Category Archives: Résumé Writing

Why your LinkedIn profile resembles a combination résumé

You probably know what chronological and functional résumés are. Now imagine the two documents joined together as one. What you have is a résumé that demonstrates your areas of expertise as well as your accomplishment-rich work experience.

Reading a Resume

A while ago I wrote an article on how your LinkedIn About section can be similar to a functional résumé. Now I’ll take the concept a little further by explaining how your About and Experience sections can resemble a combination résumé if done properly.

The About section as the résumé Summary and  functional area

You might have been told that the About section needs to tell a story, which it should. However, if you want to highlight your areas of expertise (the functional résumé), you need to make them blatantly clear.

Following is partial example of one of my client’s About section which closely resembles the functional piece of a combination résumé beginning with ► BUILDING TALENTED TEAMS.

New technologies have the power to transform a business, especially when brought to market in the form of new products and services. That is what I enjoy doing.

Advanced materials and processes can form the basis for a product portfolio that will generate repeat revenues for years to come – if a company is able to leverage those innovations. I have been fortunate to participate in several technology firms where we did exactly that. Here are a few keys to our success:

► BUILDING TALENTED TEAMS – of professionals who are leaders in their respective areas. Then, encouraging and rewarding them for their collective success.

► ENGINEERING CREATIVE SOLUTIONS – that solve the customer’s problem, but also create manufacturing differentiators that will lead to follow-on production.

► OPERATIONAL SKILL – to simplify designs, improve on-time delivery, reduce rework and enhance efficiency.

► BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXPERIENCE – with more than 15 years of experience in technical sales and marketing of engineered solutions.

Differences between the About section and functional résumé area

1. Your LinkedIn About section is more than a Summary. There’s probably a good reason why LinkedIn went from calling this section Summary to About and most likely it’s because your About section can/should include elements of a typical résumé Summary and functional area.

2. No introductory paragraphs. Your résumé should not include the opening two paragraphs of your LinkedIn’s About section. There’s no need, or space, to explain the challenges of your industry, your passion, or a mission statement, etc.

Golden rules: résumé Summary is three or four lines at most, must grab the reader’s attention, and should include an accomplishment or two in order to show value.

3. Your résumé’s functional area won’t be as long.  The example above nearly reaches the 2,000 character limit. But the idea is the same. Under each area of expertise, you explain why they’re your strength in three or four lines.

The main reason why the About section is long is because your profile is a static document and therefore must cover more ground containing more information.

4. Tailor your resume’s functional area. Another difference is that your résumé will be tailored to each employer’s needs. Perhaps the employer is most interested in Team Building, Customer Relations, and Business Development. You simply highlight these areas on your résumé.


linkedin-alone

The Experience section as the chronological résumé

Now let’s see how my client’s Experience section clearly shows what he’s accomplished. (Again, this is a partial sample.)

A nice touch is how he breaks down his accomplishments by types, e.g., SALES GROWTH, PROFITABILITY, ON-TIME DELIVERY…

Led the transformation of this start-up, engineering research firm into a mature, product-based manufacturing business; sold the company; then helped to integrate it with a new parent company.

► SALES GROWTH – Increased product sales by 800%; now 87% of MSI’s total business.

► PROFITABILITY – Improved key production lines 30% by investing in Lean / Six Sigma / Kaizen initiatives.

► ON-TIME DELIVERY – Consistently achieved delivery commitments through tight-knit production teams, centralized reporting, targeted cross-training, and earned-value project tracking.

► HARVEST & DIVESTMENT – Marketed and sold the business. Leadership role in all stages of the sale process: selecting investment banker, identifying potential acquirers, preparing marketing materials, and communicating with prospective buyers.

► BUSINESS INTEGRATION – Successfully integrated MSI with new parent company. Retained customers while relocating and re-starting core manufacturing operations on the west coast.

Differences between the LinkedIn About section and Résumé Experience section

1. The value is clear. This position’s highlights clearly show value, as it is broken down into accomplishment types, e.g., SALES GROWTH, PROFITABILITY, ON-TIME DELIVERY…More so, the all-caps format makes it easy for the reader to see the accomplishment types my client delivers.

There really isn’t a distinguishable difference between the LinkedIn About section and résumé Experience section. Both should highlight accomplishments.

2. The length of my client’s Experience section for this job alone brings his combination résumé to two pages. He has two other roles as director of business development and principal engineer. In all, his combination résumé could be three-pages long, which is acceptable within a 10-15 work history.

3. The résumé Experience section must be tailored. It must be a reflection of what each individual employer requires. Your LinkedIn profile Experience section is static, like most other sections, so it has to cover a large swatch of value statements. Choose the ones that are of most importance to the employer.


If you need to revert from a chronological to a combination résumé, it would be a good move. Think about how your LinkedIn profile’s About and Experience sections are an example of how the combination résumé should be crafted.

Hot résumé trends for 2020: what the experts say

A decade has ended and now a new one is upon us, so what will 2020 bring in terms of résumé trends?

resume woman with coffee

One thing is for sure; if you plan to submit the same tired résumé for all positions, your chances of success will hover around zero percent.

Another well-known fact is that your résumé must demonstrate your value.

Some résumé trends will stay the same as they did in 2019; whereas others will change, or at least be reinforced.

Advice from 5 résumé experts

To discover which résumé trends you should follow in 2020, I asked five renowned résumé writers their thoughts on this topic. Each of them offers valuable advice from being aware of applicant tracking systems (ATSs) to ensuring your document expresses value to demonstrating emotional intelligence (EQ).

Virginia Franco: leverage alternate channels  

Virginia Franco, Executive Storyteller, Résumé & LinkedIn Writer, believes getting your résumé to decision makers (networking) will be key to your success in 2020, so the look of your résumé must pack a punch,

Virginia writes:

Because applicant tracking systems (ATSs) are so inundated with résumés, increasingly more people are recognizing the wisdom of throwing their hat in the ring via alternative channels that include a focus on networking and getting in the door through referrals.

As a result, it will be more important than ever in 2020 to write your résumé first and foremost for human beings.

This means embracing design elements that can range from the use of color, shading, and/or bold to draw the reader’s eye where you’d like it go – to even a graph, chart, or box with some standout text to illustrate a point you are making elsewhere in the body of the résumé (I’ve used them to convey a snapshot of powerful sales stats or even call out a compelling recommendation).

Because at some point in the hiring process you may have to submit online, your résumé should also aim to be ATS compatible. This means ensuring that any point you make via a text box, chart or graph appears elsewhere in your document – as ATS can’t read it otherwise.

More about Virginia: Virginia’s LinkedIn Profile, Virginia’s website, and Virginia’s articles in Job-Hunt.


Donna Svei: be mobile friendly  

Donna Svei, Executive Résumé Writer, says that hiring authorities will read your résumé on devices like your mobile phone. She also emphasizes that your résumé must be ready at the drop of a hat, not that you’re necessarily looking.

Here’s what Donna has to say:

When I think about résumé best practices, I ask myself, “What will make my clients stand out to hiring managers and recruiters?”

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

Thus, your résumé needs to be easy to read on a phone. Send your résumé 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.

Technology has made the traditional job search with a beginning, middle, and an end outmoded. The opportunity now comes from people you know, recruiters who constantly scrape databases looking for viable candidates, and alerts that tell you about openings for your dream jobs the moment they become available.

Because of this, I see more careerists preparing their résumés just to be ready. They aren’t looking but they want to be able to take their best shot when the big one comes along. That’s your competition. Be at the head of the pack, not limping into the mix with your newly updated résumé while the best-prepared candidates wrap up their interviews.

Résumé trends change slowly, even generationally. Regardless of your age, be a person who knows the trends and uses them to make the best presentation of themselves.

More about Donna: Donna’s LinkedIn Profile and Donna’s website.


Laura Smith-Proulx: be brief but powerful  

Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Resume and LinkedIn Writer, emphasizes value, readability, and branding as important components of your resume.

Read what Laura has to say:

To keep pace with ever-shorter attention spans, résumés must prove their value to employers in 2020. Rather than dense paragraphs describing your work style, your résumé needs quantifiable results, a potent mix of keywords to satisfy ATSs, and powerful branding statements relevant to employers.

In 2020, brevity will be an important factor in capturing attention from your résumé. Branding headlines, which are simply statements encapsulating your value, can help cut excess verbiage.

For example, a paragraph on your technical sales skills could be replaced with “165% Annual Growth and 45% Profit Increase From AI Sales Techniques” – packing keywords, metrics, and technologies into a single sentence.

ATSs continue to be an important factor for résumés in 2020, especially if you’re applying to job postings. For example, a Revenue Officer résumé should mention contract negotiations and team direction, and if you’re seeking IT jobs, the résumé must reference emerging technologies and business collaboration.

There’s a plethora of tools such as Wordle or TagCrowd to parse job descriptions for keywords. Think of your résumé as a website that needs SEO strategies to be found, and you’ll get the idea.

A résumé with no quantifiable metrics is likely to be ignored in 2020. By putting figures to the cost savings, budgets managed, speed of implementation, market share growth, revenue produced, products launched, or profit generated from your actions, you’ll increase the chances of landing an interview. Be sure to align these stories with what the employer is seeking.

More about Laura Smith-Proulx: Laura’s LinkedIn Profile, Laura’s website, and Laura’s articles in Job-Hunt.


Adrienne Tom: share your career narrative  

Adrienne Tom, Executive Résumé Writer, LinkedIn Profile Writer, and Job Search Coach, encourages job candidates to apply stories to their résumés. Use SMART statements, she advises.

Read further to find out what Adrienne has to say about SMART statements:

2019 taught us about the importance of building and sharing a powerful career narrative. As we transition into 2020, I see career storytelling continuing to play a heavy hand in the creation of a modern résumé.

The reason for storytelling is simple. A flat file of facts does not compel résumé readers. Instead, employers wish to be engaged by meaningful content that summarizes relatable facts, applies authentic language, provides proof, and demonstrates a clear fit for the role.

To help craft your career story in 2020, share SMART statements in the résumé. Just like a SMART goal, a SMART statement is Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Results-Oriented, and Time-Bound.

When delivered correctly, SMART statements help share and reinforce a career story –allowing for personalized detail that both differentiates and elevates. Also, all good stories have happy endings (or at the very least, wrap things up with a result). A modern résumé is no different.

Strengthen a career story with results-driven details. Align results with employer requirements for greater impact. Even better, lead with results as often as possible, reducing the risk of key facts becoming buried or overlooked.

An example of a SMART statement, that leads with rich results:

Generated over $600K in annual cost-savings and raised staff efficiency levels 65% after designing and implementing a global operational improvement plan across 3 countries with 6,000+ staff.

Ultimately, résumé strategy continues to evolve in the delivery of details. In 2020, ensure the résumé includes a variety of accomplishment statements, including SMART ones, to share your story better.

More about Adrienne Tom: Adrienne’s LinkedIn Profile and Adrienne’s website.


Erin Kennedy: demonstrate your soft skills and EQ  

Erin Kennedy, Executive Résumé and LinkedIn Profile Writer, says a résumé can show emotional quotient (EQ) better known as “soft skills.”

Erin offers:

During 2019, career professionals noticed a shift as corporations began seeking EQ from their executive candidates. In the past, these skills were considered fluff and a résumé no-no.

However, the dependence on technology and targeted specialties has caused a slight breakdown in communication skills leading companies to seek more “well-rounded” leaders.

Emotional intelligence is not something you can earn with a degree; rather it is part of your personality cluster. Are you adept at figuring out complex problems? Are you able to manage conflict?

Possessing strong EQ means you have self-awareness and the ability to understand your effect on others.

Corporations are looking for leaders with high EQ — if you don’t understand your own behavior and motivations, it becomes difficult to understand those who work for you. Displaying empathy and thoughtfulness rather than judgment increases productivity and solidifies loyalty.

So, how do you capture soft skills and EQ on a résumé while still showcasing numbers-focused accomplishments? The great thing is, they really go hand-in-hand. Easing soft skills or EQ onto your résumé can be as simple as:

Provide strategic and decisive leadership while collaborating effectively with fellow Board of Directors on a $23 million-dollar expansion.

Blending soft and hard skills together creates a much-sought-after candidate.

More about Erin Kennedy: Erin’s LinkedIn Profile, Erin’s website, and Erin’s articles on Job-Hunt.


The bottom line

If you’re writing your résumé for the first time or updating it, you will want to heed what these experts say about submitting the best document possible. This means:

  • Presenting a document that not only passes the ATS but also is appealing to the human eye.
  • Making sure your résumé is adaptable to all devices, including a Smart Phone, and is ready at all times.
  • Highlights your value and brand while also being easy to read.
  • Uses Smart Statements to craft a cohesive résumé.
  • Demonstrates your EQ.

If you accomplish all of this, your job search will be successful in 2020.

This article originally appeared on Job-Hunt.org.

Photo: Flickr, Fort Belvoir

The ultimate comparison of the résumé and LinkedIn profile: a look at 10 areas

Occasionally I’m asked which I prefer writing or reviewing, a résumé or LinkedIn profile. To use a tired cliché, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. The first fact we have to realize is that each has its own purpose.

Reading a Resume

The second fact is that, although the résumé and LinkedIn profile are trying to accomplish the same goal, show your value; they are different in many ways. One of my pet peeves is looking at a copy and paste of the résumé to the profile. It’s just plain wrong, and you’ll see why as you read this article.

LinkedIn Logo longPurpose of each document

Résumé

Your résumé is most likely the first document hiring authorities will see, so your value-add must make an immediate impact. If not, your chances of getting interviews are very slim.

You will send your résumé in response to a specific job. As such, it must be tailored to each job and contain keywords. Failing to do this will adversely impact your résumé’s chance of getting past the applicant tracking system (ATS).

Lastly, you use push technology with your résumé; therefore far fewer hiring authorities will see it.

LinkedIn profile

Your consistent message of value-add demonstrated through your résumé carries over to your LinkedIn profile. Your profile is NOT focused on a specific job; it is static and more general.

Most likely you’ll have a résumé constructed before you build your profile. Therefore, the stronger your résumé, the easier to build your LinkedIn profile.

You rely on pull technology with your profile, as hiring authorities find you by entering your title, areas of expertise, and location if relevant.

Comparing the two

I’ve broken down the sections of the résumé and LinkedIn profile to compare them side-by-side.  It’s easier to see the differences this way. As mentioned earlier, it’s similar to comparing apples and oranges.

Note: Sections 1 through 6 are those which both documents possess. Further down this article are sections the LinkedIn profile has and most likely the résumé doesn’t.


1. Headline

Résumé: A headline tells potential hiring authorities your title and a line below it your areas of expertise and perhaps a two-word accomplishment (Cost Savings) in approximately 10 words.

It is tailored to the job at hand, like most sections on your résumé. Most executive-level résumés have a headline.

LinkedIn profile: Similar to your résumé, a headline will tell hiring authorities your title as well as your major strengths. It is more general and includes more areas of expertise.

One benefit I see with the profile headline is it allows more characters to work with than the résumé. You have 120 characters or slightly more than 16 words. If you want to include a short branding statement, this could be a nice touch.


2. Summary/About

Resume: The résumé’s Summary sometimes gets overlooked in a hiring authority’s rush to get to the Employment section. The key to grabbing their attention is creating  accomplishment-rich verbiage, such as:

Operations manager who reduces companies’ costs by 60% annually through implementing lean practices.

There are two other points I emphasize with my clients. The first is that the Summary should not exceed 110 words or three lines; the shorter the better. The second is there should be no fluff or clichés included in it.

LinkedIn profile: Your profile’s About section will differ from your résumé’s Summary for a number of reasons.

  1. It allows you to tell a story that can include the, why, what, who, and how. In other words, why are you passionate about what you do, who you do it for, and how you do it. Similar to your résumé’s Summary, you should list accomplishments that immediately speak to your greatness.
  2. Your About section is written in first- or third-person point of view, giving it more of a personal feel than your résumé’s Summary.
  3. It is significantly longer. You’re allowed 2,000 characters to work with, which I suggest you use.
  4. Finally, you can highlight rich media such as video, audio, documents, and PowerPoint presentations.

Read this article that describes how to craft a kick-ass About section.


3. Core Competencies/Key Skills

Resume: Here’s where you list the core competencies or key skills for the position you’re pursuing. These skills that are specific to the position for which you’re applying. You can also include skills that might be tiebreakers. Nine to 12 skills are appropriate for this section.

LinkedIn profile: This section is located further down your profile; whereas it’s typically placed under the Summary on your résumé. However, I wanted to discuss this out of order, as this is the closest section to Core Competencies.

List your outstanding technical and transferable skills in the Skills and Endorsements section, which is similar to the Core Competency section on your résumé, with a few major differences:

  1. You can be endorsed for your skills. There is debate as to the validity of endorsements, but they can be legit if the endorser has evidence of the endorsee’s skills.
  2. You are given up to 50 skills to list. I suggest listing skills that are related to your occupation.
  3. When applying through Easy Apply in LinkedIn Jobs, they are one criterion by which your candidacy is measured.

4. Experience section

Resume: Job-specific accomplishments effectively send a consistent message of your value. While a show of your former/current responsibilities might seem impressive, accomplishments speak volumes. Provide quantified results in the form of numbers, dollars, and percentages.

Good: Increased productivity by implementing a customer relations management (CRM) system.

Better: Increased productivity by 58% by initiating and implementing – 2 weeks before the deadline – a customer relations management (CRM) system. 

LinkedIn profile: Your Employment section will be briefer than your résumé’s, highlighting just the outstanding accomplishments from each job. Another approach is to copy what’s on your résumé to your profile, but that lacks creativity.

I also point out to my clients that they can personalize their LinkedIn profile’s Experience section, which is not commonly done with their résumé. One approach is to write your job summary or mission in first-person point of view. Following is an example from Austin Belcak:

I teach people how to use unconventional strategies to land jobs they love in today’s market (without connections, without traditional “experience,” and without applying online).

My strategies have been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Inc., Fast Company, and more. My students have landed interviews and offers at Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Deloitte, Accenture, ESPN and more.

Read this article on 5 reasons why you shouldn’t ignore your LinkedIn profile Experience section.


5. Licenses & Certifications

Résumé: This section is usually named Training and if there are any certifications or licenses earned, they are mentioned here. I suggest that my clients list them above Education, as our eyes typically go to the bottom of the last page to find Education. In some cases, especially with teachers, Certifications are listed at the top of the résumé.

LinkedIn profile: LinkedIn doesn’t see the placement of Licenses & Certifications as I do. On your profile they are placed below Education. This is not the point, though. One might wonder why this section even exists, as it is buried in the bowels of your profile.


6. Education

Résumé: Typically the résumé’s Education section consists of the institution, location, years of attendance (optional), degree, and area of study or major. You can include a designation such as Magna Cum Laude. Here is an example of how your education should be written.

University of Massachusetts, Lowell, MA
Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude

LinkedIn profile: Many people neglect this section, choosing to simply list the information they would on their résumé. This is a shame, as LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to further support your brand by telling the story of your educational experience.

Take Mary who completed her bachelor’s degree while working full-time – a major accomplishment in itself. If she wants to show off her work ethic and time management skills, she might write a description like this:

University of Massachusetts, Lowell, MA
Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude

While working full time at Company A, I attended accelerated classes at night for four years (two years less than typically expected). I also participated as an instructor in an online tutoring program, helping first-year students with their engineering classes. I found this to be extremely rewarding.

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Sections more likely on your profile than your résumé

The following areas are most likely not going to be on your résumé; although, it’s not entirely out of the question. For instance, you might have a Volunteer Experience, especially if your volunteerism is pertinent to your career objective.

7. Photo and background images

These two images are the first to brand you on your LinkedIn profile. They are what truly separate the profile from the résumé.

Résumé: A photo is not likely unless you are in acting, modeling, or perhaps real estate. I have never seen anything close to a background image on a résumé. However, graphics are common for graphic artists and other creative occupations.

LinkedIn Profile: I see the photo and the background image as a must for the profile. Discussing the profile photo with my clients is somewhat touchy, as the average age is 55. You know where I’m going with this.

Here’s the thing: without a photo, you will come across as unmemorable, untrusted, and unliked. What’s most important is that your photo is topical, current, and high quality. I’ve seen photos of older workers that make their profile pop.

The background image, if done well, can demonstrate your industry or personal interest. LinkedIn allows you 1,584 x 396 pixels in size.


8. Articles and Activity

Resume: Non existent. Your Hobbies and Activities section would be the closest match, but there’s very little information included in this area compared to the LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn profile: Because LinkedIn is an interactive platform, your articles and activity will be shown on your profile. This is something I pay a great deal of attention to when critiquing a client’s profile. I like to see that they’ve at least been active four times a week.


9. Recommendations

Résumé: Non existent, nor should they be included with your résumé. You might bring them to an interview as part of your portfolio, but to send them with your résumé just gives hiring authorities more verbiage to read.

LinkedIn profile: Where to begin? In short, one of the most popular sections to one designated to the…you guessed it, bowels of the profile. What a gem these are in terms of branding  you. Not only can you show hiring authorities how much you’re regarded by people with whom you worked; you can write recommendations for your employees.

Read 5 reasons why LinkedIn recommendations should get more respect to get a clearer picture of how I feel about their treatment.

10. Accomplishments

Lastly we arrive at accomplishments, where so many great nuggets are hidden on your profile which could be included on your Résumé.

Résumé: Do you have a section on your résumé designated to outstanding projects? If you did, most likely it’s at the top just below your Summary section. It makes good sense if you want to highlight some of your greatest career accomplishments. Perhaps you have patents and publications listed on your résumé.

LinkedIn profile: Well, you can include the aforementioned and more; but in order for hiring authorities to see them, they’d have to be curious or you’d have to direct them to your Accomplishment section. I tell my clients to provide such instructions in the About section. “If you would like to see how I raised 2MM in revenue for one company, journey to my Accomplishment section to read about it.”

To further make my case, one of my dear connections was interviewed by Aljazeera America for his photography of homeless people and models in NYC. Naturally he has it listed as a project in this section. I had to write him and advise that he include it as rich media in his About section. Here is the link to his awesome video.


Lastly…for real.

If you’ve read this far, I salute you. I would love to hear your feedback on this article, as well as know which you favor, the résumé or LinkedIn profile. By the tone of this article, I guess you know which one I fancy.

 

 

Is it time to de-clutter your résumé? 10 items to consider

And comments from résumé authorities at the end of this article.

Recently one of my clients presented to me a seven-page résumé to critique. My first reaction was to see if there were duplicate documents. Nope, it was one résumé. Before I had a chance to speak, he said, “I know, it’s too long.” Too long was an understatement.

Reading a Resume

I’m not a proponent of limiting the number of résumé pages to one, or even two. But seven-pages is definitely overdoing it. There was what I refer to a lot of clutter on this résumé. To begin with, I noticed multiple duplicate duty statements; some of them were repeated verbatim. This résumé needed to be de-cluttered.

Now, I’m asking you what has to go when you de-clutter your résumé. Here are 10 items you should remove from your document before submitting it for a position.

1. Home address

There are two reasons why you shouldn’t include your home address on your résumé. The first is pretty obvious. We no longer communicate via snail mail. Hiring authorities will contact you with email, LinkedIn messaging, and even text.

The second reason is that you can exclude yourself from consideration if you live beyond what hiring authorities consider commuting distance. Years ago a recruiter was kind enough to review my client’s résumé for an opening. He looked at it for two seconds and said, “No good. She lives 50 miles from our company.” Case in point.

2. Fluff

My gag reflex kicks into gear when I read a Summary that begins with: “Dedicated, results-oriented, Sales Professional who works well as part of a team and independently….” There are so many violations with an opening like this.

The solution is obvious; stay clear of meaningless adjectives. The golden rule is show rather than tell. Try: Sales Manager who consistently outperforms projected sales growth by double figures. Collaborate with departments company-wide, ensuring customer satisfaction is achieved.

3. Graphics

Graphics are cool. They add panache to your résumé, are visually appealing, and say a thousand words. However, the applicant tracking system (ATS) doesn’t digest them well*. For example, one of my clients used a graphic for his name. Stunning. But when we tried to look him up with Bullhorn, he didn’t appear in the database.

Graphic artists, web designers, photographers, and other artistic types rely on graphics to demonstrate their work. Business developers, marketers, salespersons, etc. feel numeric graphs make a strong point when expressing their accomplishments. The ATS will kick these out.

If you feel your résumé could benefit from graphics, the solution is to get your résumé in the hands of the hiring manager, which is a good policy anyway. Or if your résumé will be opened as an attachment, format your résumé to your heart’s content.

4. Objective statement

These words should be erased from your vocabulary. There is nothing redeeming about an Objective Statement. Most of them read: “Seeking an opportunity which provides growth, stability, and a rewarding opportunity.” Where in this Objective Statement is there mention of what the client brings to the employer?

Nowhere. That’s where. A Summary, on the other hand, does a better job of showing what value you’ll bring to the table. That’s, of course, when fluff is excluded from it and an accomplishment or two are included. If you’re wondering how your résumé tells the employer the job you’re seeking, simply write it above the Summary.

5. Duties

Everyone performs duties, but who does them better; that’s what employers are trying to determine. Take the following duties my aforementioned client showed me followed by my reactions in parentheses. Then read my suggested revisions below them.

Client’s duties

  • Responsible for terminating 40% of employees. (That’s unfortunate, but so what.)
  • Led meetings every week. (This is a given.)
  • Spearheaded the company’s first pay-for-service program. (Ditto.)
  • Developed a training program that proved to be successful. (How?)

Accomplishments

  • Surpassed productivity expectations 25% while reducing sales force by 40% due to budget restraints.
  • Increased sales 30% in Q4 2018 by spearheading the company’s first pay-for-service program. This garnered the Sales Department Award of Excellence.
  • Developed the company’s first training program which was adopted by other locations nationwide.

Notice how one of the duties of this sample were excluded from his résumé. It was irrelevant. He was reluctant to let go of other duties, but I told him fewer duties and more accomplishments are the way to go.

6. Death my bullets

Have you been told by recruiters that they want your résumé to consist of only bulleted statements? And have you read a two-page job ad that consists of only bullets? Do you get my point? Reading a résumé like this is mind-numbing. It is hard to differentiate the duties from the accomplishments.

A well-formatted résumé will have a three-to-four line Summary in paragraph format which shows value and promise of what you will deliver to the employer. Each position you’ve performed should have a Job Summary which is exactly that; it summarizes your overall responsibility for that job.

7. Killer paragraphs

The opposite of death by bullets is death by paragraphs. Some job seekers don’t understand that paragraphs—especially ones 10-lines long—are excruciating to read. So excruciating that hiring authorities will take one look at a paragraph laden résumé and file it in the circular filing cabinet.

My general rule is that a Summary in paragraph format should not exceed three-four lines. Similarly, a Job Scope or summary of a position should be brief. (If you’ve noticed, this article’s paragraphs don’t exceed four lines.)

8. Any positions beyond 15 years

Experts will agree that listing history beyond 10-15 years is a deal-breaker. There are two primary reasons for this. First, what you did before 15 years is probably irrelevant to what employers are looking for today. Software, hardware, procedures, licenses probably are considered ancient. Think DOS.

Another reason is ageism. Unfortunately there are stupid companies that discriminate against age. Hiring authorities can roughly estimate your age based on the years you have been in the workforce. Why rule yourself out of consideration immediately. Once you get to an interview, you can sell yourself based on the value older workers bring to employers.

9. Years you attended university

This is another way to date yourself and face possible discrimination. Hiring authorities don’t expect to see it on your résumé. The only exception would be if you graduated from university within the past four years.

10. References

I’ve seen a handful of résumés that included references. The reason why job seekers list their references is to include them in one document. By listing your references on your résumé, you 1) give employers authority to call them before an interview even begins, which might hurt you if your references say something negative; and 2) it lengthens your résumé.

In addition, References Available Upon Request is unnecessary.


By the end of our one-hour session, I was able to point out various items my client could remove from his résumé. I was also able to point out where he could write his duties as accomplishments, with quantified results.


Jessica Hernandez, owner of Great Resumes Fast, feels strongly about avoiding fluff and objective statements:

Fluff and objective statements are by far my two biggest résumé pet peeves. People just love to stack adjectives together when writing their summary, and objectives are focused on the job seeker and not the employer.

My advice is to scale back the adjective use and replace an objective statement or a generic career summary with a position title and snapshot that uses keywords, metrics, and hard skills. Don’t wait to sell them on what you’ve accomplished. Start mentioning it from the get-go.

Here’s what Rich Marsh, author and professional editor, has this to say about objective statements:

I often have to teach people that unless you’re straight from school with no work experience, you do not want an Objective Statement. The problem is that most folks I help haven’t looked for work in 15 years, and they used to use it back then.

I’ve had recruiters tell me that “An Objective Statement is the kiss of death.” That and putting “Cell:” or “c:” next to a phone number in your contact info. Both are signs that the candidate is “old.”

My valued LinkedIn connection, Candace Barr, Certified Résumé Writer, writes this about graphics:

While I do often add some small visual elements where/when appropriate, content is still king.  I see some beautiful, highly designed résumés that look amazing, but fail to tell a powerful story or quantify achievements.  It’s a fine balance to find – and another reason why working with an expert provides so much value. We do so much more than write documents. There is strategy and positioning behind each element of the résumé.

My colleague and owner of Write Step Resumes, Ashley Watkins, says this about graphics:

As far as graphics, they’re actually fine for the ATS. The system will simply delete it. As long as the information you include on the graphic is listed elsewhere in the document, you should be okay.

Kate E. Williamson, Executive Resume Writer, warns against listing information in your Word header:

I see a lot of resumes that use headers and footers, specifically including name and contact info in the header. While this approach may seem like a great way to organize information, many ATS used by HR departments cannot extract info from headers and footers, which, in turn, causes issues in filing your resume into an HR database.

Photo: Flickr, Helen Greene

9 essential components of your job-search marketing campaign: Part 1

Every successful business requires a marketing campaign to promote its products or services. Businesses utilize a variety of delivery methods—social media, websites, television, radio, and other methods—to deliver their message to their consumers. Their campaign must be convincing, impactful, and informational, or it will fail.

social media phone

Like any company, a successful job search requires a marketing campaign to deliver a strong message. Obvious methods to deliver your message are the résumé and interview. But your job-search marketing campaign must consist of more than these two elements.

Part 1 of this article focuses on your written communications, as well as what comes before. Part 2 addresses engaging with your LinkedIn network and your oral communications. I’ve asked nine career-development pundits to contribute to this article. Read both parts of this series to learn about your job-search marketing campaign.

Labor market research

Before you write your résumé, it might make sense to know which skills, qualifications, and experience employers seek, wouldn’t it? This general information can be ascertained by researching the labor market. This should be your first task in you job-search marketing campaign.

Ask yourself these questions: What kind of work do I want to perform? What is my ideal salary? Is my occupation growing or declining? Take it further and ask yourself which types of companies I want to work for? Do I have a list of 15 companies for which I’d like to work?

Sarah JSarah Johnston, is an Executive Coach and Résumé and LinkedIn Profile Writer who understands the importance of researching the labor market. She writes:

“There is a famous French quote that says, ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish.’ I’d like to go down in history for saying, ‘a job search without research and a strategy is like a trip with no destination.’ After getting crystal clear on your own personal strengths and career needs, one of the best places to start a job search is identifying a target list of companies that you’d be interested in working for or learning more information about.”

Any strong company will conduct consumer market research to determine if its products or services will be successful in a given geographic location. If they fail in this component of their market research, they will go under.


Résumé

One thing most job-search pundits and hiring authorities will tell you is that your résumé is a key component of your job-search marketing campaign. It is your ticket to interviews. However, few job seekers understand what employers are looking for in a résumé. Adrienne Tom, Executive Résumé Writer, knows what employers are looking for.

Adrienne TTo make your résumé stand out, Adrienne recommends two important strategies: making your résumé relevant and including powerful accomplishment statements. In terms of relevance, she advises:

“Focus on creating good quality content. Align every point with the reader’s needs. For every point you write down in your résumé ask, ‘So what?’ and ‘Will this matter to this reader?'”

And when it comes to creating impactful accomplishment statements, she recommends listing the most important information at the beginning, which she calls “frontloading.”

“Lead bullet points with results. Make it easy for hiring personnel to spot important details, fast; don’t make them hunt for it. Walk the reader through your career story, start to finish, by sharing relevant, measurable details that matter.”

ashleyAshley Watkins, Executive Résumé Writer, spent 15 years as a corporate recruiter, so she understands what employers are looking for in a résumé. She echos what Adrienne says about accomplishment statements:

“Hiring managers want to know what you can do to positively impact the company’s bottom line. Use every opportunity to include numbers, dollar amounts, and percentages to validate your results. It’s crucial that job seekers bring their achievements to life and convince employers that hiring them will solve their immediate problem.”

Ashley warns against writing generic, one-fits-all résumés.

“Although having a clearly defined career target is the most effective way to land a job, many job seekers use a very generic résumé strategy when applying for positions online and when networking with their referral contacts. When you do not have a keyword-rich, targeted résumé focus, you are leaving it up to the reader of your résumé to figure out what you do. Therefore, increasing your chances of winding up in the ‘no pile.'”

Both résumé writers stress the importance of crafting a résumé that will pass the applicant tracking system. You will only accomplish this if, like Ashley advises, your résumé is key-word rich.

Successful businesses deliver a strong message that encourages consumers to buy. Your goal is to encourage employers to invite you to interviews.


LinkedIn profile

Does your LinkedIn profile resemble your résumé? If it does, you’re hurting your chances of impressing people who read your profile.

Ana LAna Lokotkova is a Personal Branding & Career Search Advisor, who specializing in writing résumés and LinkedIn profiles, as well as coaching interviewing. She sees the LinkedIn profile as a digital handshake.

“The days of using your LinkedIn profile as a copy-pasted version of your résumé are long gone. Today, you can drop the résumé lingo and humanize every section of your profile. Your headline is the first thing people see when they come across your profile. Forget your most recent job title, and turn your headline into a slogan-like value proposition.

“Include relevant keywords that will help others find you on LinkedIn more easily. Write your summary section in 1st person. Help others learn about your WHY and what sets you apart from other professionals in your industry.”

VriginiaAnother authority on LinkedIn is Virginia Franco, Executive Career Storyteller. According to her, the headline and new About section are critical to your LinkedIn profile’s success:

“Storytelling as a concept is prevalent across our media today from newspapers to magazines. This is important to recognize because, in reality, readers skim LinkedIn profiles in THE EXACT SAME WAY they digest the news.

“At first glance or when in a rush, readers skim the headline and the first section of the article tell them 1) what the story is going to be about and 2) help determine if the story is worth a deeper read when there is more time. Applying this methodology to LinkedIn, it is essential that a profile contains a headline and About section tells the reader what your story is about, and intrigues them to want to read more when they have time!”

Successful businesses recognize that their audiences vary. Whereas a document as factual as a résumé is appropriate for one audience, a document like the LinkedIn profile might be more appealing to another audience.


Approach letter

A little known tool for your written communications is a networking document referred to as the approach letter. In the days of digital communications, this is usually sent as an email or even a LinkedIn message.

The idea is to send this to companies for which you’d like to work but haven’t yet advertised a position. You want to penetrate the Hidden Job Market by being known by companies before they advertise a position.

In your approach letter you can ask for a networking meeting where you will ask questions about the company, a position you’re interested in, and the individual who has granted you the informational meeting.

Your questions must be illuminating, not a waste of time for the individual. Ask about potential problems the company might be facing. What are the major requirements for the position. How the individual came to working in their role and at the company. What they see the role or industry evolving in the future.

If your timing is right, the company might be trying to fill a position it hasn’t yet advertised. You could impress the person granting the meeting so much that they might suggest you to the hiring manager. At the very least ask if you can speak to two other sources.


In this article I’ve covered the written communications of your job-search marketing campaign. In part 2 we’ll look at the verbal side, which will include personal branding, networking, the interview, and following up.

3 reasons why a résumé alone will not land you a job

One of my close LinkedIn connections told me that a client of hers would only pay her for writing his résumé if she would guarantee he’d land a job. Needless to say, she didn’t take him on as a client. I think most rational individuals would agree that she made the correct decision. I do.

Job Seekers sitting

 

I found this client’s request ridiculous on at least three fronts.

  1. Writing a résumé takes commitment and expertise on the writer’s part.
  2. A job search is out of the résumé writer’s hand after it is written and delivered.
  3. It makes for bad business.

If you are going to employ a résumé writer, consider the role this document plays in your job search. It is an extremely important part of your success, but will not land you a job on its own merit.

What’s involved in writing an impactful résumé?

Good résumé writers go beyond taking your original document and simply editing it. They’ll add value to it, resulting in a better chance of getting interviews. At the very least, they’ll deliver the following services.

The interview

It all begins with asking questions. Some résumé writers will have you fill out a questionnaire, others will interview you over the phone, and others will do both. My preference is to have a client fill out a form and then talk over the phone for as many times it takes.

The résumé writer first needs to know your story. Are you pursuing similar work? What do you enjoy about you work? Adversely, what do you dislike about your work? Importantly, what value do you feel you brings to a company?

Questions like these are necessary to get to know you. But the résumé writer will ask specific questions that flush out your past accomplishments and potential for future greatness. A sound interview is essential in writing the document.

Writing the document

Good résumé writers won’t rely on a résumé template, as each client is different. But generally there are five major sections they’ll address in order: Headline, Summary, Core Competencies, Experience, and Education. In some cases, Volunteer Experience, Hobbies and Military History are included.

1. The Headline is a section that can tell résumé reviewers your value by your title and areas of expertise. This might be enough for the reviewer to put your résumé in the “must-read pile.”

2. The Summary should be concise, yet deliver an immediate impact. The résumé writer will suss out, in three or four lines, the value you’ll deliver to an employer. Take the following example:

Information Systems Department Director specializing in new project planning and achieving business objectives. Budget hundreds of thousands of dollars in project resources. Lead efforts that consistently generate sales exceeding $15K in a competitive pharmaceutical market.

3. In the Experience area, the résumé writer will take painstaking efforts to turn your duties into accomplishments. Here’s one example:

Used Lean methodology to increase productivity in a supply chain operation.

The résumé writer will push you to provide an accurate quantified result to make the accomplishment statement more impressive. Executive Résumé Writer, Adrienne Tom, and other executive résumé writers suggest front loading the statement with the quantified result. For example:

Increased productivity 80%—over a 3-month period—by employing Lean methodology in supply-chain operations. Acknowledged by CEO for this achievement.

4. Education section. You earned Magna Cum Laude in university. As a résumé writer, I would strongly suggest you include it in this section.

Follow up

Some résumé writers ensure their clients’ résumés contain the proper keywords to pass the applicant tracking system (ATS). The résumé writer might invest in a program like Jobscan.co, which offers a premium account for Career Coaches and résumé writers.

For a nominal fee, the résumé writer would scan your résumé against job descriptions, ensuring the tailored document would have a chance of being seen by human eyes.

The résumé writer might include a certain number of emails as follow up, either free or for a small fee. I encourage my clients to reach out to me with any questions they have after their résumé is complete. The same applies to their LinkedIn profile.

The résumé is one piece of the job search

Any résumé writer will not guarantee that their clients land a job based on the résumé alone. There are many facets of the job search to consider. Here are a few.

Let’s talk about networking

To some job seekers, “networking” is a dirty word. Either they’ll begrudgingly do it or won’t do it at all. This is a shame, because networking has proven to be the number one way find a job. Some sources put the success of networking, if done alone, between 60-80%.

Networking is a great way to get your résumé in the hands of the decision maker. After applying for a position online, you should have someone within the company hand-deliver your résumé to the hiring manager, VP, or anyone of influence.

This was the case with one of my clients who gave his résumé to a neighbor that worked at his desired company. The neighbor delivered his document to the hiring manager of the department in which my client wanted to work. He was asked in for a number of conversations, until he was hired.

We hear of too many people who shotgun hundreds of their résumés online and then wait for the call for an interview. They wait and wait and wait some more.

Those who network are the ones who take their job search into their own hands. They approach companies of interest, get known by said companies, and find themselves in legitimate interviews.

Interviews get people jobs

A great résumé will get the attention of HR, recruiters, and hiring managers. But it will not secure a job offer on its own merit. Performing well in multiple interviews and what follows lands the offer.

Further, a strong résumé increases your negotiating power. Full of relevant accomplishments, your résumé tells employers a portion of your worth.

Of course a résumé alone won’t aptly express your worth. You must be able to sell herself to employers by reiterating your 1) ability to do the job, 2) wanting to do the job, and 3) being a fit in the company.

After the interview you must follow up with a thank you note for every person who interviewed you. Each note must be unique and delivered on time. A simple expression of gratitude isn’t enough; you must show you listened actively during the interview by mentioning an interesting discussion that occurred during the interview.

Going the extra yard

Astute job candidates will make the extra effort of bringing a portfolio of their work to the interview. Or they might bring a business plan of what they would accomplish within 30, 60, 90 days. Madeline Mann, creator of Self-Made Millennial, adds:

Instead of describing how you work, show it. Bring in a portfolio, build a project for the company, ask to share a presentation. In my career, I’ve only seen one or two people EVER go above and beyond like this in an interview.

This makes great sense. Wouldn’t you agree?

Convinced yet?

With all that the résumé writer must do to send the job seeker out into the wild, there still is much work for the job seeker ahead. The document the writer produces is of great value, but the rest of the job search can be of equal or more value. It all depends on how you look at it.

Executive Career Coaches, Austin Belcak and Sarah Johnston help people land jobs through the art of networking and power interviewing. Both of them would say the résumé is merely a piece of the puzzle.

So, given all the résumé writer does and what the job seeker must do upon receiving the polished document, why would a résumé writer only receive payment after a client lands a job. It just doesn’t make good business sense.

Is Your Text-Heavy Executive Resume Sinking Your Job Search?

This guest post is from Adrienne Tom, Executive Resume Writer. As the title implies, resumes that are text heavy are difficult to read and to determine your value.

Adrienne's Title

Text heavy documents are sinking the job search of many frustrated executive job seekers, who are left wondering why they are not getting called for interviews.

The reason is simple: employers don’t want to drown within long narratives. They desire short and well-tailored overviews that speak to their needs succinctly while showcasing the skills they covet.

In short– the easier a resume is to read, the smoother the sailing will be for job seekers.

The biggest barrier executives face with resumes is summarizing what is often a very robust career.

To start, approach the resume writing process with the goal of quality over quantity. 

A resume is not a biography, it’s a marketing tool.  Avoid listing copious amounts of dry and dusty job details that weigh down the file and water down worth.  Instead, zero in on value and align offerings with needs. Provide a solid sampling of relevant facts related to the targeted role.

Below is a short ‘test’ to help you identify if your executive resume is taking on water.

If you answer yes to any of the points below, grab a life vest and start bailing!

The resume is longer than three pages

Typical resume length for executives is 2 to 3 pages. Definitely no need to cram everything onto 1 page at this career level, but keep in mind that today’s resumes must be leaner and more succinct to capture and keep the attention of busy readers.

Although length alone does not determine resume effectiveness, extremely long or verbose files are rarely appreciated, nor read in full. Save extra facts and supporting details for the interview.

The employment history section reads like a job description

Lengthy overviews of each past role, with heavy emphasis on tasks and duties are a waste of prime resume real estate. Employers are not interested in what you did, but how well you did it. Minimize focus on responsibilities and focus on personal performance instead.

Spoon fed the reader value-enhanced, metric-driven snippets of success to build confidence and excitement.

There are no bulleted points

If you are presenting all details in paragraph form, watch out! Dense text is not only harder to scan and absorb, but it causes key points to become buried. Bullet key points for easier readability and to better separate and highlight key accomplishments, big business wins, and personal achievements.

Bulleted points are long-winded or copious 

Even bulleted statements in a resume can get wordy. Aim to keep points succinct by averaging 2 lines per point as much as possible. If you can’t say it in two lines or less, information is likely getting murky. In addition, don’t ‘bullet barf’ all over the pages.

Bulleted points are great in small groups, but long lists of bulleted points diminish impact. Aim for 3 to 5 bulleted points per position.

Excessive filler words are used: “a, to, the, of…”

Although these words are warranted at times, in a resume they should be eliminated as much as  possible. It’s ok to use more succinct speech and grammar in this critical career file. Distill down details to focus primarily on results and personal actions. For example, instead of saying:

Created and implemented new marketing campaign in close collaboration with five people on the team which generated a 10% year over year increase to sales.”

You can say:

 “Generated 10% YOY sales increase, working with a team of 5 to create and deliver new marketing campaign”.

Career history dates back more than 15 years

No need to list every job you have ever had on your resume. This is a strategic file that requires a careful sampling of related and most relevant career material. For executives, providing the most recent 15 years of work experience, give or take, is all that is required.

The further back in time you get on your resume, the less robust information needs to be. Only provide very early career details if the experience is absolutely required or very beneficial for the targeted role.

Value isn’t easy to spot

This last point is the most important one. In short, every employer has a pain point typically centered around common requirements to make money, save money, or increase efficiencies. Your resume must demonstrate, clearly and concisely, how you are their solution!  Demonstrate value with clear examples of well-aligned achievements and success. Proof of your claims!

Finally, don’t make the reader hunt for the WHY.  Why you are the best candidate? Spell it out! Spoon feed your value to every reader in bite-sized details and use similar language and keywords to increase interest and understanding!


To summarize, employers don’t care about all the details. Only those that matter to them.

They want to read results, but most importantly they want to know if you can make results happen for THEM.

Make it easy for employers to locate key facts and the ROI you offer as a candidate in your executive resume by keeping resume material ‘lean and clean’.

A sharper content focus and format will ensure you enjoy smoother sailing throughout your job search!

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The original article can be found here.

Looking to take your executive resume to the next level to land your next job faster and increase your earning power? Visit me online at: www.CareerImpressions.ca to learn more about my award-winning resume writing, LinkedIn writing, and job search strategies for top professionals and executives located across Canada and the USA.