What Makes a Resume GREAT???

There is no “template” or formatting of a perfect resume.

Let that set in for a moment.

Most jobseekers have experienced the Internet’s ‘black hole’ in resume reception and feedback.  Sure, you could listen to any number of ‘experts’ on making it through the digital screening process of today’s world of recruitment…OR you can accept the fact that a resume that is requested by a real human being is viewed and acted upon more often.

FACT: Your best ‘unique identifier’ for any database your resume has found its way to is your name and contact information… it helps an employer find YOU, as opposed to anyone who FITs their screening profile (keyword match…a ‘hit’).  So, THE most effective strategy of beingfound and acted upon is to be personally known within an organization’s recruitment circle.  Simple solution?  Network your way to an opportunity before applying for it!

The point being, you’re the one who needs to decide if your résumé is ready to go. Do you want to drive yourself nuts by having a slew of people give you their “expert” advice, revising your résumé twenty times over? Or do you want to take your destiny into your own hands? Now, there are certain rules on writing effective résumés that you should heed in no particular order. These are ten sure things that need to be in place to offer you the best chance of success…in BOTH the digital world AND the ‘REAL world’ of recruitment.

1. Quantifiable results are a must. Employers are not interested in a grocery list of responsibilities (strategic) or duties (tactical); they’re drawn to evidence of what you’ve actually DONE. It’s always stronger to incorporate significant accomplishments that are quantified with numbers, dollars, and percentages.

2. Closely related to #1… Please no clichés or unsubstantiated adaptive skills. The new rule is to show rather than tell. Yes, you may be innovative; but what makes you innovative? Did you develop a program for inner-city youth that promoted a cooperative environment, reducing violent crime by 50%? If so, state it in your profile as such.

3. Tailor your résumé to each job, when possible. Employers don’t want a one-fits-all résumé that doesn’t address their needs or follow the job description. It’s insulting… Start with your ‘positioning statement,’ clearly specified, including keywords that an employer might use to “find” you.

4. Your résumé needs to show relevance. Employers are interested in the past 10 or 15 years of your work history; in some cases less. Age discrimination may also be a concern, so don’t show all 25-30 years of your work life with equal use of vertical space. Following your Positioning Statement, a ‘qualification summary‘ can help the reader quickly determine interest in your ability to meet their needs.  In this manner, your ‘professional experience’ can be written to show that you not only meet their screening requirements, but can perform to their true expectations of performance.

5. Keywords are essential for certain occupations that are technical, or functionally specific in nature. They’re the difference between being found at the top of the list or not at all. Again, you simply must have your keywords peppered throughout their résumé.

6. Size matters. The general rule is two pages are appropriate providing you have the experience and accomplishments to back it up. More than two pages requires extensive experience. In some cases a one-page résumé will do the job. Your use of the available ‘vertical space’ is the key.

7. No employer cares what you want. That’s right; employers care about what they want and need. If you happen to care what they want and can solve their problems and make them look good, they’ll love you. So drop the meaningless objective statement that generally reads, “Seeking a position in a progressive company where I can utilize my experience and skill to grow along with the organization.”

8. Make it easy to read. Your résumé should not only be visually appealing, it should be visually readable. Employers who read hundreds of résumé s will glance at them for as few as 10-15 seconds before making their YES-no–Maybe determination… before deciding to read them at length. Make your résumé scannable by writing shorter word blocks, three to four lines at most. Keep your bullets flush left… and no excessive graphics/fonts.

9. Make sure your accomplishment “bullets” are in-sync with your Qualification SUMMARY.  No excess baggage…everything in your resume should support your candidacy.

10. WOW them. Use WAR stories, told in brief statements in your professional experience section in the form of accomplishments. That’s right, grab their attention with quantified accomplishments early on.

(What did you face)… Volunteered to assume the duties of…

(Actions taken) website development and design, while also excelling at pubic relations,

(Results) resulting in $50,000 in savings for the company.

Such strong statements will entice the reviewer to continue reading. And, as a bonus, will trigger the right questions to keep the conversation in a FITting mode during an interview.

At some point you need to go with what works—a document that will land you interviews. It may not even be a formal resume or CV.  It could be a BIO or a well-written letter of introduction.  I don’t care if it’s written on a napkin and delivered in a Starbucks’ cup (it’s been done). If it’s getting you interviews, go with it.

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Posted in Career Decision-Making, Job Search OBJECTIVES, Personal Marketing Collateral Materials, Resume Development, Social Media, Target Organizations, Your VERBAL Collateral elements

Achieving CareerFIT

Why CareerFIT? I just want another job…

The old “round peg in a round role” theory of career planning is dysfunctional.  In the typical professional environment today, job descriptions are changing faster than ever before to keep up with the challenges of an economy in transition. In every marketplace, there are buyers and sellers.  In the traditional job market, job seekers are the sellers and their potential employers are the buyers.  The commodity is JOBs and the competition is fierce.

In The OTHER Job Market, buyers and sellers hold equal responsibility for the recruitment process.  The commodity is available, productive WORK… When employers have a need for someone to fulfill a specific role, often the most desired candidates are employed individuals with the credentials they seek.  Thus the employer must sell their Company to potential employees in the marketplace in order to attract the best of the lot.  Once identified, they simply select their choice and buy their services.  This is why assessment and objective setting (first two steps of our 12-step process) represent CAREER Strategies, not simply job search tactics.

Seize control of such challenges.   Understand the nature of FIT.  You understand that managing your own career involves three key ingredients:

  1. Confidence in knowing that your career is on the right path and moving forward;
  2. Continuous research and networking leading to awareness of potential “next steps;”
  3. Competency with job-changing skills.

What is a Good, Career FIT For You? 

To achieve a good “fit” between you and any future opportunity, you have to ask yourself some basic questions about yourself and your prospective employers. The fit depends on how well the jobs meets your needs and how well your skills and abilities meet the employer’s needs. The employer will make a decision and extend an offer to you: now it is time for you to make your decision.

Write out the factors that are important to you in a job… actually write out your list.  During your career transition, learn the value of setting your offer criteria, a key element of your Personal Market Plan:

  1. Creates an objective target for your efforts ahead;
  2. Gives you a meaningful set of questions to ask during research and networking;
  3. Provides an objective way to analyze and react to offers as they occur.

To manage your career wisely has you extending the same concept.  Consider some of the factors listed below … Examine each factor through the questions listed – and then ask “does this opportunity fit me?”

Work Requirements and Expectations: What is the next  appropriate work for you? Is the work process or project oriented?  If it’s process oriented, are the requirements and expectations clear?  What kinds of projects will you work on? Will you work on one project at a time, or multiple projects? Are the projects long term or short term? Will you work on a project long enough to see the end result? Is it important to you to be able to see the project as a whole, including the result? Or will you be content to do the work without a big picture understanding?

Work Environment: Will the work space be a source of comfort and confidence for you? How formal or informal is the environment? Hectic, fast paced? Will you have the opportunity to have flex time, or to tele-commute? How many hours a week does the employer expect you to work? Will you have the freedom to wear casual clothes? What is a typical day like at the company you are considering?  Would they allow a “trial visit” or at least a site visit?

Career Path: Is there a defined succession plan? What position(s) can you move to next? How long do new hires generally stay in the same job? How quickly do people get promoted? Are your opportunities for professional development well defined and available to you? Are mentors available?

Training and Personal Development: what kind of training will you get from the employer to do the job? What kind of training will you get to stay current in your area of interest? Are the answers to these two questions different? Does it matter to you if the answers are different?

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Posted in Career Decision-Making, Career Transition, Job Search OBJECTIVES, Resume Development

Embracing The OTHER Job Market

In the OTHER Job Market, buyers and sellers hold equal responsibility for the recruitment process.  When employers have a need for someone to fulfill a specific role, often the most desired candidates are employed individuals with the credentials they seek.  Thus the employer must sell their Company to potential employees in the marketplace in order to attract the best of the lot.  Once identified, they simply select their choice and buy their services.


The “Traditional JOB Market” The OTHER Job Market

Characterized by “requisitioned” jobs being filled by chosen job seekers.


Characterized by available/needed work being fulfilled by job seekers, contractors, internal candidates, third-party consultants, retirees, part-timers, temporary workers, etc.

JOBS rigidly defined by requirements and qualifications… reflected by the screening process aimed at identifying key candidates. Work expectations are subjective, defined by mutual agreement, fulfillment of need or contract… reflected through the identification of qualified candidates.
Process overseen by Human Resource professionals, regulated to consider minimally qualified candidates, hopefully within salary guidelines. Process directed by hiring authorities seeking best available talent at marketplace salary expectations.
JOB Seeking PUBLIC is screened for most desirable candidates. Qualified and available candidates are sourced and recruited, often through process of endorsement or internal referral.
Screening defined by KEYWORDS, often accomplished through computer/internet job banks and resume databases. Screening accomplished by word of mouth and endorsement, often supplementing the organization’s formal process of recruitment.
Recruitment process subject to scrutiny of regulation and political correctness. Often selection process has occurred before active recruitment has been fully engaged.
Actual selection still subject to formal process and subjective choice. Actual selection often a rubber stamp formality to satisfy regulation requirements.

On the other hand, if an individual is under-employed, seeking a change, or actually unemployed, they must be visible to potential employers who are seeking their services.  Creating this visibility is strategic, personal market planning and execution—in can be marketability without rejection!  Personal Marketing is a contact sport.

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Posted in Career Decision-Making, Job Search OBJECTIVES, NETWORKING, Research, Target Organizations, Turning "opportunities" Into INTERVIEWS


The key to being successful in an interview is to answer each question well, with strong content and credible delivery.  To do this, you must anticipate and practice what to say, display confidence and enthusiasm and show that you have a positive attitude.  The way you deliver your responses can be just as important as what you say.

Look directly into the interviewer’s eyes; give short, crisp, smooth answers that don’t sound memorized.  Put energy in your voice. Consider one of the following guidelines in answering questions relative to your communication strategy…

  • ANSWER the question….
  • Highlight strengths, giving examples as appropriate… plays to behavioral interviewer style and tactics. Minimize weaknesses.
  • At least address the issue of the question before
    • Blocking
    • Turnaround
    • Answering in your terms
    • Confronting or changing the subject!

PRE-Offer Negotiation

Become knowledgable of ‘MoneySpeak’ as it relates to your salary requirements.  Be confident in ANY discussion of your salary, either past or future (NOTE: There is no present tense where money is concerned!).  Remember…

“He who mentions money first, LOSES.”

PRE-offer negotiation is a very common use of guideline#3 in answering questions effectively.  And, as alwats, answer the question and then STOP TALKING.  You will feel pressured to defend or explain, compensating for your nervousness and emotion at this moment.  This is definitely worth practice time with your accountability partner.

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Posted in Interview Preparation, Interview SKILLS, INTERVIEWING, Interviewing STRATEGIES, PRE-Offer Negotiation, Research

Career Decision-Making: “The Basics”

You’re in a “dead-end” job or industry… or out of work and seeking a challenging change of direction to jump start your career. It will take a concerted career planning effort, a strong sense of purpose and self-discipline as you implement your strategic, Personal Marketing Plan (Your PMP);  Also, the patience to process your way through the tactical approaches to effective change. It’s time to restore your confidence in your own ability to impact and control the continuity of your career.

Chart your own course:

Career success is where preparation and implementation meets opportunity! 

– The Pilot

 Three basic waypoints to consider when charting your own career…

Get Outside Your BoxYour competition utilizes traditional job search tactics… bring fresh air and creative solutions to the table;

Communicate yourself in a positive, future-oriented manner;

Cultivate Contacts… ALWAYS have a next contact to make… always, for the rest of your career!

Some “advanced” career strategies…

Stay current with technology… Learn to use technology as a tool, never as a replacement for your ‘personal touch;’

Target Employers… It brings focus to your research and networking efforts;

Learn from your new world of work opportunity… Put yourself in a constant state of market awareness and visibility. Keep up with what can be, not just what is or has been

Align your credentials with your objectives… This may lead to re-training and re-tooling of your skill sets.

And, FINALLY… The ONE thing you must learn to truly manage your career:

Never Be a JOB-hunter AgainLearn to create visibility by presenting yourself (and being) an interested, motivated professional who could be available for the next right work opportunity… at any time during the rest of your working lifetime.

Posted in Career Decision-Making, Career Transition
December 2022
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