What Motivates You?

I love the drawing in this video but what they say about what motivates us is right on the money.

How does this relate to you as a job seeker?

  • Know what motivates you
  • Be able to communicate your motivators to recruiters and hiring managers
  • Be honest about your motivators.  We’ll find out if you’re lying eventually and then you’ve just burned a bridge




Don’t Do It

It is far more interesting and entertaining to discuss what you should NOT put on your resume than what you should have on it (don’t worry, I’ll get to that too – however, with a large dose of common sense you should have a pretty good idea what should be included).

Let’s get to it then friends.

  • Don’t lie.

  • No pictures. Would you like to know what happens when we get pictures on resumes? We show them to everyone else in the office and giggle. I’m always curious to know what the objective is when people include these mug shots.
  • No hobbies or interests. I do not care that you are a loving father of 4 or have a collection of hair dolls. It’s called a private life for a reason.
  • This is not a good objective statement: “I am interested in providing my services to an innovative company that will allow me to leverage my extensive technical skills.” This is why it’s bad…First thought in my head “What the hell does that mean?” How am I suppose to know what’s innovative to you? How do I help you “leverage your experience”? And what exactly are your “technical skills”?!
  • No unexplained employment gaps. Were you on sabbatical? School? Running for President? You’ll have to explain at some point, better to put it on your resume so we don’t discount you before we call you and you get a  chance to explain.
  • No references listed on your resume (I would even go so far as to say don’t even put “references furnished on request” – you’re looking for a job, it’s a given you should have them).
  • Spelling and grammar. Read it, read it again, and then read it a third time. After that, give it to someone else to read. Having a mistake like this will cost you a job (yes, I really did see this on a resume):

ABC Company

Window Washer 5/09-5/10

Power washed windows

Cocked windows

  • If you list out your skills make sure they are relevant to the position you are applying for.

This is by no means a definitive list; just a small compilation of what should be glaringly obvious but for some reason is constantly forgotten when it’s time to write a resume.


What do I put on my resume?

I get this question a lot from friends, family, and people I interview. There is so much advice out there and opinions on what should or should not be included. Who’s to say what is right or wrong? Let’s be honest. It’s all pretty subjective when it comes down to it.

Ok so that’s it. Peace out kids and good luck…

Yeah right. Like I don’t have an opinion on this. I read thousands of resumes a week. You bet your ass I have an opinion!

First let’s tackle the format.

Stop formatting your resume with some preset layout you downloaded off of MS Word! I don’t care how organized you think it looks. I hate resumes in these blocked off layouts. Inevitably, I have to edit something on the resume and I can’t if it is in this format.

Do this instead. Open a blank Word document (I hate PDF’s even more than I hate layouts) and put your name across the top. Hit enter and start typing.

This is what I like to see:

  • Your name
  • Some form of summary/ list of qualifications/objective
  • Your professional experience listed in chronological order, most recent first, with the MONTHS and the YEAR(S) you worked there – people who don’t include the months look like they are trying to hide employment gaps
  • Education and Certifications
  • Contact information in a footer at the bottom – phone number, email, city and state – no need to include your address. We don’t need it. Point of putting it at the bottom? A recruiter wants that information – why not make them drag their eyes all the way through your resume to get to it? Who knows what might jump out at them on the way down.

As for length – it all depends on where you are at professionally. No, your resume does not need to be 1 page long if you have been a working professional for 10 years. I sincerely hope you have more experience than what 1 page will hold. General guideline:

  • If you are a new graduate with internships and summer jobs under your belt – absolutely keep it to 1 page
  • If you’ve had 2-5 professional jobs – 2-3 pages are acceptable although if you are getting to 3 full pages you might want to make sure you aren’t including too much in the descriptions. If it’s because you’ve had 8 jobs in less than 5 years you are going to need to be able to concisely explain your job hopping (example – were they all contracts? Include that information on your resume).
  • Over 5 years of experience I really don’t keep track of how long your resume is. Just make sure it is content rich.

Up next: content of the resume. Stay tuned!

Don’t Be Rude

Phone etiquette. It’s funny to me that  we all use the phone daily – by the hour – by the minute – literally attached to at all times – and yet so many  people fail miserably at it.

Let’s break it down here. First of all, if you are looking for a job, interested in hearing about new opportunities, are always looking for the next best thing then you need to have a number where you can be reached.

Your  number should be on your resume and any other forum a recruiter/hiring manager will look at – if you are worried about privacy issues then get a Google Voice number – it’s free – be sure to turn off call screening because it will drive people nuts.

Please answer your phone – don’t screen. Yes, we know you’ve screened us when you call back exactly 2 minutes later.

Answer it professionally – giving your first name will not immediately move you up to the #1 slot as a hacker’s next target – they need a little more information than your name and phone number to do any damage.

Can’t seem to stress this enough –  don’t be combative and suspicious with the person who called you.  You posted your resume and contact information on the internet – we didn’t stalk you.

Once you’ve made it through the greeting you’re going to need to have some answers ready to some basic questions that will be asked. What opportunities are you pursuing right now? Are you interested in relocating? Salary range? As a job seeker, you should know these answers offhand. When I ask these questions and get dead air or “I’m looking for a job developing in C#.Net” I can’t help but roll my eyes. I have your resume in front of me, I get that you are a developer. You’re going to need to give me a better answer than that. As for dead air… if you don’t know what you’re looking for how am I suppose to know if what I have is going to be a good fit?

End the conversation professionally, make sure there is a plan of action in place, and verify the recruiter has your contact information.

Bonus! One of my biggest pet peeves – people answering their phones when they are in a meeting, busy at work and can’t talk, or are in a place where they can’t conduct a conversation professionally (grocery shopping). Most recruiters will leave a message and more than likely follow-up with an email. Let the call go to voice mail and call back in a timely fashion. I would prefer that than a frustrated person answering the phone and telling me (as if I should know) that you’re in a meeting and can’t talk because your boss is sitting right next to you! You know you have your resume posted, you should know better than to answer an unknown number when you know you won’t be able to talk.

Oh the Pressure!

There is just too much pressure for my “very first blog post” so I’m going to revert to character and post something funny.

My favorite interview clip from You, Me, and Dupree. One of the best things about my job are the unbelievable gems that come out of people’s mouths during an interview.


It was brought to my attention that as funny as this clip is I should also include a couple of pointers on interviewing. Carrie Lewis (aka Recruiting Geekette) just posted 3 fantastic blogs about interviewing you should definitely check out but on my end, here are 3 things you should avoid doing during an interview:

  • First interviews – with a recruiter or the potential employer – don’t ask about vacation time or how many hours a week you will have to work. You would think this is common sense but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve been asked this. It is however 100% ok to ask about this when there is an offer pending or on the table.
  • Don’t stare combatively at me. This is not a battle you just entered, it’s a conversation between you and I. I’ll do everything in my power to make you comfortable but if you are leaning back in your chair with your arms crossed things will not go well.
  • Please do not volunteer information I have no business knowing about. General rule of wrist (Boondock Saints) if I can’t legally ask you the question to that answer then you shouldn’t be offering it.