A recruiter speaks: Stop doing these things with your resume

October 21st, 2014

I read this today on Mashable from a question posted on Quora. How’s YOUR resume?


Things I Wish People Would Stop Doing

by  Ambra Benjamin, engineering recruiter at Facebook, previously LivingSocial, Google and Expedia.

  • Using MS Word’s resume templates: Period.
  • Writing resumes in first person: Exceptions made for people who do it cleverly.
  • Allowing their resume to be a ridiculous number of pages: Unless you are a college professor with multiple published works, you do not need an 8+ page resume. That is not impressive; that is obnoxious. Condense that bad boy s’il vous plait. Also, I do not care that you worked at Burger King in 1988. I mean, good for you, but no; not relevant.
  • Mixing up first person and third person or present tense and past tense: Pick a voice, pick a tense, and then stick with it. I suggest third person and past tense.
  • Listing an objective at the top of the resume: Dude, seriously? This isn’t 1992.
  • Mailing, faxing or hand-delivering paper resumes: Immediate disqualification. Do not pass go.
  • Sending resumes addressed to the CEO end up on my desk unopened: This is a gross generalization here, and exceptions are made for smaller companies, but [generally speaking], CEOs don’t read resumes — not the first pass. Also see above re: paper resumes.


Tools for a More Effective Job Search – Knowledge is Power

October 9th, 2014

Whether you’re an old pro at job searching or jumping for the first time in 20 years, you’ll want to conduct your due diligence about  job search “best practices.” So many things have changed over the years — even the last couple of years. It’s not your father’s job search anymore where you walked in to a company and asked for a job.

So how do you get caught up? Read. Read. And read some more. The Internet is full of articles related to job search strategy. You’ll find conflicting information, so it will be important to use your critical thinking skills to decide what works best for you. To start, the archives of Career Builder offer a myriad of helpful articles:  http://cb.com/1sm5qVy   Knowledge is power.

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Develop a better resume by using a brag book (and better prepare for your interviews too)

October 5th, 2014

It’s time to write / update your resume. What kind of data / metrics do you have ready to include? Did you forget to save your last performance evaluation, monthly sales numbers, customer commendations? It happens all too often.

So here’s the solution: Keep a brag book. The most successful sales professionals do and so should you — whether you are in sales or not.

The well-developed brag book actually can serve two purposes — for the resume, of course, but you can use the brag book for your interview. Talk about making you stand out from your competition! You’ll be miles ahead. The book can:
• Highlight your accomplishments.
• Document the breadth and depth of your educational credentials, training, and professional development.
• Give you support in answering interview questions.
• Provide more depth and credibility to the accomplishments on your resume.

You don’t have to make this a complex project. A blank journal from the dollar store can work. Maybe later, once you get into the swing of it, you’ll want to add artifacts and turn it into more of a portfolio of your career successes. You might then include:
• Certificates of training completion.
• Letters of commendation from clients or management.
• 30-60-90-day plan.
• Photos of activities related to the job.

But for now, just make daily notes in your dollar-store journal about the little successes of the day. What did your customers say about you? How did you rank on the monthly division sales report? Which project (and why) were YOU selected to lead? Make sure you add dates with each entry so you can better keep track.

Now, when you sit down to update your resume, you’ll have data to review and be ready to knock ‘em dead with a killer resume.

Three Little Words — Keep Them Out of Your Interview

June 8th, 2014

I personally interview all my clients before I write a resume. And I’m often saddened by the way they present themselves as they describe to me their strengths and accomplishments. Too many job seekers lack a positive attitude and the self-esteem needed to sell themselves to the next employer.

If I can keep them from using three little words during the interview process, I am confident that they can be much more successful in landing the job. What are they?




“I was just the administrative assistant at my last company.”

“I completed the project on time and under budget, but it didn’t seem to please the customer.”

“I am only proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel.”

Now, read the sentences without those words (and connected phrases) and see how much more impressive the individuals sound.

hands over mouth

Tell your story with confidence and achievement. No one cares what didn’t happen, what you didn’t do nor what you haven’t yet tried.

Please, please talk to your strengths. Brag about the positive; bury the negative. You have been chosen for the interview because you

have offered the necessary qualifications. Sell them.



Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



ATS – Applicant Tracking Systems

March 2nd, 2014

I just finished an informative teleseminar on ATS and feel very confident that I have been effectively applying key word strategy to help my clients obtain the all-important interview. A resume will never achieve 100% match, but customization is important. Here is an article that provides some basic tips for using ATS. http://bit.ly/MGx7Wx

ATS capabilities are expanding, however, making it even more important to read the job announcement and match your resume to the requirements of the position. This includes hard skills, soft skills and location.



What goes into the hiring decision?

January 29th, 2014

I read a blog today by a businessperson who won’t hire people with poor grammar. http://bit.ly/1mYsHWM This got me thinking.

We worry so much about the skills needed for the job, but do we put enough thought into other deciding factors. Discrimination aside, will you be evaluated on your appearance, your grammar, your body language at the interview. You bet.

Be sure to come dressed appropriately for an interview. You’ll never be wrong to over dress a bit. Of course you’re nervous, but try to shake it off a bit and show some interest and enthusiasm during your interview.

And something that I put at high consideration, especially for a customer-facing position, is how you talk. Is your grammar correct or have you fallen into the trendy styles of speech? Work on it. Practice your interviewing techniques with someone in the know.

If the job qualifications were just about the skill sets, they wouldn’t need to talk to you at all.

Job Search Mistakes — Not You, I Hope — Part III

August 11th, 2013

Alison Green, writing for US News and World Report -http://bit.ly/16xuMSz – “8 Errors You Must Stop Making in Your Job Search” makes some very great points and addresses a couple of issues I haven’t heard many experts articulate.

Her number 3.  Scrimping on the cover letter. I took a survey of HR recruiters not too long ago about this very topic. Most of the responses said they didn’t read cover letters UNLESS they needed a tipping point. Here’s the thing, you’ll never be eliminated from the running because you did write a good cover letter; you might be dismissed because you didn’t.big pen little man

Job Search Mistakes — Not You, I Hope – Part II

August 9th, 2013

Alison Green, writing for US News and World Report -http://bit.ly/16xuMSz – “8 Errors You Must Stop Making in Your Job Search” makes some very great points and addresses a couple of issues I haven’t heard many experts articulate.

Here’s my take on #2: Stressing out over elements of your job applications that really don’t matter.Alison Green

I remember the discussion on avoidance tactics from Psychology 101 in college. Oh heavens, of course we want to make a good impression, but I see too many people spending too much time on the small stuff and avoiding the important activities — such as networking and interview practice. In most professions, the small stuff isn’t a big concern for recruiters — it’s more about “Can you do the job? And do it well?” Don’t use the details to hold you back from a successful job search.


Job Search Mistakes — Not You, I Hope!

August 8th, 2013

Alison Green, writing for US News and World Report - http://bit.ly/16xuMSz – “8 Errors You Must Stop Making in Your Job Search” makes some very great points and addresses a couple of issues I haven’t heard many experts articulate.

I think I’ll address each one separately in the next 8 days.

#1. Trying to read into every word or action from your interviewer.

In essence, she’s saying “Relax.” Sure you want to present yourself in the most professional manner, but the interviewer is a human being the same as you. We’ll never know his / her inner agenda fully. And there is always a bit of personal bias involved. If you do your best, it will be recognized eventually. You’ll close the right opportunity when the fit is right — and not every job you apply for is going to be the right fit.

10 Most Over-used Buzz Word on LinkedIn

July 9th, 2013

The “Undercover Recruiter” just reported the most over-used buzz words on LinkedIn for 2012. How effective and compelling is YOUR LinkedIn profile. The summary section is the place where you want to sell yourself, show your value — and your personality. There’s nothing really wrong with using these words, but you don’t want to depend on them to make your case. images

You can tell them you’re creative, but wouldn’t it be better to show them with an example of your creativity and the subsequent impact?

What does “effective” really mean? We all may have a different concept of that word, so show me how you are effective.

And you can be “responsible” for many things, but do you follow through? Do you make a difference?

Describe to me about how you resolved a problem; what did you organize or analyze? And what was the result?

When I read a LinkedIn profile, I want to learn about the real person behind the profile. How does yours stand up?

Here’s the top 10 overused buzzwords on LinkedIn profiles in the United States in 2012:

Extensive experience
Track record
Problem solving


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