Tag Archives: resume

7 Major Reasons Why You’re Not Landing a Job and What to Do about It

You’re unemployed and wondering why you’re not landing a job as fast as you’d like. You’re hearing there are plenty of jobs out there and wondering why you haven’t been contacted by employers. After all, you’re a great fit for all the jobs you’ve applied for.

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We’re in the midst of the Great Resignation and employers are working with a skeleton crew. Yet, they aren’t hiring candidates fast enough. What gives? Here’s the issue: they’re scared. More accurately, they’re afraid of hiring the wrong candidate and then having to do it all over again.

It costs employers a significant amount of money to replace an employee. SHRM estimates it can cost 50%-60% of an employee’s annual salary to bring someone onboard which can include recruiting, interview, training, and other administrative costs.

So employers are taking their sweet time to find the perfect, it seems, candidates. Glassdoor.com puts the hiring process at 10-53 days, but this doesn’t factor the time to fill (putting employees in their seats) which can take weeks.

Knowing this probably doesn’t make you feel better about being unemployed. However, you can take solace in knowing you’re not alone. “But the unemployment rate is low. They say there are jobs out there.” you protest.

True, the unemployment rate is hovering around 4% and there are jobs out there, but it’s obvious that employers need your help with speeding up the process. To help employers make their decision to hire you easier, you need to understand what you might be doing wrong and make adjustments to correct your mistakes.

Your job search lacks focus

If you’re saying to yourself and others that you’ll take any job, this is the root cause of your problem. Without direction, you are spinning your wheels, spreading yourself too wide.

What’s more, employers can detect job seekers who lack focus if they’re applying for multiple jobs in their company.

What to do about it: Stop applying for jobs for one day to determine exactly what you want to do. Create a spreadsheet of two or three jobs you’d consider taking. Also make a list of your strongest job-related and transferable skills. Lastly, make a list of your values that employers must meet.

Now type in the search field of the job board/s you use five of your most pertinent skills. Make note of the job titles that pop up and determine which ones are appropriate for you. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that you were a compliance officer and one of the job titles that comes up is business operator.

When you engage with people during informational meetings or other networking events, mention your five greatest areas of expertise. This will help people to better understand what you can do going forward, instead of pigeonholing you into one particular job.

You might benefit from creating a Professional Networking Document for networking.

Your job search is one-sided

You’re using job boards 100% of the time. This is a recipe for a very long job search. Some estimates put this method of looking for work as low as 3% success if used alone. I’ve heard and read accounts of job seekers who’ve submitted 600 applications with a few or no interviews as a result.

On the flip side is using networking alone as a job-search method. Career coaches will swear by networking—I’m one of them—but they don’t expect you to abandon applying online. That would be ludicrous.

What to do about it: It’s no secret that one should employ various methods to search for work. Some people even put a percentage on each method. I’m guilty of having done this.

However, I’ve learned that everyone’s job search is different based on their occupation and industry. A salesperson might find more success putting more emphasis on networking, whereas a software designer might benefit from putting more emphasis on connecting with recruiters.

This said, determine which plan of attack is best for you. Some methods to consider are:

  • Networking with other job seekers, professional associations, in the community, at your religious affiliations, friends, relatives, neighbors, basically everyone.
  • Connecting with recruiters in your industry.
  • Networking on social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Joining a buddy group.
  • Cruising the job boards including industry specific ones.

I’m also of the opinion that you shouldn’t spread yourself too thin. Like deciding what you want to do, you should decide what methods work best for you. For example, someone in my industry (nonprofit) would benefit in order: networking in person and online, and utilizing industry specific job boards.

Your resume is not written for human consumption

As of late, there has been a great deal of discussion surrounding applicant tracking systems (ATS’) and what they’re capable of doing. The misconception is that all ATS’ will automatically eliminate resumes based on lack of keywords. Thus, job seekers are writing resumes to “beat” the ATS’.

What to do about it: Hannah Morgan asked for my opinion on this matter in her 22 Job Search Trends and Predictions for 2022. Here’s how I answered:

Hiring Authorities are making it clear that applicant tracking systems (ATS’) is mostly a vessel where resumes are stored. Yes, some ATS’ can parse resumes for keywords and reject them. Yes, some ATS’ have “knockout” questions. And yes, some ATS’ can rank resumes.

In 2022 Job candidates will heed the words of hiring authorities and write resumes that speak to the needs of the employer if they want to succeed in getting their resumes into the hands of hiring authorities, not to “beat” the ATS‘.

For candidates to earn a chance to be interviewed, their resumes must accomplish the following:

  1. Be tailored to each job. This is huge if candidates want their resumes to demonstrate they have the qualifications for the job at hand.
  2. Demonstrate value. Instead of writing: “Led a team of software engineers to complete 4 projects.” Write: “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.”
  3. Only show 10-15 years of work history. The main reason for doing this is for showing relevant experience. The second reason is to avoid any possibility of age discrimination.
  4. Be easy to read. No paragraphs longer than 3 lines. No bullet point statements longer than 2 lines.

The labor market offers job candidates great potential but only if their resumes are written with the employer in mind. Worry less about the ATS and more about speaking to the employer’s needs.

You’re not networking

I mentioned above how networking should be part of your job-search process. In fact, I listed it at the top of of ways to search for your next job. You’re most likely stalled in your job search if networking is not part of your menu. It doesn’t have to be 100% of your job search, but it should be a good chunk of it.

What to do about it: Remember that there are different ways to network. If attending large networking groups via Zoom is not your thing, try joining smaller groups. However, the principles are the same. You must a willing participant and offer help to others in the group.

One example that immediately comes to mind is one participant of my job club (another networking venue) who was contacted by a recruiter about a position for which she wasn’t qualified. She turned around and shared it with the group. This is the essence of networking.

There is more than one way to network. What comes to mind for most job seekers is initiating contact with other job seekers and nurturing a relationship until a game-winning interview occurs.

This is great, but what about contacting recruiters on LinkedIn, handing your resume to a neighbor who delivers it to the hiring manager of a company for which you’d like to work, or following up with employees in the company after applying online to initiate further contact with the hiring manager?

Lastly, take your job search into your own hands. Develop a company target list of 15-30 companies. Research said companies and then send an approach letter to each company asking for an informational meeting. If your ROI is six meetings, you are closer to your next job.

Bonus: Sarah Johnston talks about making lists, including a list of companies, in her LinkedIn Learning course called Find a Job in the Hidden Job Market.

You’re not prepared for interviews

I’m of the opinion that most job applicants fail in interviews because they don’t conduct research. If you’re not researching the position, company, and even the interviewers; you will most likely fail in the interview.

Another important component of interview success is practice answering question which, again, I see job seekers failing to do. They go into the interview thinking they can “wing” it. Don’t be that person.

What to do about it: I won’t harp on researching the aforementioned topics other than to say that this should be your first act for each position. Not only will it help you prepare for interviews, it will help you write a focused resume. Don’t neglect this important part of your job search.

You’ve dutifully researched the position for a project manager. Now it’s time to practice answering questions you predict will be asked in an interview. Follow these steps:

  1. Write at least 10 anticipated questions based on your research. For example, you read in the job ad that written and oral communication is a strong requirement.
  2. For this question, write, “Tell us about a time when your written communication was integral to the success of a major project.”
  3. Write the answer to this question. This might seem like hard work, but if you want to blow the interviewers away you’ll do this hard work.
  4. Practice answering questions like this in front of a mirror or with a willing networking partner. If you really want to take practicing questions to the next level, have your partner record the practice session on Zoom.

In addition to conducting research and practice answering the questions you predict will be asked, leverage your network to gather valuable information in terms of the position and company. Try to discover the pain points of the employer. Use the information you gain through networking in the interviews.

Read this article on proper networking techniques, 6 Tips for a Successful (Video) Interview

You’re not adapting to interviewing technology

According to Monster.com 40% of interviewing is conducted via smart phones. Gen Zs prefer this mode of interviewing because it’s easier for them; they can interview candidates anywhere and at anytime. This is one example of how interviewing has changed over time.

Even before the pandemic, interviews were conducted via video platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Teams, Facetime, and others. Personality and analytical assessments were the norm for large employers who want to hurry the process.

What to do about it: Embrace technology if you haven’t already. We won’t be returning to the “old fashion” method of in-person interviewing primarily, especially during the ongoing pandemic. You must accept this fact and take measures to correct your old ways.

Your first assignment is to create an area for interaction via video platforms. I’ll attest that proper lighting is huge in your presentation. A dark area hurts your first impression, as does sunlight washing out your face.

Poor Internet connectivity is frustrating for interviewers when they have to wait for you to connect. To make eye contact, don’t look into the interviewers’ eyes, look at the camera. These are just a few must dos for proper presentation.

Part of adapting to change in the interview process is accepting that employers are receiving hundreds of applicants for each job. Therefore, they need a way to cut out the chaff. Their solution is employing personality and analytical assessments that, to you, is a huge waste of time.

It might well be a waste of time. It certainly doesn’t wave in the best candidates. Understanding this is part of the process will help you in your job search, just as accepting the idea that ATS’ are here to stay.

Read about 7 Tools Employers are Using to Hire Job Candidates.

You’re not following up

Following up with the interviewers completes the interview process and demonstrates excellent customer awareness. If you think this part of the journey doesn’t matter, you’re mistaken. As many as 75% of employers take note of candidates who don’t follow up, and as many as 20% base their hiring decision based on follow up messages.

What to do about it: There are two ways you can follow up, with email or via snail mail. The former is preferred more by employers and job candidates. It’s immediate and allows you to include more in your note. One might argue that thank-you notes show your age.

When you follow up is key. Generally speaking, you don’t want to wait longer than 24 hours. If an interview takes place on a Friday, following up on Monday is acceptable.

The third consideration is with whom to follow up. The answer is simple; everyone who interviewed you receives a thank-you note. And each note is personalized. Don’t send the same email to each interviewer and don’t send one note to the lead interviewer, asking her to thank the other interviewers.

Lastly are the elements of your thank-you note:

1. Show your gratitude. Obviously you’re going to thank the interviewers for the time they took to interview you; after all, they’re busy folks and probably don’t enjoy interviewing people.

2. Reiterate you’re the right person for the job. This is the second most obvious statement you’ll make in your follow-up notes. Mention how you have the required skills and experience and, very importantly, you have the relevant accomplishments.

3. Interesting points made at the interview. Show you were paying attention at the interview. Each person with whom you spoke mentioned something of interest, or asked a pertinent question. Impress them with your listening skills by revisiting those interesting points.

4. Do some damage control: How many candidates wish they could have elaborated on a question, or totally blew it with a weak answer? Now’s your chance to correct your answer.

5. Suggest a solution to a problem: Prior to the interview you were unaware of a problem the company is facing. Now you know about the problem. If you have a solution to this problem, mention it in your follow-up or a more extensive proposal.


To succeed in 2022 you must shuck off the bad habits you’ve developed because of lack of job search or simply because you haven’t considered better ways to look for work. Do better in gaining focus, researching, writing resumes for human consumption, networking, preparing for interviews, adapting to technology, and following up.

4 Areas Where Customer Awareness in the Job Search is Key: Part 2 of 2 Articles

The other day I was searching in our local grocery store for Sriracha Chili Sauce which my wife needed to make Thai Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce. She had told me it was in the third aisle with the other sauces, but I couldn’t find it.

So, I asked the nearest associate where this elusive ingredient was. To my surprise, the associate told me it was in the third isle with the other sauces. I swear I looked everywhere. When I looked at him puzzled, he said, “Come on, I’ll take you to it.”

And sure enough it was in the third aisle where the other sauces were. Did I leave the store thinking, “Bob was being Bob,” that the Sriracha Chili Sauce was hiding from me? No. I left the grocery store thinking how the store associate had demonstrated great customer awareness.

Like the store associate, job seekers must demonstrate great customer awareness in their search. In the previous article, I pointed out how employers should show customer awareness. Now I’m going to address four areas where job seekers must show customer awareness:

  1. Research the position and company
  2. Write a resume that speaks to the employer, not the ATS
  3. Perform well in the interview
  4. Follow up respectfully

Research the position and company, at least

How does this demonstrate great customer awareness? First of all, the employer is a customer. And not doing your research is akin to the store associate not knowing where the Sriracha Chili Sauce was. You will not only hurt your chances of landing the job, you will also offend the employer.

Have you ever interviewed someone, and has that someone shown up without being prepared? I bet it was embarrassing for the job candidate. And I bet you were squirming in your seat. So don’t be that person who arrives unprepared and makes interviewers squirm in their seat.

Start researching the position by carefully dissecting the job ad. List all the important requirements in a column and next to them write how you can meet the requirements. Hint: the important requirements are listed in the job ad under Basic Qualifications or Major Qualifications. Also take note of the Preferred Qualifications.

Sarah Johnston, a career coach and former recruiter, suggests:

“Read between the lines to better understand the culture, reporting structure, and the actual job requirements. Consider that every bullet point in the job requirement section could be turned into an interview question.”

When you research the company, don’t rely solely on its website. The content you’ll find there is marketing material and won’t tell the whole story. Dig deeper if the company is public by reading press releases and annual reports. This will give you a better ideal of the company’s pain points.

Go one step further and try to ask people who work for the company if they can give you more info. Knowing someone in the company will be of great help in gathering information about the position—some of the hidden requirements—and the company culture and some issues it might be facing.

Write a resume that speaks to the employer, not the ATS

There’s been a lot of scuttlebutt as to what the applicant tracking system (ATS) is. Some claim it’s a system that selects resumes for hiring authorities to read based on keywords and, therefore, you must write resumes to “beat” the ATS.

Others claim it’s merely a system that stores resumes like a file cabinet where hiring authorities can pluck them based on keywords they enter for particular jobs. For the sake of argument, let’s agree that both scenarios are possible. Let’s also say for the sake of argument that your resume must be read by human eyes.

Teegan Bartos, a career coach and former recruiter, sums it up nicely:

“At the end of the day a human codes an ATS, a human enables various features of an ATS, a human sets up the knock-out questions the ATS asks, a human being chooses to read or not read each application, a human is conducting the keyword boolean search in their ATS database, and it’s the human being that clicks the button to send the rejection notices out.”

Will it serve as excellent customer awareness if job seekers write their resumes to satisfy the ATS the company’s using, while disregarding the integrity of their candidacy? Of course not. The resume must be created to speak to the needs of the employer. It must shout, “I know your needs, and I can solve them.”

Among the many attributes of a winning resume are strong relevant accomplishment statements. The keyword here is “relevant.” When you can show accomplishments that mean something to the employer, you’re speaking their language and indicating that you can repeat them in the future.

Perform well in the interview

The ultimate sign of strong customer awareness is pulling it all together in the interview. You’ve conducted research and submitted a resume that speaks to the employer’s needs. Now you must speak to the traits that make you the best candidate.

These are traits that not only show them you can do the job—those listed on your resume—but also speak to your outstanding character. Remember to speak to some pain points you noticed in the job ad. One of them might allude to being resilient.

Lisa Rangel, an executive resume writer and former recruiter sums it up nicely:

“One trait is to be prepared to demonstrate is resiliency. Have stories prepared on how you pivoted to succeed in an unexpected situation or business change. Use mishaps that could naturally occur in the interview as an opportunity to show how resilient and inventive on your feet you are. I firmly believe how someone handles a mishap on an interview tells me more about their resiliency than anything they could prepare for.”

This is a great example of how to handle the tough questions thrown at you during an interview. Demonstrating great customer awareness doesn’t only mean being able to answer questions that call for positive results. One question my clients get is, “Tell me about a time you made a mistake, and what did you learn from it?”

Let’s get back to research. Sarah Johnston states above that being able to read between the lines is a key component of predicting which types of questions might be asked. She gives this example:

“Let’s say that the job description reads: ‘Identify, initiate, and drive process improvement solutions that will ultimately provide operating efficiencies and synergies within the supply chain, resulting in cost reduction and increasing service level to customers.’

“This could be turned into a behavioral question in the interview: ‘Tell me about a time that you identified and drove a large process improvement solution in a previous role that led to increased operating efficiency. Tell me about the solution and the results of the implementation.'”

Lastly, keep in mind that first impressions do matter. I mention this because all too often I hear from my clients that they felt they did poorly because they talked too much, or they failed to make eye contact, or they weren’t dressed appropriately. Details like these matter; they demonstrate poor customer awareness.

Because interviews are often conducted via Zoom and other video platforms, you need to take into account the following details: proper lighting, what’s in your background, reducing noise and distractions, and how you’re dressed. All of these details are part of demonstrating excellent customer awareness.

Follow up respectfully

Following up with the interviewers completes the interview process and demonstrates excellent customer awareness. If you think this part of the journey doesn’t matter, you’re mistaken. As many as 75% of employers take note of candidates who don’t follow up, and as many as 20% base their hiring decision based on follow up messages.

There are four considerations when following up: how you follow up, when you follow up, with whom you follow up, and what do you include in your follow-up notes.

There are two ways you can follow up, with email or via snail mail. The former is preferred more by employers and job candidates. It’s immediate and allows you to include more in your note. One might argue that thank-you notes show your age.

When you follow up is key. Generally speaking, you don’t want to wait longer than 24 hours. If an interview takes place on a Friday, following up on Monday is acceptable.

The third consideration is with whom to follow up. The answer is simple; everyone who interviewed you receives a thank-you note. And each note is personalized. Don’t send the same email to each interviewer and don’t send one note to the lead interviewer, asking her to thank the other interviewers.

Lastly are the elements of your thank-you note:

1. Show your gratitude. Obviously you’re going to thank the interviewers for the time they took to interview you; after all, they’re busy folks and probably don’t enjoy interviewing people.

2. Reiterate you’re the right person for the job. This is the second most obvious statement you’ll make in your follow-up notes. Mention how you have the required skills and experience and, very importantly, you have the relevant accomplishments.

3. Interesting points made at the interview. Show you were paying attention at the interview. Each person with whom you spoke mentioned something of interest, or asked a pertinent question. Impress them with your listening skills by revisiting those interesting points.

4. Do some damage control: How many candidates wish they could have elaborated on a question, or totally blew it with a weak answer? Now’s your chance to correct your answer.

5. Suggest a solution to a problem: Prior to the interview you were unaware of a problem the company is facing. Now you know about the problem. If you have a solution to this problem, mention it in your follow-up or a more extensive proposal.

6. You want the job: You told the interview committee at the end of the interview that you want the job. Reiterate this sentiment by stating it in you follow-up note, which can be as simple as asking what the next steps will entail. This shows your enthusiasm and sincere interest in the position.


Demonstrating excellent customer awareness in the job-search process is key to your success in getting that desired job. Remember to conduct thorough research, write a resume that is written based on your research, perform stellar in the interview, and complete the process by following up.

Should you have metrics on your resume/LinkedIn profile? 65% of voters say YES

Metrics in the form of numbers, percentages, and dollars give your resume’s or 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…

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.

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

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.”

6 Steps to Take Before and After You Apply Online

You might not want to hear this, but research is the key to success before and after you apply online. It would be great if you could send an application to the company of your dreams; get a call from HR to invite you to an interview, the only one you’ll have; and be offered the job. But that’s not how it works these days.

Most people, about 60% based on multiple surveys I’ve conducted during my webinars, only apply online. And probably many of them sit and wait for the phone to ring. These are the people who are in for a lengthy job search.

But it doesn’t have to be this way if you are applying online. There is work you’ll need to do in order to be successful. Six steps to be exact.

Before applying online

1. Understand the most important skills for the position

Consider this scenario: you see a job on LinkedIn.com for a Senior Marketing Manager, Website, Amazon Advertising. It’s right down your ally. You’ve been a marketing manager for more than five years and before that a marketing specialist. However, there are certain qualifications you must meet to be considered for an interview.

The job of which I speak was advertised two weeks from this writing. First things first, to get an interview for this position, a job candidate must satisfy 6 Basic Qualifications. This means if you can’t meet these requirements, you don’t get an interview, no matter what.

Aside from the 6 Basic Qualifications you also have to show you meet Amazon’s 7 Responsibilities/Requirements. It doesn’t end there. Amazon has Preferred Qualifications which are the least important but, nonetheless relevant. These are the three list of requirements you need to meet.

2. Research the position

Most of the questions asked during the interview will be about the position at hand. Therefore it’s important to research it extensively; at least two hours is advised. Going back to understanding the basic, specific, and preferred requirements, highlight what you consider to be the most important requirements.

Sarah Johnston, an executive career coach, writes:

“If you have the job description- you have a cheat sheet to prepare for your interview. Always read through the entire job description as it provides the pain points of the role and specific qualifications that the hiring company is looking for.

Understanding the companies pain points or problems, like Sarah says, is essential to getting a leg up on the competition. Many job candidates don’t consider how they’ll be the solution to a company’s problems, but you’ll be the difference maker.

3. Write a targeted resume

I tell my clients that in order to pass the applicant tracking system (ATS) process, they must write resumes that contain the required skills for the job at hand. The ATS has recently been referred to as a file cabinet that stores resumes until hiring authorities need to call them up by using a Boolean search.

Other important characteristics of your resume must, at the very least, include:

  • 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.
  • Work history within 15 years. If you have all accomplishments, your resume can be as long as three pages. Acceptation to the 15-year rule would be executive-level job seekers.
  • Be readable with paragraphs no longer than 3 or 4 lines. No one likes to read 10-line paragraphs. Shorter ones are more digestible.

It’s also important that your resume passes the person/people reading it. Hiring authorities are people, after all, so you must satisfy them with a well-written resume that speaks to their needs.

Note: It’s not all about writing a resume that passes the ATS process. Virginia Franco, Executive Storyteller, Résumé & LinkedIn Writer, 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.

After applying online

4. Research the company

The simplest way to research the company is to visit its website and peruse it for many hours. But as a marketing manager, you realize the the information on the company’s website is marketing material. In other words, it’s smoke and mirrors.

So dig deeper. Scour the company’s site for press releases and annual reports. Be prepared in an interview to talk about the good and the bad and the ugly. I tell my clients a question you should be able to answer is, “What are some of our company’s problems?” Really.

Network

To know more about the company’s pain points talk with someone who works for the company. In the case of Amazon, you’re in luck. One of your neighbors works there, and he is willing to reveal some problems under anonymity.

The neighbor reveals two things you weren’t able to ascertain about the company’s pain points. Even though you read press releases and annual reports, motivation among the staff is low and there’s a need for more snappy material. This is great intel, as you will use it to modify some of your answers to the questions if need be.

5. Use LinkedIn to research interviewers

If your reaction to this step is, “But I’m not on LinkedIn,” get on LinkedIn. This is where roughly 78% of hiring authorities are searching for talent, including the people interviewing you.

Given that the recruiter informed you of the four people who would be interviewing you, you can look them up on LinkedIn either by names or titles. Let’s say the recruiter told you the hiring manager, HR director, the VP, and the CFO will be present in the interview; but didn’t give you their the names. Take the following steps:

Go to the company > click on the number of people who are on LinkedIn > go to All Filters > type in their titles in the keyword field. Voila, you have the names of the people who will be interviewing you. No read their profiles carefully and see if there are any commonalities. This can make for good fodder in the interview.

Why do I want to research the interviewers, you ask? It’s nice to know what commonalities you have with them and how to mention them in the interview. Let’s say you and the CFO went to the same university or like hiking. Bazinga, great fodder for conversation.

6. Prepare for the interview

Sarah Johnston offers great advice on how to prepare for the interview based on the job ad:

What should you do with this information? Prepare a talking point for each skill mentioned. Make sure you always include RESULTS. Look for how the success of the role will be measured.

“For example, if it mentions that you will need to deliver results in client adoption and engagement and account retention, prepare STAR (situation, task, action, results) stories that speak to this. Invest the time to critically think through job description. This will allow you to share your experience in a way that matches or connects with the role.”

Adrienne Tom, Executive Writer and Career Coach, emphasizes the need to practice answering interview questions you predict will be asked.

While it may feel a little silly to speak to yourself on camera, recording practice of your most compelling answers will help you see what’s working and what could use a little tweaking. While it may feel a little silly to speak to yourself on camera, recording practice of your most compelling answers will help you see what’s working and what could use a little tweaking. 


Now you’ve made it to the interview by following the steps above. This was done with minimal networking. Am I saying don’t network? Quite the contrary; networking is a more effective way to land a job. But, if you’re going to apply online, don’t simply sit by the phone waiting for the employer to call. Take action.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

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.

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.

The ultimate comparison of the résumé and LinkedIn profile: a look at 12 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 a little over 200 characters or slightly more than 35 words. If you want to include a short branding statement, this could be a nice touch.


2. Summary/About

Résumé: 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 consistently reduces companies’ costs 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. Instead of using adjectives, employ action verbs that do a better job of showing rather than telling.

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 and 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.
  2. Similar to your résumé’s Summary, you should list accomplishments that immediately speak to your greatness.
  3. 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.
  4. It is significantly longer. You’re allowed approximately 2,600 characters to work with, which I suggest you use, providing it adds value to your profile.
  5. Finally, you can highlight rich media such as video, audio, documents, and PowerPoint presentations in the Featured area.

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


3. Core Competencies/Key Skills

Résumé: Here’s where you list the core competencies or key skills for the position you’re pursuing. These skills 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

Résumé: 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 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 hiring authorities’ 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. Volunteerism

Résumé: I include this section because it’s a good idea to list your volunteerism, as it shows your willingness to help the community and demonstrates that you’re developing new skills. If you’re volunteering in your area of expertise extensively—20 hours—include it in your Experience section.

LinkedIn profile: This is a place for you to shine, in my humble opinion. The experience you list on your profile can be as serious and strategic as what you have on your résumé; however, you can also be playful. For example, two of my volunteer experiences are about coaching soccer and basketball.


7. 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, they’re not entirely out of the question. For instance, you might have a Volunteer Experience on your résumé, especially if your volunteerism is pertinent to your career objective.

8. 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: The photo and the background image are 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.


9. Articles and Activity

Résumé: Nonexistent. 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.


10. Featured

Résumé: Nonexistent, primarily because this section requires access to links and downloads. Some job seekers will list a URL to their website, which is appropriate for people in the creative fields.

LinkedIn profile: This…feature…is not new; it’s just been enhanced. It previously had no name, but with the update, LinkedIn probably felt it needed to be named, as it wasn’t getting a great deal of play. As such, Featured no longer requires multiple clicks to get to the media you’re showing off.

What can you show off? You can provide links to video through YouTube and other sources; audio through podcasts and other recordings; PowerPoint presentations; documents; links to documents and your books. It’s a pretty cool feature, but is it being used to its capacity?

11. Recommendations

Résumé: Nonexistent, 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 important sections to be 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 highly 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.

12. 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 do, 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.

Write something in your About section to this effect: “If you would like to see how I raised 2MM in revenue for one company, scroll to the bottom of my profile where the project is listed in my Accomplishment section.”

Read How to direct visitors to LinkedIn Accomplishment section.

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 to 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.

The Summary is the loser out of 3 resume sections. More than 2,000 people have voted

Would you have guessed that out of three resume sections—Skills, Summary, and Education—the Summary is the least necessary? I wouldn’t have. So much has been written on how to write the Summary, how to brand yourself, keep it brief, and show your value to employers.

More than 2,000 people responded to a poll conducted on 6/29—2,236 to be exact—and 46% feel the Summary would be the one to go if given the choice between the three sections. The runner up is Education at 35% and the last chosen to be eliminated, the Skills/Core Competencies at 19%.

People of various occupations commented on their choice. They ranged from recruiters, HR, hiring managers, resume writers, career coaches, and job seekers. The people who voted ran the gamut and many of them left comments, some of which are listed below.

Why the Experience sections wasn’t included in the poll

It seems obvious why Experience wasn’t included as a choice of sections to excluded from a resume. After all, isn’t this where you tout what you’ve accomplished or at least the outstanding duties you’ve performed, what employers are most interested in? Pretty much.

And if you ask any busy recruiter, they’ll tell you that the first place they go on a resume is the Experience section, not the Summary, Education, or Skills. Well, Skills is important to some recruiters like Steve Levy, who told me during a recent conversation that this is his go-to section.

If there’s one argument for choosing Experience as least necessary, it would be if the job seeker is a recent grad and their most important section is Education. Even so, most college grads have some work experience during the summer or through internships. This was not a poll option.

Skills/Core Competencies win

I was surprised that Skills/Core Competencies was, in the minds of the voters, the more important of the three sections. Only 19% of voters chose to hack it from the resume if they had to.

Austin Belcak, founder of Cultivated Culture, agrees: “To me it’s the Core Competencies section, Bob. Simply dropping in a skill with no other context provides zero value to the reader.” He uses Data Analysis as an example of how the skill can be misconstrued between two candidates’ resumes.

Biron Clarke, founder at CareerSideKick.com, makes a good point about using skills within the Experience section: “I think you could work around having no Skills section, like Austin said. It’s more convincing to demonstrate your skills in your work experience section, anyway. (Via bullet points showing how you used each skill, etc.)”

Adrienne Tom, founder of Career Impressions, is another one who would eliminate the Skills section, albeit reluctantly: “As always, for me it depends. It depends on both the person and their application avenue. Some job seekers can share some really impactful details in a Summary to hook-and-grab a human reader. Others may need the Skills section or Education section to help with online applications. If I had to pick, I’d be okay with removing a dedicated Skills section and then weaving the skills into actual resume content.

Education comes in second

Education was a tough one for people to cut from the resume. For some, their education means a great deal to them. They attended a top-notch university and want to tout their achievement of completing their degree.

But how relevant is your education unless it is absolutely required for you to secure a position? A teacher at any level comes to mind. But many feel that it’s your experience that really matters, not the fact that you have a Bachelor’s.

Cynthia Pong, JD (she/her) puts it well: “Education would be on the chopping block for me. Where someone went to school can be a factor of many considerations – financial aid, geography, life circumstances – that have nothing to do with whether or not someone can do a particular job well.”

All too often I come across job seekers who are at the top of their game but can’t check off the education box and, therefore, aren’t offered an interview. Is this a way for HR to disqualify candidates from consideration? Perhaps. However, ask most hiring managers if they’d consider someone with experience but sans degree, they’ll take the former.

Summary would be the section to go

And the winner…or the loser is the Summary. This would be the first section to go. There are some well-respected executive resume writers who have said the Summary is no longer necessary. Some believe they add no value to the document, mainly because they’re poorly written.

Ed Han is a recruiter, and he agrees: “All things being equal: I consider the Summary least useful. There I said it. Most job seekers write their own resumes, and the ugly truth is that there’s a really good reason there are professionals who do make a living writing resumes. Many resumes are just not written particularly well, with the worst cases being little more than an excuse for keyword stuffing.”

Another career development pundit, Ed Lawrence, speaks of second-hand information: “I chose ‘Summary’ for this reason—a recruiter once told me he skipped the Summary section because it basically says we are all the best thing since sliced bread. If not for that, I would still be agonizing over Education versus Summary.”

But in defense of the Summary, this is a section of your resume that can clearly display your value statement and what you can deliver to the employer. As long as it’s brief and contains no cliches, I see the Summary as a necessary component of the resume. If done well it can capture the attention of the reader.

The problem with the Summary is that candidates treat it as a place to stick the sparkling words that ring hollow. We’re talking about words like “results-oriented,” “dynamic,” “outstanding,” etc. When someone leads with words like these, I lose all desire to read the rest of the resume.

Have we arrived again at the debate, “Is the Summary dead”? I hope not. I think a well-written Summary can be a great section in which to state your proposed value to the employer, as long as it’s brief, tailored to the position, and contains an accomplishment or two.


The people have spoken

When more than 2,000 people vote, we have a poll. As I said earlier, some of the most knowledgeable resume writers and reviewers have weighed in. Many of them gave excellent reasons for deleting one of the three sections. Some couldn’t choose, or didn’t want to. The fact is that all the three sections are required given most situations, if not all.

Does résumé length matter? A poll and 13 career authorities who say it does

As I was reviewing a client’s résumé, the first thing that stuck me was its length. It was four pages long. It’s not that I’m opposed to a four-page résumé. As I’ve said in the past, “If you have the goods, length doesn’t matter.” And I’m sure many resume writers would agree.

Page length was not my only focus. I also harped on the “so what?” factor. For each action I asked him, “What was the impact of your actions on the organization?” Did he save time, increase participation, improve processes, et cetera? Sure enough, there were some significant impacts.

By the time we were done, his résumé was a healthy three-pager. Are you thinking that three pages is too long? I don’t blame you for thinking that. Based on a poll I created on LinkedIn, the majority of people think a three-page résumé is too long. Who said the debate of resume length is dead?

The 1,007 people who took the poll certainly have an opinion.

The poll question was, “How many pages should a résumé be for someone with more than 5 years of stellar employment experience?” The possible answers were: “one page,” “two pages,” or “two or more pages.”

The clear winner was two pages, garnering 62% of the vote. One page came in a distant second place with 27%, and two or more pages came in last with 11%. I guess I lost big time; I voted for two pages or more. But as I’ve said, “If you have the goods, length doesn’t matter.” To a point.

Note: I also clarify by saying the work history must be within 15-years. You don’t want to go back 30- or 40-years in your work history and, thereby, produce a seven-page résumé or, more to the point, information that isn’t relevant and might reveal your age.


Here are some of the comments people posted with the poll. I hope no one takes umbrage with me for posting their thoughts. Of the 65 comments, I’ve chosen some of the ones that stood out.

Aiming for one page is a good exercise in writing in a targeted way and concisely. However, for many professionals who need a straightforward résumé to convey their qualifications for an area of expertise, 2 pages is sufficient and helpful. And, every once in a while, a 3-page résumé is warranted. (I feel the “boo” coming at me from some people in typing that statement.)

Rachel Akers

Bob McIntosh, CPRW, I completely ditto Rachel Akers. I rarely write a one-page résumé for someone with significant experience. As a recruiter, I always felt like I didn’t have enough info on a candidate for my hiring manager when there was only a one-page résumé. It left way too many questions.

Ashley Watkins

I completely agree with you, Rachel Akers and Bob. Résumé length is different for different people. For many, 2 pages are sufficient, but for some, the content may extend to 3 pages. My executive-level clients often need more, but the content is always strategically selected with the audience top of mind. Ask and answer: “does this detail matter to THIS audience?” If not, remove it.

Adrienne Tom

Agreed. I hate rules when it comes to page length, Bob McIntosh. Each person is different and has different types of experiences. We can’t box someone in with one page just because they have five-years experience. Some of the college/new grads I work with gained so much work experience in and immediately after college that it really breaks the one-page “rule”.

Erin Kennedy

It’s funny, one of the most frequently asked questions of Recruiters is about resume length. I think the answer is: It depends on how much experience you have. For a new grad, one page might be sufficient. For someone who has been in the workforce for years, 2+ pages is fine. Contrary to popular belief, Recruiters and hiring managers want to see details. Also, if we see a candidate that we like, we won’t be counting resume pages!

Cynthia Wright

I concur on page length in terms of capturing the right information, with the caveat to look at who is hiring you. A VP of Operations is likely to be hired by a COO, who is typically focused on details and may prefer multiple pages. Investors, on the other hand, want to see your ROI front and center. A CTO résumé need not take 4+ pages, as that individual will be hired by a non-technical executive. Ensuring the audience gets what they need is critical – and I always look at audience first.

Laura Smith-Proulx

I think it depends. No hiring manager dives into a stack of résumés thinking “Okay let’s find a good one-page résumé person to hire” or “Let’s find someone with the best 2-page résumé to hire”. It just doesn’t work like that. Some people are better off with a 1-page résumé. Some people will sell themselves better with a 2-page résumé. I think it shouldn’t be any longer than necessary, though If you can fit everything that’s relevant/important on one page, then do it.

Biron Clark

This one is a sort of depends answer. I can see a really good résumé for someone with five years’ experience be one page if all the information is very focused on a specifically targeted role. Generally, I would say two pages are okay if the content justifies it.

Shelley Piedmont

In my opinion the length of relevant experience, skills, education, etc are all factors. Generally 1-2 pages is good. I do not believe we should eliminate relevant content on a résumé for the sake of brevity, nor should we ‘fluff’ a résumé to reach two pages. Let the experience and goal drive the résumé.

Scott Gardner

I have operated in this field for many years. I believe you need 2 or 3 pages if you want a 60K Plus job. If you are working in retail. You only need 1 page. If you are Business Professional looking to Market yourself, you need a résumé that is detailed, has main keywords,and is attractive to the reader. I think that 2 Pages is sufficient. Three pages may be overdoing it.

David Dueh Chied III

Biron Clark, depending on the company, and the bandwidth of the recruiter, there just isn’t enough time to really review a complete résumé as it is — let alone make time to read multiple pages. In the end, the goal shouldn’t be to rely on your résumé being your ticket to hire, so don’t obsess over adding in everything.

Robert Liedtka, PHR

“Forcing the situation” to make all the information fit in only 1 page won’t really help the candidate in most of the cases.

2 pages is “normally” a good length to balance the most relevant information and its distribution in a nice way.

I normally think twice about going to the 3rd page – and try only to do it if all the information presented is really relevant and directly related to the next career goals, avoiding really old work experience in different areas, courses done +10 years ago, etc.

Juliana Rabbi

As a recruiter, I think it is short-sighted to hold by old rules. Rather than be constrained by page length, I like to see candidates use space effectively. If you are a seasoned professional – and have a ton of accomplishments that can’t be well articulated in less than 2 pages – then feel free to add that extra page. However, the real lesson is to use the space wisely and ensure you are listing accomplishments (as opposed to just job duties) in a succinct and impactful way.

Heather Spiegel

There you have it; opinions vary on how long a résumé should be. The majority of our experts feel that a two-page résumé is warranted, maybe even a three-pager, but there are some who prefer the one-page résumé due to time constraints. The résumé-length debate hasn’t died.

If you’re curious what some recruiters have to say about the topic, visit this conversations on Recruiters Online Facebook group. Many of them say 10 years is sufficient.