Job Search Tip #47 – Your resume!/Full-review-your-resume-or-CV-and-advice-for-changes/p/50288854A resume is not about you.  It is about how you can solve that particular company’s particular problem.  It needs to be full of the appropriate keywords and phrases, your PAR statements and dragon-slaying stories.  It must show how you have solved other companies’ problems and how you can solve this one. 

If all of this does not leap off of the top half of the first page and into the lap of the person reading it, you won’t get a second chance.  Most job postings bring in over 100 resumes and only 1 meets the top half keyword bar.  It should be yours!

Do you have a complete list of your skills and expertise?

your skills and keywordsWhat are you good at?  Do you have a list of all your skills?

This is not a résumé, rather it is just a private list, organized or not, of the things that you know you can do.  It can serve you as a way to build a résumé, but even more, it can keep you from getting too down on yourself in the midst of the job search.

Perhaps you might want to keep a stack of 3X5 cards in your pocket or a file on your phone where you just record each skill as it comes to you during your day.

We are all much more talented than we usually give ourselves credit for.

Do you have this list?  Not just in your head but on paper or the computer?

If you have it in a spreadsheet, you can add columns like: “Want to do this in my next job” or “I like this”. Then grade them and sort.  Now you know what skills to look for in job descriptions.

Pick a really strong skill.  How can you use this skill in your job search this week?

20 minute webcast here

Are You Polishing Your Resume?


Are you polishing your resume?  Perhaps even “over-polishing” it?

Most people, when faced with a possible job change, spend a great deal of time and energy polishing their (single) resume.  This can be like a cancer that uses your energy and results in nothing good.

A resume is a piece of advertising, a piece of marketing collateral, designed to get you an interview at one particular company.  The same resume cannot be used at multiple companies because each company has a slightly different need, uses slightly different words and needs to be approached slightly differently.  So keep your online presence and profiles up-to-date so it is easy to produce a resume for that particular company!  Keep an ever renewing list of your current skills and the ones you want to use in your next job. Keep notes on the companies you want to work in so you can track their “jargon” and needs.

You will need a new, 2 page resume for every job you apply for.

Need some help?  Here is a podcast with more information

Or consider 30 minutes of private coaching

Ten Secrets of a Successful Résumé

resumesGuest Blog by Pam Condie


The most important thing to keep in mind when building a résumé is its purpose:  answering the employer’s need for you to solve a problem he/she has that can’t be solved with his/her current staff.  That is the employer’s only interest in you.  Focus your résumé to answer his/her question.  That is what will get your foot in the door for a job interview.

  1.  Make your résumé long enough to tell your story but tell it succinctly.  There is a myth out in the ether that a résumé will not be read if it is longer than one page.  Wrong!  I have seen many résumés that had the life edited out of them because they were squeezed into a single page of small print – not appealing to the hiring manager.
  2.  When I worked in human resources I often found that hiring was a messy, frequently changing process.  Cover letters and résumés could get separated, particularly if we had received many responses to a job opening.  Be certain that all pages of your résumé as well as your cover letter have your name and contact information in the footer of each page.  At the bottom of your first page write “continued on next page” if you have a second page.   Otherwise the reader will not know if you have finished writing or if he/she should look around for a missing second page.
  3.  As they teach in accounting classes, “Check your work, check it and check it again.” Check for spelling and English errors.  A careless error can turn a reader off and damage your credibility as someone who pays attention to details.  Don’t depend on a software spelling feature to catch all mistakes.  The engineer who wrote the program was most likely not an English major.
  4.  Most human beings are lazy readers.  Be kind to them.  Make your font 11 or 12 point.  Smaller fonts are harder on the eyes.  Larger looks amateurish.
  5.  Times Roman is the most popular font in the US and allows more information per square inch than most others.  Pick it or one that is neither unusual nor fussy looking.  Keep things simple.
  6.  Since most people resist reading, especially reading long sentences and paragraphs, divide your résumé into smaller batches of information to invite the reader in.
  7.  The objective is the first piece of information at the top of the first page. A clear objective helps the human resources department track your document more easily.  It answers the employer’s question, “What do you want from me?”  Keep the objective brief, to the point and possibly slightly broad, i.e., “Director of Sales.” Keep in mind that you have an electronic copy of your résumé and can tweak the objective if you need to for other job openings.   (Connie disagrees with the use of objectives and feels you should have 3-5 bullet points that show the things that you can do, and like to do, that the employer needs for this job. Louise Goeckel, Let’s Go, suggests a headline like “Director of Sales known for _________ with talent in ________.”)
  8.  The first third of your first page is the most valuable real estate on your résumé.  The latest study shows that recruiters spend a maximum of six seconds screening your résumé for further review. State your case there in a career summary, the snapshot of your career.
  9.  Unless you are in the field of education, medicine or diplomacy or you are a new graduate, your education goes near the end of your résumé. If you had a college minor subject or a scholarship or an academic honor, do include it.
  10.  Community activities are nice to include at the end of the résumé. They demonstrate industry and the physical and mental energy for a balanced life. Be careful of mentioning activities with controversial groups here.  You never know where people’s prejudices lie in spite of what they say. (Connie disagrees.  Only include if you KNOW that the hiring manager does the same thing.)


Pam Condie is a former HR person and a Certified Professional Resume Writer who works with people from all industries to clarify and write their next resume.  She can be reached at

Want an Unbeatable Résumé? Read These Tips from a Top Recruiter. – Forbes

Want an Unbeatable Résumé? Read These Tips from a Top Recruiter. – Forbes.

Kerry HannonKerry-Hannon_avatar_1452180055-400x400, Contributor at Forbes, has written an excellent article on resumes and job search in general.  I highly recommend reading this.

What do you think?

Remember that a resume is not really about you – it is about how you can solve the problem/need that the company has.

If you need some one-on-one help with this, book a time here.


What is a resume?

A resume is a summary, a sketch, not your curriculum vitae or your whole life on two pieces of paper.  Here is what some people think is the difference

handshake19The whole purpose of a resume is to get the hiring manager interested enough in what you can do for him that he will contact you for more information and to see if you are a “fit” for the job, the company and the team. 

Yes, what you include in your resume is important, as are the words you chose to use to describe your actions, but it is as important to eliminate fluff, wordiness and irrelevant topics.  It has to be short and answer the question – why should I hire this person?

[ tweet this! “A resume is a piece of advertising designed to get you an interview!”]

A resume is a piece of advertising.  And the more tightly you can target it to that particular hiring manager, the more likely you are to get the interview. 

You have to answer the hiring manager’s “pain”.  Why is he going through the pain of posting and interviewing when he really wants to be getting the job done?  What has he run out of that he needs to buy it from you or your competing candidates?  How can you supply him with the answers he needs to know that you are the one who can make his pain go away?


What does the hiring manager really need? 

When you agonize over your resume or, alternatively, have someone else write it for you, you are thinking about yourself and not about that hiring manager.  It is as if you want to go to the prom, get all dressed up and then go stand outside the door, waiting for someone to invite you. 

Do you know what you have to offer that hiring manager as well as what he needs.  Can you speak his language? Use it when you talk about how you already fixed that problem (for someone else)? Describe how you can do it again, perhaps even better since you have learned more about it.

Make it easier to write your resume/advertisement!

Dragon Green

Dragon Green (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Resumes are notoriously hard to write for yourself because you don’t have the list of words describing what you have done.

Don’t start with adjectives, start with verbs.  What tasks have you accomplished?  What did you do? 

I love PAR statements.  Some call them dragon-slaying tales.  Describe the problem (what was the name of the dragon)?  What action did you take?  (Which tools did you use and how did you approach the dragon?  How did you slay it?)  Then what happened?  What result was achieved?  (Did the villagers go on to harvest more than they could eat in two decades?)  What are your dragon-slaying stories?

Click here for help with your PAR statements and dragon-slaying stories


revised 4/19/17

What Should Be in YOUR Resume?!/Full-review-your-resume-or-CV-and-advice-for-changes/p/50288854

Companies need people with specific skills to accomplish specific tasks.  If you try to write one resume to send to every company or any job, you won’t be as desirable as the person who “nails” the needs of that particular company and team in that particular resume.


If you need someone to review your specific resume for a specific job click here

Your Resume is NOT About You

A resume is not about you.  It is about how you can solve that particular company’s particular problem.

No company hires unless they have a problem or situation that they can’t fix with the people they are already paying.  It may be that they need someone to duplicate what is being done because they have run out of time, or it may be that they need someone with a different skills set.

Resumes get about 6 seconds of “eyeball” time.  Next time you are watching a commercial on TV or at the movies count to 6.  What did you learn about the product? Does it “speak” to you?  YOU get those 6 seconds to convince the resume reviewer (who may NOT be the hiring manager) that you have what they need.

So what do they need? Do you even know what problem they have?  If the position is an entry-level job, not managing, not in research or development, then probably the problem is that the people who are doing this job simply don’t have the “man-hours” available to get it done.

If it is a new position or even a replacement, then the company has a situation/problem that needs more than just “butt in the seat” or even “hands at the bench”.  What problem is it?  Can you solve it?  Do you want to?

We all have dealt with problems that we hope never to see again.

If this company has that problem, it probably is not a good fit for you.  Why waste your time trying to get the job?  If you can see that it is not a fit, what makes you think that the hiring manager won’t see it? And if you were to get this job, how long will you and the manager be happy?

How can you format your resume so that the things you know the company needs, that you know that you can do, that you know that you want to do, stand out on the top half of the first page of your resume?  Everything after that (“below the fold”) is simply proof that you can do those things.

The company is not interested in your career objectives.  They don’t care.  They just want to know that you can do the job that they need to have done.  And they want to know that you have done these things in the last decade.

Need some help with this?  Click here

Do You Use These Alternatives to Your Resume?


revised 4/19/17


Which resume template?

resumeThere are over 13 million sites with resume format templates, so obviously there is no one right way to present your skills. 

Some of these sites want you to build your resume on their site so they can sell the product to recruiters in a resume database.  Some are built into MS Office or Google Docs. 

Since your resume is not really about you and is not your whole life on two pieces of paper, what is it for? 

A resume is a lure to get the hiring manager to want to speak with you, first on the phone or a video call and then in person.  It is a piece of marketing with an “invite me to speak to you” call to action. 

So what does your perfect hiring manager need to know to want to talk to you?  Of course it depends…

It depends on what industry you are in, what job you are applying for, what problem the hiring manager is trying to solve and what format works best for him/her. 

Graphics industry jobs need to have a very graphic resume, not a template, so that you can prove your graphics abilities.  A sales position needs numbers.  A professor needs a CV with all publications, books, chapters, etc.  A marketing person for a life science company needs to demonstrate real understanding of the industry as well as marketing acumen. 

But all of them will stand out much better if you know what problem the hiring manager needs to solve and the language, jargon or technical terms he prefers to use to describe it. 

As a recruiter, I prefer to receive resumes that include the name and contact information in the body of the document, not in the header or footer.  However, if you think that the resume will be printed out, putting your name and contact info in the footer of the 2nd page is not a bad idea.

You want the most powerful reasons for the hiring manager to want to talk with you to be on the top half of the first page of your resume, whether or not you use a cover letter. 

So ask yourself what the hiring manager really wants and needs to know.  What can you do for him?  What problem does he have that you have solved and want to solve again?  He doesn’t care what your career objectives are; those are your dreams.  He wants to know if you can help him reach his own dreams. 

After “hooking” him with 3-5 ways you can solve his problem(s), you need to prove it by showing (in reverse chronological order – latest one first) what you have done for your previous employers (that have to do with the hiring manager’s problem(s).  This also serves as social proof – someone else has benefited from your expertise and you learned even more there.  Show career progression and how you are now the master of solving his problem.

Some HR people want to see that you have all the requirements posted in the job description on the top half.  You do need to get past the applicant tracking system and HR to get your resume to the hiring manager’s desk if you apply through their website, however, it will be the hiring manager who decides who gets an interview.  If you get asked by the hiring manager or someone on his team for your resume, then having the right keywords is even more important.

The second page of a resume gets even less attention than the first page, usually just a glance to see if you have the degree required.

It is not until your resume is being compared, side by side with someone else’s that it is looked at carefully.  The first review is to eliminate the “off-target” ones.  

“Functional” resumes and other forms used to disguise your age or your unemployment time will not actually accomplish those tasks. They will make the first reviewer have to work harder to see if you are a fit for the job.  If you make the reviewer work hard, the resume will go to the bottom of the stack.  It is better to simply focus on your PAR Statements and “dragon-slaying stories” and be able to address the unemployment or “experience”.  Confidence is very attractive. 

While you must absolutely include only the truth about your experience, you do not have to include all of it. 

Ten years is usually the most you need.  If the job you are applying for is most related to what you did more than ten years ago, it may not actually be the right job for you.  You may need to look at the position again to see what problems you can solve that you have solved more recently. 

Once you do get to the interview, your resume will be used as a notepad by the interviewer.  So do leave enough white space and margins for note-taking.  Remember that most hiring managers are over 40 so don’t use tiny, hard-to-read fonts.  Do take a spare resume (printed on nice paper) to the interview with you.

Other than these points, it really doesn’t matter if you use one format over another as long as they are clearly laid out and easy to read.  

Remember that your resume is the last step before the interview.  Don’t forget the previous three steps!

Need a quick review of your resume?  Click Here!

What words should I use in my resume?!/Full-review-your-resume-or-CV-and-advice-for-changes/p/50288854Since you have your online Profiles filled out and are using both keywords and skills & expertise in it, you have a good start on your resume. 

You have written your PAR statements and have a chronological list of your jobs which you keep privately on your computer.

You have recorded the words your networking partner at each company used to describe their problem(s). 

You have been asked to submit a resume or your job finally showed up online at the companies you had on your watch list. 

Now is the time to write a resume for that particular job at that particular company. 

Start with your name and contact information, of course. Do I still need to say “Make sure your email address is professional”?

Don’t bother with an “objective” as your resume (unlike your profiles and PAR statements) is not about you.  It is a piece of marketing collateral that speaks about that particular company’s problem and how you can solve it; plus proof that you have done similar things before.

So start with 3 to 5 bullet points about the things you know are issues for the company that you know that you can do and that you want to do. 

Use the notes you took to decide which of the items in the position description (if you have one) are the issues that the team is really concerned about.  There are always seven ways to say something.  Use the way that your networking partner from that company used. Make these full sentences, not single words or phrases.

If you are applying “cold” to an online job posting, be sure to print out the position description first and highlight all the keywords used in it. Use those in your bullets and PARs. This allows the Applicant Tracking System to “see” the “fit”. 

Then list each of your titles and dates you held them along with the name of the company and a short statement about what they do (or did).

Below each position, use one of your PAR statements.  Tell the story of what you were hired to do, how you did it and the outcome.  Use the language from your notes for that company or language from the position description.  Use first person sentences…”I was hired because XYZ company needed someone to….”

List your awards, publications, and education at the bottom.

By using that company’s language or jargon, you are proving that you are a member of their “tribe”.  By translating the PAR statements from another company, you are provided proof that you can do these things because someone else hired you to do them.

Don’t use words that this company didn’t use unless you are certain that they would have if you had asked the right questions. 

Make your suitability simply leap off the page.  Don’t make the reader hunt for it and then have to translate it.