~ THE RESUME GUIDE ~
By: Jack King, III
President Newman-Johnson-King, Inc. & AH Justice, Search Consultants.
“Never take advice from people who do not have an economic interest in getting you your next job.”
… ”Even with the best possible resume, in these existing market conditions, you face a sizable and lengthy challenge. We know through 28 years of experience that the resume is “THE CRITICAL FIRST STEP” in the hiring process path. We’ve often seen less qualified, less able people gain an interview in preference over better candidates who took one or more of the chivalrous, damaging approaches listed below. “WE WANT THE RESUME PROCESS TO WIN FOR YOU, AND US,” so, we’re prepared to do the word processing on our end for the quality resume we use in our system. BUT, we don’t do creative writing. If your resume is typical, it can be a weak link that can be overcome.
5 THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT YOUR RESUME:
1. It’s how you’re initially “introduced” to perspective employers. We want the document to make an excellent impression, leading to the desired telephone or face-to-face interview.
2. Limit the number of pages to 3 maximum (full pages are OK.)
3. Create as few questions about your educational and employment history as possible. Again, any missing information that causes a hiring authority’s antennae to go up needs to be addressed in detail ahead of time, in your resume. A big mistake people make here is with gaps in employment.
4. Answer as many potential questions about your educational and employment history as possible. Have a friend or neighbor that knows little or nothing about what you do for a living read your resumes as though they were in charge of reviewing it. Insert any answers to their questions that don’t already appear in an appropriate segment of your resume.
5. Run a spell check and include proper punctuation prior to posting or submitting your resume.
WE’VE THOUGHT A GREAT DEAL ABOUT THE WAY CANDIDATES WRITE RESUMES THAT WILL PROBABLY FAIL. IN THIS REGARD, HERE ARE 11 WAYS TO SCREW UP YOUR RESUME:
- Omit your dates of employment and use other than a chronological – most recent position first – resume. Omit your titles, full company and division names, and city / state addresses. Use other than a standard letter page. Choose an odd size, odd colors, lots of columns, scripts, photos, tabs, and artwork. Devote 2 lines to your most recent experience, and go into much detail about the years that the employer cares least about – those 10 or 20 years ago. Do a five-page resume filled with gaps or time lapses, which definitely raise questions about your whereabouts and stability.
2. Omit your degree(s), award date(s), and GPA(s). This assures the Nay Sayers (most resumes are initially reviewed by HR not to find the right candidate, but to eliminate those deemed not right, in the readers opinion) that you are, at best, 70 years of age or specifically avoiding your degree information. Raise suspicions and mistrust. Disregard the career safety of the one reading your resume. Cause she/he to guess that only 2/3 of your career is reported.
3. Speak in generalities or be cryptic and you’ll probably never be chosen for the interview. Invitations to this process now go to those resumes having significant detail about the specifics of materials, processes, markets, applications, products, and techniques a candidate used. Interviewees are selected based on specific words / industry jargon. If you make sure IT, or TQM, or ASME, or PE or product or process descriptions are omitted from the resume, it will fail.
4. Continue to believe that a good resume for a 10-year plus professional is two pages long; and a great one is one page. (See above regarding content; etc. Cryptic was relatively true in the 1980’s, - but false now – fact, not theory!!)
5. Forget your accomplishments. To really do a poor job, report them in brief, non-quantitative, sweeping prose giving little information about how the accomplishment was achieved, or what positive impact derived. Facts of one’s real merit and worth will successfully be lost to all.
6. Use an objective – particularly one which shows lofty, long-term goals which cause the reader to think “...he/she wouldn’t be interested in our opportunity... it’s too small; etc. (Objectives are tools used most often by initial readers to disqualify candidates.)
7. List functional responsibilities and / or accomplishments in a general section at the beginning or end of the resume instead of under each company and title. This is a great technique for keeping the reader totally in the dark about the timeliness and setting for the items, information that is critical to judge the context, currency and critical mass of experience. Your real merit is highly discounted with this style resume presentation.
8. Save the really good stuff for the interview … that will probably never come (it went to the candidate who articulated facts in detail in the resume and seemed credible, relevant and meritorious.) Also omit from the resume direct, laudatory comments about you made by superiors in your performance reviews.
9. Assume that readers know, exactly, all there is to know about the details of your experience as soon as you name a product, market, company, division, or whatever. Stand so close to the forest that you cannot see the trees and you will fail as a communicator.
10. Ignore your own “red flags” (short tenure, frequent changes or “demotion”). Do not address them. Give the reader reasons to go to the next resume (the stack is HUGE).
11. Disclose references on the resume, compromising oneself and losing control of the reference process. If you attain an interview, you’ll be reminded before going that you must contact each reference you expect to use to assure they are specific advocates, and understand, in real time, your goal.
THE SAMPLE RESUME WE RECOMMEND:
Full Legal name
Current home address
Home Phone number
Award Date Degree Major Institution Location (City, St.) GPA
Month/Year – Month/Year CURRENT CO. NAME (Parent/Div./Subsid, etc.) Location (City, St.)
A one-line description of Co. size, products and/or services provided.
A full, detailed and descriptive account, in the third party personal (e.g. no I’s or me’s) of duties and responsibilities, product(s) involved, processes, number of reports, followed with recent accomplishments or major contributions, adding percentages, dollar amounts involved where applicable. A full description of relevant industry acronyms as they appear in the resume, (i.e. JIT Just-In-Time) and where possible, any recent, positive employee evaluation comments.
Account for all time since High School and for all your employers in the same format as above. Leave your memberships / associations / affiliations / for the end of the resume, but make them salient to your professional objective. We much prefer your having additional details about your current and most recent duties and responsibilities, rather than half a page or more about hobbies / interests / activities.
Do not take advice from anyone in regard to interviewing with perspective employers, creating a “winning” resume or any other factors that will affect achieving your career objective, if that person or company has no viable economic interest in your gaining and accepting the next offer of employment.
Your feedback regarding this Resume Guide is welcome and encouraged.”
© Jack King, III 1989