Good with Chemicals

No you didn’t…

Experience

2008 2010 XYZ Construction Construction labor, framing, cleaning, anything the boss told me to do.
Skills
framing, hard worker, catch on to things fast. Theres not much I can’t do

2011 2011 City of XYZ Lifeguard Watching kids in the pool and dealing with pool chemicals. Keeping the pool clean.
Skills
Good with chemicals and filling out paperwork.

2007 2009 Walgreens Stock, Cashier, Clean-up Did everything in that store. Cleaned, maitenance, cashier, stocked shelves, you name it.
Skills
Good with people and money.

Why Should I?

Why should you write your own resume?

Plain and simple: because it’s not you talking on that resume if you pay someone else to write it (or if you’ve convinced your nice recruiter friend to write it for you). And it’s quite obvious that you didn’t write it when you’re in an interview. Things just don’t match up – the level of experience documented on the resume doesn’t match what you say about your background.

The best example I have of this is when I was interviewing a candidate and I asked him to tell me about the projects he worked on from a previous employer. He leaned forward in his chair, looking at the resume I had in front of me, and asked “which company was that?” He honestly had no idea what was on his resume and this trend continued through the rest of the short-lived interview. (Nope. Didn’t hire him.)

I had another candidate on the phone, had a great conversation with him, he was personable, knowledgeable in his field, and in general a good fit for the role. Then he sent me his resume…

  1. It was aiming for an executive level look for someone who has worked in lab/engineering settings most of his career
  2. It was so busy with boxes and tabs and certification logos all over the place I didn’t even know where to start
  3. It had quotes from past managers on it (not the place to include accolades – save that for reference letters and LinkedIn)
  4. His actual experience was buried 4 pages deep (you know, the actual “meat” of a resume and what I’m looking for)
  5. Everything was in a different font, different size, and even different colors
In short, it was the most distracting resume I had ever seen. It also didn’t match up with the great conversation we just had. No way could I present this resume to a hiring manager! Luckily for him I had talked to him before seeing this mess so we still continued in the interview process – after he did some rewriting on his resume.
I’m not saying there aren’t some great resources out there to help you write a resume – even ones you have to pay for. What  I am saying is make sure you are taking responsibility for your own resume. It will sound like you and it will be genuine. Make friends with some recruiters that are in your industry and ask them to take a look at your resume – they are the ones with hands on experience – they see, everyday, what hiring managers are looking for in candidates and they have hundreds of examples. And then – added bonus – they usually have jobs or know of who is hiring and who to talk to.

Awesome or Terrible?

The jury is still out but I kind of think this resume is awesome. I plan on getting in touch with him if for no other reason but to tell him how much I liked his resume. I’d also like to see what it is he does and what he’s looking for… and after all, isn’t that the point of a resume?

Robby Slaughter

Although I have said that a resume is not the place to establish your sense of humor (which I still stand by), there is that exception to every rule. You just have to be able to carry it off and then of course, back it up when you are contacted. The problem is, most of us are not half as funny as we think we are (all fingers pointing at myself here).

I would also think that this guy knows exactly what he wants and I wouldn’t contact him for a typical, run of the mill job. But I would bet when I do talk to him he’ll be able to articulate to me exactly what he is looking for.

Any takers on that bet? What do you think of the resume?

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!