Recently in Resume Tips Category

Tuesday March 26, 2013

Resume Red Flags--Ten Reasons Your Resume Gets The Cold Shoulder

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If your resume has been floating around in cyber space without a nibble from prospective employers your frustration level has probably reached all-time high. There could be identifiable reasons your resume is getting ignored. Here are ten top resume red flags and what you can do to prevent them.

  1. Your resume presents a zig zag career path.

    If your resume jumps around professionally you'll be seen as unstable and a high risk to employers. It's up to you to show the continuity of your career path. Don't expect employers to understand why you moved from sales to accounting to project management. They won't see the value in your breadth of skills. Emphasize the transferable skills you've used throughout your career.

Read more: CrossRoads - Resume Red Flags--Ten Reasons Your Resume Gets The Cold Shoulder
Thursday April 26, 2012

Dealing With Education On Your Resume

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Countless jobseekers ask us the question of how to portray education on a resume if they have not finished their degree. One of the most common pain points for a job seeker is the feeling of going up against myriad other job seekers with more degrees, more professional training, more completed courses - you name it.


In fact, our 30+ years have taught us that when it comes down to the finish line, practical, hands-on, on-the-ground experience trumps theory every time. Does that mean that education isn't valuable? Absolutely not! Your degree will give you just one more rung on the belt, especially if it is in your field.

Having said this, here are some tips to keep in mind when discussing your education - both on and off your resume.

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Wednesday February 1, 2012

One Resume Technique Makes You Stand Out

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A Human Resources Manager, working at a Fortune 500 company, asked for my help in writing her resume. She told me: "Thousands of resumes have passed through my hands but when it comes to writing my own I have a difficult time doing it." She isn't alone in her concerns. Most people find resume writing challenging. A resume is nothing more than a slick piece of advertising, but an important piece, especially in today's job market.

Employers report that most resumes get only a 15-20 second glance. If you don't capture the reviewer's attention and interest quickly they will pass you by and call in someone else for the interview.

Resume Tips.jpg There is one effective technique that you can use that dramatically improves your resume. In our national survey of 600 hiring managers, the overwhelming majority said the most important part of your resume is the SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS section. Employers reported that this was one of the very first areas they read and when the summary demonstrates solid ability to perform the job it catches their attention and they slow down and give the applicant more careful consideration.

Hiring managers also reported only about 5% of resumes received contained this key section, and I never write a resume without it. It's just too powerful to leave out. This section usually consists of four to six sentences that present an overview of your experience, accomplishments, talents, work habits, and skills. Think of it as a mini-outline of you; a highly influential summation of the specifics you bring to the job.

Here is a good example from one of the resumes I wrote for a client:


Proven track record serving as corporate counsel with eight years experience dealing with intellectual property and partnerships in a global environment. Responsible for a broad range of legal matters including: copyright and trademark protection, contract negotiations, compliance, and litigation. Led legal team in completing sophisticated joint venture negotiations that delivered millions to the company's bottomline. Recognized for superior problem-solving, project management, relationship building, and strategic planning skills.

It's easy to see by reading this brief summary how this candidate is qualified to perform as a corporate attorney. Indeed, she got several interviews and accepted a Fortune 100 company's offer, which included a very significant salary raise and signing bonus.

The SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS, which speaks volumes by consolidating the best you have to bring to the job, really makes you stand out and pulls the employer in for a closer look. Be sure that your resume has this essential section. It comes right after your name, address and career objective. One caution -- employers complain that many people lie on their resume. Exaggeration! Misrepresentation! LYING is a deadly error. Don't do it! Employers do more background checks now than ever before so when you get caught, and sooner or later you will get exposed, you'll likely be fired. Only solid facts and verifiable experience should highlight your experience and accomplishments.

- Robin Ryan

Career Counselor and Best-Selling Author

America's most popular career counselor, Robin Ryan, is the author of four bestselling books: 60 Seconds & You're Hired!, Winning Resumes, Winning Cover Letters, and What to Do with the Rest of Your Life. She's appeared on over a thousand TV & radio shows including Oprah, Dr. Phil, and has been published in most major newspapers and magazines including USA Today & the Wall Street journal. Contact her at 425.226.0414; email:

Copyright 2012 Robin Ryan. All rights reserved.

Tuesday July 19, 2011

New Resume Tips for Older Workers

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Dear Joan:

I have recently been laid off and I find myself having to write a resume for the first time in many years. I have a solid background and good performance but I'm paralyzed by the prospect of having to look for a job.

Resume Tips.jpg I have always gotten my jobs from a connection to someone, or someone approached me. Now I have to go looking. So my question is what do I need to know about doing a resume? I know times have changed (I last did a resume in the early '80's) but I'm clueless about how to do one now.

Could you give me some tips?


A two-page resume is okay.

You have plenty of experience, and trying to shrink it down into one page is going to squeeze all the juicy bits out of it. Instead, devote at least half-to two-thirds-of your resume to more recent experience. The rest of your experience can be abbreviated. You can go to three pages but that should be the limit.

Start with a summary of what you have to offer the company.

In the past, candidates used "job objectives" but that is geared more toward what the candidate wants from the employer. Instead, reverse this and show them what you can offer them.

You can also do a bullet list of your top skills and abilities in this "Summary of Experience" section. But be careful about listing too many details about how many years of experience you have. For instance, why not say, "More than twenty years" experience in X" rather than "thirty years" experience in X" Twenty years establishes you have the experience and credentials, without hitting them over the head with "thirty".

Use results-oriented language.

Because resumes are usually scanned electronically, words such as "team-player," "enthusiastic" and "self-motivated" don't mean much, and just take up space. Instead, use words that site specific, quantifiable accomplishments that are tied to the actual job posting. For instance, the size of your budget, the amount of sales you had, the customer satisfaction scores you raised, the market share you increased, etc. Even if you don't have an obvious way to measure results, find ways to quantify your results. For instance, "95 percent of my assignments were referrals from satisfied customers."

Don't list every job you ever had.

Employers will instantly label you "too old" if you go back to the first job you had forty years ago. A twenty-something recruiter could be put off by jobs you held before she was born. Fifteen years is a good amount of history to talk about. If there is something really critical to mention before that, you may be able to list it at the top of the resume in the Summary section. And don't feel that you must list every single job...if you only worked somewhere a year, or nine months, skip it, unless the experience is important.

Be careful about dates. Don't list the dates you graduated from school. It doesn't really matter. Don't list the exact months you worked somewhere (such as "Ten years, two months"). Years are fine.

Be careful listing your skills if they aren't special.

For example, if you say, "Proficient in Word" or "Familiar with Outlook" you will look like a dinosaur. Everyone is familiar with the standard business software. And interests and hobbies run the risk of dating, or stereotyping you, too.

Volunteer work and self-employment count, even if they aren't paid.

For example, if you've been making and selling jewelry from a small home business, it may be the perfect thing to showcase--it can show your enterprising, creative and business skills. So what if you didn't make a lot of money doing it? If your customers went from 30 to 60, you can say "Increased customers by 100% in one year."

-Joan Lloyd

Joan Lloyd has a solid track record of excellent results. Her firm, Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding. This includes executive coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, customized leadership training, conflict resolution between teams or individuals, internal consulting skills training for HR professionals and retreat facilitation. Clients report results such as: behavior change in leaders, improved team performance and a more committed workforce.

Joan Lloyd has earned her C.S.P. (certified speaking professional) designation from the National Speakers Association and speaks to corporate audiences, as well as trade & professional associations across the country. Reach her at (800) 348-1944,, or

About Joan Lloyd

Joan Lloyd & Associates provide

Joan Lloyd's management, career & job hunting tools

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© Joan Lloyd & Associates, Inc.

Thursday June 16, 2011

Resume Objective Statements as Powerful Brands

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Turn Ho-Hum Resume Objective Statements into Powerful Brands

Other resume objectives don't work for the following reasons:

  • The objective statements are generally too vague and do not provide the reader with enough information to determine whether or not there is a fit.

  • Most objectives are "me" oriented where the focus is on what the job seeker wants in a position as opposed to what he could offer.

  • Most resume objectives sound similar, making it difficult for the reader to differentiate between candidates.

  • A resume objective does not allow for the flexibility you need to highlight your selling points.

On the contrary, a profile statement:

  • Is a decisive, informative paragraph that provides a quick synopsis of your background.
  • Tells the interviewer the characteristics and job-related skills you have to offer.
  • Is unique in that the statement showcases your unique accomplishments rather than generalized phrases that could apply to anyone.
  • Examples of Boring Resume Objectives, Followed by Powerful Statements

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Tuesday April 12, 2011

5 Resume Tips: Do What Most Job Seekers Don't

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When it comes to writing a great resume, there are no hard and fast rules or specific formats that you should adhere to; however, your resume should be targeted to each specific job that you are applying to. In addition, it must be concise, clear, command attention and stand out from the pack.

Include a Title for the Job You Want

Use a professional title for the position that you want. An improper job title will only serve to position you at a level far below the responsibility or salary level you are seeking to achieve. Including a job title can greatly increase the number of interview calls that you get for higher positions and improve your chances of clinching a higher salary - and when you start at a higher salary, your career growth is also accelerated.

Include an Executive Summary (what you can do for them) - Not an Objective (Me-focused)

An executive summary should be clear and well defined, consisting of a short paragraph or four to five bulleted points. It should focus on how your skills can benefit the employer, not on what the employer can do for you. Using action words will help to convey you as an intelligent and active individual capable of making contributions to accomplish company goals. Highlight your strengths and achievements clearly and quickly. Recruiters and hiring managers want to see information that is to the point, and hardly have time to dig for buried nuggets of information hidden in your resume.

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Thursday December 2, 2010

Don't Name Your Resume, "Resume"

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...And Nine Other Head-Smacking Tips for Jobseekers

At Software Advice, we're hiring like mad, or at least trying to. You might think a growing company with interesting jobs, great pay, top-notch benefits and a cool office would find hiring to be a breeze in a recession like this. Nope.

We want A players on our team - we have 19 so far. However, we typically sort through about 150 candidates for each hire we make. Only about twelve of those 150 candidates get to a first-round phone interview.

Why so few?

Resume Tips.jpg It's not worth our time to interview any more than that. The incremental effort of interviewing more than twelve out of 150 candidates produces a very low marginal yield of qualified hires. There may be a superstar hidden in the other 138, but it's not worth our time to dig too deep to find her. Yes, we look at each application, but we do so with an eye for why we should reject the candidate, not why we should hire them. That quickly gets us to roughly a dozen interviewees, and then we switch our mindset to start thinking about who we want to hire.

With that as context, I want to share some of the screens I use to whittle down 150 applications to twelve interviews. I'm not talking about the usual hiring criteria; yes, we absolutely look at experience, achievements, academic credentials, etc. That's all core and critical. Instead, I'm going to talk about the head-smacking, silly things people do that make me click "reject" in our applicant tracking system (ATS).

One more bit of context: our typical hiring profile is a recent college grad, zero to five years out, looking for a sales or marketing job. Keep that in mind. Here goes:

  1. Don't name your resume, "resume." About a third of applicants name their resume document, "resume.doc." "Resume" may make sense on your computer, where you know it's your resume. However, on my computer, it's one of many, many resumes with the same name. I used to rename them, but then I noticed the strong correlation between unqualified candidates and the "resume" file name. Now I reject them if I don't see something really good within ten seconds. By using such a generic file name, the applicant misses a great opportunity to brand themselves (e.g. "John Doe - Quota Crusher"). If you're qualified enough to sell or market for us, you won't miss the opportunity to at least use your name in the file name.

  2. Don't use all lowercase. I'm not sure where this trend originated. is it some text messaging thing? it's so easy to capitalize properly on a keyboard. how much time is this really saving you? to me, it screams out, "hi. i'm lazy. my pinkies are really heavy and I'd rather not move them to shift. when i start working for you, i'll look for other ways to be lazy. i'll also rebel against authority figures like you, just like i'm rebelling against the english teachers that dedicated their lives to helping me become literate." seriously though, this bad habit buys you next to nothing and is bound to offend countless detailed-oriented hiring managers.

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Tuesday October 12, 2010

Which Cola Does Your Resume Brand You As?

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As top Cola brands fought to capture and sustain market share in an oversaturated soft drinks market, some very valuable marketing and branding lessons surfaced. What we learnt from the "Cola Wars" was that the fittest brand did not always thrive. On the contrary, ultimate success was the result of a shrewd branding strategy, one that truly differentiated the product from the crowd of "me too" competitors.

To combat 9.5% unemployment and competition from 14.6 million unemployed individuals, professionals and executives, too, are applying cutting-edge branding strategies to position themselves as a notch above the competition. When it comes to branding individuals, a resume is much like marketing collateral; it must be written in a compelling manner to position the candidate as the perfect solution for the employer's needs.

Consider the following tips to create a brand-driven resume:

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Wednesday October 6, 2010

Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Resume

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Does your resume stand out? Will employers quickly see you are the one to do the job? Your resume has less than 15 seconds to capture an employer's attention according to our national survey of 600 hiring managers published in the book, "Winning Resumes". You must also incorporate effective keywords or the electronic search tools will never put you on the hiring manager's screen. Resume writing is a critical skill to advancing your career so here are some of the top survey results to follow.

  1. EMPHASIZE RESULTS! This was #1 with all surveyed employers. Accomplishments get attention, not just job descriptions. State the action you performed and then note the achieved results. Include details about what you increased or decreased. Use numbers to reflect, how much, how many, and percentage of gain or reduction. Stress money earned or time savings. For example: Managed the project implementing a new tracking system that resulted in a 17% decrease in cost overruns, saving $200,000.

  2. SPECIFICS SELL. Vague, general resumes don't cut it, employers say. Target each resume to the job sought. Incorporate only the information pertinent to doing that specific job title in the resume. This will alleviate the tendency to crowd your resume with too much non-related information, or too much detail on jobs more than ten years in your past. Start each sentence with a descriptive action verb such as directed, organized, established, created, planned, etc. as they add powerful impact to your sentences.

  3. DO NOT LIE! A USA TODAY survey of executives stated that over 50% tried to exaggerate their skills, which was almost always uncovered during interviews and reference checks. Lying resulted in candidates not getting the job, or worse, being fired once the fraud was revealed. Employers are on the lookout for this misrepresentation so be as positive as possible without exaggerating or misstating the truth.

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Thursday August 26, 2010

Give Your Resume a Youthful Makeover

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Despite the desirability of experience as a "wish list item" on any hiring manager's checklist, job seekers, especially those over forty, often fear losing out to their younger competitors. Notwithstanding protection from anti-discrimination laws, a few creative strategies can transform your resume into a powerful document that not only showcases your hard-earned experience, but also downplays the age factor ("A-Factor").Resume Makeover.jpg

As a career coach and professional resume writer, I work with thousands of accomplished professionals and executives, some with over three decades of experience. Though not appropriate in all cases, here are some strategies I have used to de-age resumes without compromising experience:

Take years off your resume

Experience is certainly a prized positioning strategy, especially for senior-level candidates, but that doesn't mean one should go all the way back to the 60's. In my opinion, fifteen years of recent employment chronology is sufficient to market a professional's background.

In unique situations where a job seeker's background -- and the position's requirements -- merits detailing older positions, consider creating an "additional experience" section without dates. Eliminating dates can be very useful for the education summary as well, especially if your bachelor's degree was obtained in or prior to the 80's.

[read more]