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Careers – Getting Hired— Four Steps to a Perfect Resume

Careers – Getting Hired— Four Steps to a Perfect Resume


Did you know that companies have favorite times for eliminating positions… and you.  I know from personal experience—the experience of our students in the last 15 years.

Thankfully, organizations actually do try to avoid eliminating positions and letting go of employees before or after the Christmas or Winter Holidays.  They often do this dastardly deed when one quarter ends and another one starts (when they have crunched the money data). To be blunt, that means July or August, October, and April are favorite times to terminate employees.

Also, this aside.  A word to the wise. My experience via my students over the last 15 years has been that most often, but not always, organizations in the USA rarely hire between our Thanksgiving (late November) and about January 20th.

For every trend or rule, there are exceptions.  One of my all-time favorite Human Resources executives landed a job right after the Christmas/Winter holidays.

Back to the point!  For job hunters, life is difficult these days.  Top fear is the resume.

For many job hunters – especially the entrepreneurial kind, the day is upon us when traditional resumes by themselves are not sufficient.

Instead, job hunters today (already!) need to rely more and more on narrative bios, personal websites, or preformatted resumes posted on social networking sites like LinkedIn.

That said– it is still wise to have a traditional resume ready.

Experts widely agree that there are two major areas to focus on to ready your resume for a company or recruiter to view: format and content.

Format is easy to do. (Our next blog will give hints for preparing an online resume.)

Important tip for the traditional resume—make it simple and easy to read once it is scanned.

  • Most organizations use applicant tracking systems (online recruiting tools)
  • So for those organizations your resume is scanned regardless of how or to whom you submit it

On the content side of writing a resume, you are a product competing against many other similar products.

  • So you need to write your resume so it is easy for anyone who reads it to see whether you are the fit they are seeking for the particular job they are filling.

Here are simple steps and “tests”

Profile and title. Put a title at the top. Perhaps not your current title, but the type of professional you would call yourself if someone asked.  For example, “I’m an experienced marketing manager.”

Follow that title with a profile.

  • Customize the profile for every job for which you apply
  • Your profile should tell the recruiter or reader of the resume who you are, what you bring to the organization and what you are seeking for in a job

     Test: Have someone read your resume for 10 seconds.  If they cannot tell you the particular type of job you are intending to attract, then the recruiter will fail also to do that.

Professional and Personal Development.  Recruiters and hiring managers first want to know your professional strengths and work experience and formal education.  Therefore, before you list your personal accomplishments, focus on what has helped you develop professionally.  Make those easy to find.

Create a professional development section.  If room, do add one or two more lines where you include anything personal that does these things:

  • Distinguishes you from others
  • Shows strengths you bring to the job
  • Go for Great!
    • For example– Running a Good but not great
    • Training for your fourth full triathlon? That is superlative

Test: If your supplemental skills are spread all over your resume – languages, technology skills, post graduate certifications, do this:

  • Organize them in one place
  • Limit personal details to one or two outstanding successes

Positions Listed Separately.  If you have been promoted, show that.  Progression and moving up the career ladder is important.  That shows:

  • Commitment to a job, to a company and to success

Don’t lose yourself behind strange titles.  Simplify your titles in a professional and honest manner so the reader understands

  • For example, “Junior Lead-Accountant III” should be listed just as Accountant.

Test: If your title changed and your responsibilities increased, make it obvious in your resume!

Overall Differentiation.  Imagine this- A position opens for a marketing manager.  The recruiter gets 200 resumes for the position.   The 20 the recruiter is even considering have generally the same skills.

If you list only your basic responsibilities, you will just be one of 20.


  • Do stand out and don’t just include what you did, but how you did it, and for whom
  • Don’t dump a list of keywords into your resume
    • That might get you a glance or quick look from a company, but a resume with purposely placed keywords is quickly recognized like a sore thumb and stands out these days like a Christmas tree on Halloween in a grocery store.


  • Focus on applying for jobs that fit you
  • Carefully write your content to be persuasive
  • Think like the best product brands. How do they stand out? How are they special?

Test: If your resume reads like a job description, wrong!  Solution? Make the content stronger and eye-catching to show what you have accomplished.

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

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Rerun from August 17, 2016

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