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The Same Resume Advice I Always Give

October 5, 2011

Sure, if you’re my buddy and you’re looking for a new job, I’m happy to take a look at your resume. I’m good at this stuff, and I’ve been told I give good advice. And I kinda like it. So, as long as you aren’t scared by lots of “track changes” (my equivalent of red ink), then send it along.

But before you do, I’m going to tell you the advice I’m going to end up giving you. So, consider saving us some time and do these things first before sending it to me?

1. Tell me a little bit about the kinds of jobs you are looking for, and in layman’s terms what you actually do. Just so I have some context. And remember, the person who may be sifting through resumes may not be the person who would be your boss. Think of me when you write.  (Oh, and read that post of mine. It’s a good one!)

2. Remember that your resume is a marketing document. It’s goal is to get you the interview, not the job. It’s meant to showcase you in a positive light. This is not a legal document. You do not have to list every job you’ve had since “ice cream scooper.”  Avoid large gaps in employment, but don’t go back to your babysitting days if you are nearing 30.

3. Don’t list your job responsibilities and tasks. The employer is going to assume that a cashier “handled financial transactions” and that an agency exec “created presentations for clients.”  Instead, tell me why YOU were the best at the job. How many clients did you win with your presentations? Did you handle so many financial transactions that you won Employee of the Month?

Manage a team? Tell me how many! Increased revenue? Tell me by how much. Give me something to measure, something you delivered, something only you can do that makes me want to put you on my team!

4. Read through your dream job descriptions. Even if they have already been filled. Keep careful note of how they phrase the kinds of things they want done. Keep seeing the words “cross-functional” or “multi-disciplinary?” Does “energetic” or “dedicated” pop up more?  Do they refer to some industry term in a specific way? See how many of those keywords you can (reasonably) mirror in your resume and cover letter.

5. If you aren’t going within the same industry, then drop the industry terms. For example, I spend a few years working in mortgages, but since I’m not going anywhere near the mortgage industry again, you won’t see terms like LTV or HUD-1 anywhere on my resume. “Financial documents” is good enough!

6. Read this blog. And buy this book! Seriously. Whatever you are asking me, I’ve probably cribbed off of Ask A Manager. And I’ve recommended her e-book countless times. It’s seriously worth it. I’m going to end up giving you the link anyway. Save us the time! (Full disclosure: that’s an affiliate link for the e-book).

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2011 4:59 pm

    You and I need to write a book together on etiquette or something.

  2. October 6, 2011 5:09 pm

    What shall we call it?

    “Social Misfits Tell You Shit You Already Know But Don’t Want to Hear”


  3. shawn permalink
    December 21, 2011 12:00 am

    well enjoyed both of your post. But sometimes it is necessary to mention roles and responsibilities as an experienced candidate. This will help an employer to understand the capabilities of a person to work on a particular domain.

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