Tag Archives: resumes

Job seekers, 5 steps to connecting with people at your desired companies

I tell job seekers in all my workshops that research is key to their job search. I’m being redundant, but it’s true and worth repeating. The time you put into research will be a tremendous return on investment.

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Many believe that the first thing they must do after losing their job is updating their résumé. Having done this, they’re now prepared to respond to positions posted online. Good plan? Not really.

It would be far better to be proactive in your job search by approaching companies for which you’d like to work. To do this, will require research. Here are five steps to take when making connections at your desired companies.

1. Discovering which companies are growing the fastest is the start of the job search. This should be your first step, yet so many people don’t realize how valuable this information is.

I tell job seekers that they should have a list of 10-15 companies for which they’d like to work. Many don’t; they have a hard time naming five. Yet if some of them were asked to name their top five restaurants, they could.

2. Once you’ve located the companies you’d like to researched and decided which companies are the ones for which you would like to work, you should dedicate a great deal of your computer time visiting their websites.

Study what’s happening at your chosen companies. Read pages on their products or services, their press releases (if they’re a public company), biographies of the companies’ principals, and any other information that will increase your knowledge of said companies.

Your goal is to eventually make contact and meet with people at your target companies, so it makes sense to know about the companies before you engage in conversation. This research will also help when composing your résumé and cover letter and, of course, it will come into play at the interview.

3. If you don’t have familiar contacts at your favorite companies, you’ll have to identify new potential contacts. You might be successful ferreting them out by calling reception, but chances are you’ll have more success by utilizing LinkedIn’s Companies feature.

LinkedIn’s Companies feature is something job seekers have used to successfully make contact with people at their desired companies. Again, research is key in identifying the proper people with whom to speak.

Most likely you’ll have first degree connections that know the people you’d like to contact—connections who could send an introduction to someone in the company. These connections could include hiring managers, Human Resources, and directors of departments.

Let us not forget the power of personal, or face-to-face, networking. Reaching out to job seekers or people currently working can yield great advice and leads to contacts. Your superficial connections (neighbors, friends, etc.) may know people you’d like to contact.

4. Begin initial contact with those who you’ve identified as viable contacts. Your job is to become known to your desired companies. Will you be as well known as internal candidates?

Probably not, but you’ll be better known than the schmucks who apply cold for the advertised positions—the 20%-30% of the jobs that thousands of other people are applying for.

Let’s face it; going through the process of applying for jobs on the major job boards is like being one of many casting your fishing line into a pool where one job exists. Instead spend your time on researching the companies so you’ll have illuminating questions to ask.

So, how do you draw the attention of potential employers?

  • Send your résumé directly to someone you’ve contacted at the company and ask that it be considered or passed on to other companies. The risk in doing this is to be considered presumptuous. As well, your résumé will most likely be generic and unable to address the employer’s immediate needs.
  • Contact someone via the phone and ask for an informational meeting. This is more acceptable than sending your résumé, for the reason mentioned above, but takes a great deal of courage. People these days are often busy and, despite wanting to speak with you, don’t have a great deal of time to sit with you and provide you with the information you seek. So don’t be disappointed if you don’t get an enthusiastic reply.
  • Send a trusted and one-of-the-best-kept-secrets networking email. The approach letter is similar to making a cold call to someone at a company, but it is in writing and, therefore, less bold. Employers are more likely to read a networking email than return your call. Unfortunately, it’s a slower process and doesn’t yield immediate results.
  • A meeting with the hiring manager or even someone who does what you do continues your research efforts. You will ask illuminating questions that provoke informative conversation and ideally leads to meetings with other people in the company. At this point you’re not asking for job, you’re asking for advice and information.

5. Sealing the deal. Follow up with everyone you contacted at your selected companies. Send a brief e-mail or hard copy letter asking if they received your résumé or initial introductory letter. If you’ve met with them, thank them for their time and valuable information they’ve imparted.

Send your inquiry no later than a week after first contact. For encouragement, I suggest you read Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. It’s probably the most recommended books on networking in history and for good reason.

Ferrazzi goes into great detail about his methods of building relationships through networking, while emphasizing the importance of constantly following up with valued contacts.


People in the career development industry never said finding a rewarding job is easy. In fact, the harder you work and more proactive you are, the greater the rewards will be. Take your job search into your own hands and don’t rely on coming across your ideal job on Monster.com, Dice.com, or any of the other overused job boards.

Your job is to secure an interview leading to the final prize, a job offer. But your researching skills are essential to finding the companies for which you’d like to work, identifying contacts within those companies, and getting yourself well-known by important decision makers.

 

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The 5 steps recruiters use to select the best résumés

This year my son wanted a Christmas tree, despite the fact he’s allergic to them. I was game. Besides, we know this great tree farm that isn’t well known by other Christmas tree buyers.

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(You may skip this story and go right to the 5 steps recruiters use to select the best resume to present to hiring managers, if you’d like.)

My family and I arrived at the tree farm and weren’t surprised by the sparse group of people eager to find their Christmas tree.

Looking up the hill I saw nothing but rows and rows of Christmas trees and a few people, some with dogs, walking through rows of those trees. No one was in a hurry. Why should they be in a hurry?

You might think I was excited to see such an abundance of trees, which at a glance all looked the same. You are correct; I was thrilled to find the perfect tree to take home to our living room.

However, as I got closer to the trees up on the hill, I noticed that they weren’t all perfect. In fact, some of them were pretty bleak with their pine needles turning brown, and their branches missing here and there. In other words, this was going to take work.

What I began to think about was how this mass selection of Christmas trees resembled the mass selection of résumés recruiters get for one job. How they have to sift through all those résumés in order to select the ones to submit to hiring managers (HM). Here are the five steps they must take.

First, reduce the number of résumés to be read

By now you’ve heard about the applicant tracking system (ATS) and understand its purpose, to eliminate as many résumés to read as possible. Simply stated, it screens résumés for keywords and phrases. Those without the proper keywords don’t make the cut.

To give you an idea of the sheer number of applicant for each job: according to Jobvite.com, nearly 100 résumés are submitted for professional positions and 150 for other entry level.

The ATS effectively eliminates 75% of résumés submitted for a position, but even reading 25 résumés can be a burden. (Read 10 reasons recruiters and hiring managers dread reading résumés.)

Second, read the 25 out of 100 résumés chosen by the ATS

Even after the résumés have made it through the ATS, recruiters will take approximately six to ten seconds to read each one to determine if it’s worth a second view.

Recruiters’ job is to look for résumés to disqualify from consideration, rather than qualify them for consideration. It’s a process of elimination. Résumés that make the cut are placed in the “must read” pile.

Third, read the résumés in the “must read” pile

A closer look tells recruiters if the résumés have what it takes based on:

  • Readability: the résumés contain short paragraphs, with no more than three or four lines. Important points are bulleted. Important text is highlighted in bold to stand out from the rest of the text.
  • Accomplishments stand out: they are measurable with numbers, dollars, and percentages. Executive résumés, according to Laura Smith-Proulx are quantified.
  • Shorter is better—two pages—but I’ve spoken with recruiters who will read three- even four-page résumés. The more pages, the easier the ATS to see you, my dear.
  • Demographics: Determine if the applicants’ demographics fit the role. Does he live close enough to the company? Does his work history show too much or enough years of experience? What size companies has the applicant worked at?

Fourth, determine which two, three, or four résumés to submit to the hiring manager

The recruiter’s reputation is riding on the best candidates to submit to the HM, so the résumés must impress him. He must be sold on the candidates’ accomplishments, which must be relevant.

For example, although a candidate has outstanding accomplishments as an individual contributor—increased revenue 80% by generating business in uncharted territory—but the job calls for a person with management experience, he probably isn’t a good fit.

Personality fit is also key in the recruiter’s decision. But how does the recruiter see candidates’ personality in a résumé? It’s not an easy task for the job seeker to accomplish, but a résumé that demonstrates a human voice without use of fluff and cliches is preferred.

The use of personal pronouns is typically frowned upon, but when used sparingly can emphasize the job seeker’s skills and accomplishments. By sparingly I mean used only in the Performance Profile section.

Fifth, defend the recruiter’s choice to the hiring manager

A well written résumé should not be difficult to defend. After all, it has passed the ATS, the six-second glance, a more extensive review, has presented relevant accomplishments, and has given the recruiter a sense of the job seeker’s personality…as best it can.

But the résumé is a document that can’t reveal as much as the interviews conducted by the recruiter, HR, and the hiring manager. This is a the first step in the process, albeit a very important step. The recruiter must sound convincing when she presents her decision to the HM, perhaps second guessing the choices she’s made. Let the interviews begin.

Back to the story: The Christmas tree our family chose was one of the best in our family’s history. It was the ideal height and width. It only shed a few pine needles. But my wife wondered aloud if the short needles would be as good as the longer needles.

To me, it was a Christmas tree that we selected together. Was it perfect? No, but what is?

10 reasons why recruiters and hiring managers dread reading a résumé

bored womanHere’s a fact: Very few people like reading résumés, especially those who read hundreds of them a week. Ask any recruiter or hiring manager (HM).

I critique and write résumés as part of my job. I’ve read hundreds of them and have conducted numerous critique sessions, but I’ve got nothing over recruiters and HMs.

The only bright spot in this whole process is reading a résumé that doesn’t give me a sharp pain between my eyes, one that is relatively sound. A résumé that is outstanding—now, that’s a WOW moment.

Once you understand that recruiters and HMs are not dying to read your résumé, you can focus your attention on writing one that pleasantly surprises them, one that prompts them to recommend you for an interview.

To entice them into inviting you in for an interview, you must avoid making the following mistakes:

1. An apathetic approach to writing your résumé. Don’t let your apathy show in the quality of your product, which shouts, “I’m not into writing a résumé because I’ve got better things to do.” This results in typos, spelling errors, and grammatical mistakes.

This sentiment comes across loud and clear from people who feel this way. They resent having to write a résumé and would prefer others to do it for them. Do not rely on others to write your résumé; it’s your responsibility.

Note: if you simply can’t write your own résumé, be sure that you hire someone who will take adequate time to interview you and get to know what you’ve accomplished in your career. Read this post on having a professional write your resume.

2. Your résumé is a tome. It’s a five-page document consisting of every duty you performed within the past 25-years; and it’s so dense that the person reading it puts it in the “don’t read” pile simply because it’s nearly impossible to read.

I recently glanced at a résumé that resembled what I’ve just described. I made no false pretense and simply put it down after two seconds saying, “I can’t read this.” My customer nodded with understanding.

3. And it’s hard to read. Make your résumé easy to read by writing short paragraphs, no more than three or four lines. Shorter paragraphs allow the reader to grasp important information easier. I’m also a fan of using bold text to make words for phrases stand out.

Remember that recruiters take approximately 6-10 seconds to glance at your résumé to determine if they will read the rest of it. Thus your résumé must grab their attention quickly. Make sure they see the accomplishments within those six seconds.

4. It lacks accomplishments. I know, you’ve heard this a thousand times. But it’s worth repeating because you want to stand out from the rest. Recruiters and employers relate to quantified results with dollars, numbers, and percentages. Many people mistakenly think accomplishments should only be highlighted in the Experience section or under Career Highlights.

One or two of your accomplishments should be stated in the Performance Profile. Develop processes that improve operations and result in double-digit revenue growth.”  A statement like this is meant to grab the reader’s attention. This assertion must then be backed up in the Experience section with explicit examples and dollar amounts.

5. It includes clichés or unsubstantiated adaptive skills. The rule is to show rather than tell. Yes, you may be innovative; but what makes you innovative? Did you develop a program for inner-city youth that promoted a cooperative environment, reducing violent crime by 50%? If so, state it in your profile as such.

Recruiters and hiring managers can see fluff a mile away. They’re turned off by words like “dynamic,” “results-oriented,” “Outstanding,” “driven,” and other clichés.

6. Failing to show recruiters and employers what you’ll do for them. Recruiters and employers don’t want to know what you did; they want to know what you can do. You’re probably thinking, “If my work history is in the past. That’s what I did. How do I show employers what I can do?”

It’s what we in the field call prioritizing your statements, or targeting your résumé to each company to which you apply. In other words, illustrate how your qualifications and accomplishments match the employers’ requirements in order of importance.

7. You don’t know what recruiters and employers want. Many people don’t take the time to dissect the job ad to discover the most important skills and experience the employer wants to see on your résumé. If the ad is skimpy, go to the company’s career section on its website.

Better yet, if you know someone at the company or know someone who knows someone at the company, call him/her and ask more about the position. LinkedIn is a great tool for finding influential people at companies. The bottom line is that you can’t write a targeted résumé if you don’t understand the requirements of the job.

8. You lack keywords and phrases. As CareerBuilder.com points out, keywords are the skills applicant tracking systems (ATS) search for to determine if your résumé will be the first of many to be read by recruiters and employers.

Your branding headline, much like the headline on your LinkedIn profile, is the first place on your résumé where you’ll utilize keywords. Then you will make sure they’re peppered throughout the rest of your résumé.

9. Your resume isn’t smart phone friendly. For you Millennials this should be no problem, as you go nowhere without your iPhone or Android. (I’m the same way, even as a Boomer.)

The job search is increasingly used more on the go, rather than at a computer, so your résumé (stored in Dropbox) must be legible to recruiters and hiring managers. Recruiters and HMs want your résumé fast, so don’t disappoint them.

10. You apply for a job for which you’re not qualified. I know the urge to find a job, any job, is great; but don’t waste the time of a recruiter, employer, and you by applying for a job for which you’re not qualified.

You may think there’s an inkling of hope that you’ll get an interview. But if you have only five of the 10 requirements necessary to do the job, there really is no hope. And this can be determined within the first 10 seconds of reading the résumé.

A woman in HR recently related this story to me, “I received a résumé in a USPS photo envelope (heavy duty mailer) certified mail.  The résumé is on lovely cream-colored card stock, beautifully formatted. The problem, she is applying for the Assistant Town Accountant position and for the last 10 years she has been a dog groomer.”


These are but 10 faux pas you must avoid if you want to write a powerful résumé that is enjoyable to read and gets you a spot in the hot seat. Once you’re at the interview, you’re one step closer to a job offer.

Photo: Flickr, ssunnymorgann

Job Search Tip #3: Assess your skills

Last week we looked at assessing your work values. Now we’re going to look at assessing your skills.

When asked at the interview about your greatest strength, you’ll most likely respond by talking about one or two of the three skill types: technical, transferable, or adaptive (personality). You might address your expertise in C++, market analysis, team building, or innovation, for example.

Of course the best policy is to talk about skills that relate to the job at hand. In other words, if the company or organization is looking for someone strong in communications, customer service, and Oracle, these are the skills you’ll highlight, providing you’ve demonstrated them with accomplishments.

The same strategy applies to writing your tailored résumés and cover letters, and your LinkedIn profile. Your emphasis will be on the skills required to succeed at the position for which you’re applying.

Assessing your skills. Knowledge of your skills is not only import in succeeding at the interview or when writing effective job-search documents; you’ll highlight them when networking and sending follow-up letters, as well as preparing your elevator speech. It’s important that you know the difference between the three skill types and can talk to them with conviction.

Technical skills are absolutely required to do the job. Let’s say you aspire to be a marketing manager. Technical skills for this occupation include, but are not limited to:

Product Marketing

Retail Brand Management

Pricing Distribution

Account-Based Marketing

Transferable skills are universal: If you think any job can be performed with technical skills alone, you’re sadly mistaken. (You’ll notice that the list above is shorter than the subsequent lists. Your transferable skills are necessary, if not more than your technical skills. 

When thinking about your transferable skills, think about them completing the thought, I can….Here is a list of transferable skills considered important in general, but by no means is it conclusive. 

Knowledge of Basic Marketing Principles Communications Skills (Listening, Verbal, Written) Analytical
Managing Priorities Management Multicultural Sensitivity/Awareness
Collaboration Strategic Thinking Motivating Others
Problem-Solving Research Coordination
Computer/Technical Literacy Planning Reasoning
Organizing Project Management Presentation

Adaptive skills define you as a person and worker. How would you describe your work habits? What makes you a fit in the company? The answer to these questions has a great deal to do with your adaptive skills. In fact, some employers rate these as some of the most important skills, yet some jobseekers disregard them.

You might describe yourself as a team builder who consistent, fair, insightful, and others supporting personality skills. When thinking about these skills, thing about them completing the thought, I am….Here are some common adaptive skills:

Intelligent Leader Have Vision
Honest/Moral Adaptable/Flexible Tenacious
Dependable Creative Loyal
Positive Motivated/Energetic/Passionate Professional
Self-Confident Diligent A Team Player

From this limited list of transferable and adaptive skills chose the ones that best describe you and are most important to what you do, and also what the employer seeks in his/her next employee. Keep in mind that your transferable and adaptive skills play a major role in shaping you as a productive employee.

Next Friday we’ll look at revising or writing your résumé.

Our obsession with numbers; approximately 1 to 20 ways to succeed or fail

numbersI think people have a fascination with numbers, percentages, and dollars. I do. I know that 88% of the time I spend is productive and the other 12% of the time is wasted. I’m cool with that, but I don’t know how to explain it. It’s good that I’m at least getting a B+ in life. I spend approximately $3 a day on coffee, which is about 2% of what I spend weekly. So that’s not too bad. I read 25 pages of a book before I drift off to sleep—any less, any more, I’m up all night.

What is it about numbers that fascinates people, that makes their claims legitimate? Does it make the abstract concrete? Often we base success and failure on numbers because numbers give us something to grab, or understand better. No one really knows how many ways there is to write an effective résumé, except employers that choose people for an interview. Here is a look at numbers that get thrown around, including by me.

Interview numbers: I tell my workshop attendees that 99% of the time an employer will allow them to take notes at an interview. They must think I’m pulling this number out of a hat. I’ve been to approximately 25 interviews in my life, and at all interviews I was allowed to take notes. There must be some interviewers who don’t allow note taking.

LinkedIn Summary numbers: Your LinkedIn Summary allows you 2,000 characters. Did you know that? I once proposed to my customers that utilizing 90% of this space makes for an excellent Summary. That’s fine, but how does one use all 1,800 characters if one doesn’t have 100% compelling content? How do you retract a dumb statement like this? This is how hung-up on numbers I am.

Résumé numbers: I may believe there are 5 ways to write a résumé that will get you invited to an interview. But somewhere I heard there are 6 and another source cited 10. Does the person who claims there are 10 know more than the one who alleges only 6?

Somewhere I read that only 50% of recruiters read cover letters. Is this a known fact or a guestimation? If that’s true, then a jobseeker will waste 50% of her time writing a cover letter for all the positions to which she applies. This boggles my mind. I say to cover all your bases.

Networking numbers: Sixty percent of most jobs are gained through networking; however, more than 80% of executive-level jobs are a result of networking. Or is it 85%? When people ask me how effective LinkedIn is in getting a job, I’m tempted to say, “If used in conjunction with personal networking, your chances of getting a job is 80%.”

Did you also know you must contact a person 7 times before that person becomes a bona fide network connection? Again, how was this figured out? There are several connotations associated with the number 7, including biblical references, but I doubt you’d have to call or e-mail someone before you’re officially connected.

Getting-a-job numbers: Richard Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute, places a 4%-10% success rate on applying for jobs online. Because he is the guru of the job search, I believe him and tell my customers to focus their energy on other methods, e.g., networking, using a recruiter, knocking on companies doors. I say this because Bolles attaches numbers to his claim. Yet I’ve heard many customers say they got their interviews from Monster, Dice, SimplyHired, Indeed, etc.

My personal formula for getting a job is 60% personal networking + 20% online networking using LinkedIn + 6% applying online + 14% doing something else = 100%. These are good odds, don’t you think? The problem is, everyone’s different, so this can’t be proved.

I was tempted to title this entry, “10 reasons why numbers mean nothing.” But as I thought about it, I realized that there is some merit in numbers. For example: Your chances of getting a rewarding job are 0% if you use the sitting-on-the-couch-and-hoping-for-a-job-to-land-in-your-lap method. Zero percent of employers will be impressed if you send a résumé and cover letter written in crayon. Zero percent of jobseekers will get their dream job if they arrive at an interview dressed in just their underwear. So these are safe numbers to cite.

Note of apology: This writer acknowledges that there are many great authors who cite numbers in their entries, and hopes not to offend those who do. Henceforth, this writer will cite numbers whenever appropriate.

5 things to consider for an interview; it’s not all about the hard skills

Recruiters and staffing agencies are not only concerned about job candidates’ hard skills; they’re also concerned about their soft skills. And this makes sense. Who would want to hire a dud who brings the operation down with his attitude? Jon Prete, “Who would you hire: Charlie or Ashton? It’s all about attitude!” and Jeff Haden, “The 5 Biggest Hiring Mistakes,” both emphasize the importance of hiring someone who will be a good fit.

This said, how should you prepare for the job search with this in mind? Here are five areas of your job search to focus on.

Be the round peg for the round hole: “The outstanding salesman with the incredible track record of generating business and terrorizing admin and support staff won’t immediately play well in your sandbox just because you hired him,” writes Haden. Let’s face it; if you’re difficult to work for, you have one strike against you already.

Look at yourself long and hard and determine what areas in your personality you might improve. Also determine in which work environments you feel most comfortable. If you’re a demanding person with little tolerance, you might consider an atmosphere with other demanding people…where you can’t terrorize other people.

Show it on paper: Many jobseekers say writing about their soft skills on their résumé and in their cover letter is irrelevant. This is bunk, especially with your cover letter. I don’t suggest that you use clichés like, “hard worker,” “team player,” “dynamic.” I suggest you illustrate these traits through your accomplishments. Show rather than tell.

A Manufacturing Manager who has a team-work approach and leadership skills might write: Consistently met production deadlines through collaboration with colleagues in various departments and providing effective leadership to (formerly) unmotivated subordinatesResult: Products were shipped to customers with a 97% return rate.

Talk about your soft skills while you’re networking: “I hate bragging at networking events,” I’m constantly told. “Nobody wants to hear about my personal qualities.” Yes they do. If someone is going to recommend you to a solid contact, wouldn’t you like to be assured that she will tell him that you loved what you were doing; you were a positive influence on you co-workers?

Demonstrate your enthusiasm while you’re networking, whether at events or on the sidelines of your daughter’s soccer game. Instead of saying, “I’m innovative”; say, “I came up with ideas that were often implemented and led to significant cost savings.”

Of course demonstrating your soft skills at the interview is important: This goes without saying. Interviewers today are using behavioral questions to find the people with the right attitude. “If crafted properly,” states Prete, “behavioral questions can provide a glimpse into a candidate’s decision-making process as well as their values. [Leadership Development Advisor, Beth Armknecht Miller] believes that a great majority of employees fail in a company because their soft skills and values don’t match those of their manager and company.”

Unlike the résumé where you have limited space, the interview provides you the platform to tell your stories using the STAR (situation, task, action, result) formula. You may be asked about your ability to effectively discipline subordinates. “Tell me about a time when you were effective in disciplining an employee. How did this help the employee perform better?” Have a story ready.

Seal the deal: The interview is not concluded until you’ve sent a follow-up letter, I tell my workshop attendees. This is another opportunity to emphasize your strong personality skills, making you a better fit for the position than other applicants. Many jobseekers fail to send a thank you note, and some don’t get the job for that reason.

A former customer recently wrote me, “The HR person really liked my hand-written thank-you note; said it was rare.” The message here is that you can stand out as a courteous, professional, and follow-through type of candidate simply by sending a thank-you note.

Jobseekers generally think that recruiters and staffing agencies care only about the technical skills. (After all, recruiters can’t present a zebra with orange stripes to their client when a zebra with black stripes is called for.) But two recruiters are telling you that employers want a great personality fit, as well. Take their advice and sell yourself as an all-around employee from the very beginning.

When giving advice to jobseekers, remember to keep an open mind

If you are going to advise jobseekers on how to properly conduct a job search, please do them a favor; get over yourself. That’s right, remember it’s not about you; it’s about giving your listeners options and opening their minds to possibilities.

Occasionally I’m told about speakers my jobseekers hear at  networking events who speak from one point of view, their own. One speaker told the audience that he never reads cover letters. Because he’s an eloquent speaker, an accomplished recruiter, I’m willing to bet everyone in the room left thinking, phew, I don’t have to write cover letters anymore.

Recently I heard of a hiring authority who said she prefers one-page résumés. Now, I know she was speaking for herself, but immediately following the presentation, one of my jobseekers rushed to tell me she was changing her résumé to a one-pager. I spoke with her and we agreed that she had enough experience and accomplishments to warrant a two-page résumé. Further, we agreed that she should construct a one-page résumé. I don’t have anything against one-page résumés, but different situations call for different types of résumés.

A job coach once told me that he doesn’t think job candidates should go to interviews prepared; rather they should go in and wing it. Better to be relaxed than all hyped up, he reasoned. Screw the research, right? He also tells jobseekers that cover letters are a waste of time. He never got a job using a cover letter, so what’s the sense for all jobseekers to write them.

We tend to give advice based on our experience, sometimes forgetting there are other points of view, other ways of doing things. I’m guilty of doing the same. In my mind a cover letter is a compliment to one’s résumé—you write one that’s tailored to each job for which you apply. But I also get that that some recruiters don’t read them. To some, cover letters are fluffy narrative that aren’t worth the paper (or bytes) they’re written on. My advice is to send a cover letter unless specifically told not to.

I realize that one-page résumés are preferred by some hiring authorities. Hell, I’d rather read a résumé that tells it all in one page. But some people have significant accomplishments that simply can’t be covered in one page. Nonetheless, I show my Résumé Writing workshop attendees an example of an excellent one-page résumé that consists of one hundred percent quantified accomplishments. I have an open mind.

Some jobseekers can go to an interview having not researched the company or position for which they’re applying and do quite well. They’re loose and confident. They have the gift of gab. I have to admit that I’ve never suggested an alternative to preparing for interviews, but perhaps I should…nah…prepare your ass off.

I cut my jobseekers a little slack when I explain the ways they can write their LinkedIn profiles, particularly when it comes to the summary. I like one that’s lengthy, written in first person, and tells a story. Others suggest summaries written much like a résumé’s. Not for me, but who’s to say what works best in certain situations. I’m sure hiring managers in the technical fields like things short and sweet. I tend to be long-winded. Can’t you tell?

Look, your advice is probably sound, but there’s more than one way to skin a…bad analogy. Just present sound options and let the smart jobseeker decide what’s best given the situation. Let’s face it, if there were only one way to tell people how to find a job, we’d be rich people. Or we’d be out of work.