all their activity, articles (a dying breed), posts, and documents (what?). To me, this is where one shows their mettle; are they engaging with their network?

Skills & Endorsements and Recommendations I lump together because LinkedIn does—they’re located at the bottom of a profile. Endorsements are bling in most peoples’ minds, but the skills are what recruiters use to search for you.

Recommendations have lost the respect it had in the last decade. Which is a shame. If truthfully written, they can add a great deal to a job seeker’s candidacy. Recommendations used to be considered one of LinkedIn most valued features. Now it’s buried at the bottom.

In defense of your resume

In addition to your resume being the foundation of your profile—your profile shouldn’t be your resume—it serves a very special purpose, which is it’s required for a job search. I’m hearing the groans from the peanut gallery. “Networking will get you further in the search then your resume.”

This might be true, but the majority of the time you’ll have to submit a well-written resume even if you land the opportunity for an interview via networking.

Another key factor—and most resume writers will tell you—is your resume has to be tailored to each job for which you apply. There are two reasons for this. First, it has to get past the applicant tracking system (ATS). Second, it has to prove to the reader that you’re qualified f

A professionally written resume is a work of art. Having read thousands and written hundreds of resumes, I know the feeling of reading one that makes your head hurt. Many job seekers throw their resume together without thinking about five major considerations:

  • Length: too long, too short. There’s no solid rule on length but, generally speaking, it should not exceed the number of warranted pages. What warrants a resume longer than one or two pages? This is mentioned next.
  • Value add: means relevant accomplishments rule over mundane duties. The more accomplishments, the better chance you have of getting to an interview. Have you increased revenue, save cost, improved productivity, etc.?
  • Readability: three- to four-line paragraphs are the limit. A resume with ten-line paragraphs will be thrown in the proverbial circular file cabinet. Who wants to read a dense resume after reading 25 of them?
  • Fluff: “dynamic,” “results-oriented,” “team player,” are but a few of hundreds of cliches making the rounds out there. Stay with action verbs and do away with adjectives.
  • Branding: means your resume is congruent with your overall message of the value you’ll deliver to employers. This message needs to be delivered throughout your document.

The final point

I’m not foolish enough to believe that all things were equal in this poll. Those who voted for the LinkedIn profile are probably gainfully employed and have no use for their resume at this point. I voted for the profile because I benefit from it far more than my resume.

The question I ask myself if I were unemployed, could I rely on my LinkedIn profile alone to land me an interview? My course of action would be to take a more proactive approach and network before and during applying online.

Another consideration is how consistent is my profile with my resume. I believe that other than it being more personal and telling a better story, my profile is consistent with my resume. No surprises there. Final decision: I choose my profile over my resume.