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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

Resume & Cover Letter Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with insights from our CTL Associates.

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  • 18 Jan 2016 11:21 AM | Anonymous

    By Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
    Enelow Enterprises, Inc.

    Bottom line … the more accomplishment-driven your resume, the more effective it will be, the more interest it will generate, and the more interviews you will get. Always remember that resume writing is sales and that you’re the product. Showcase the product’s distinctive features and you’re bound to make a sale!

    Focus your resume on what you have done to improve operations, increase revenues, expand market share, strengthen profits, reduce operating costs, enhance business processes, upgrade technologies, deliver projects on-time and within budget, launch new products, build a strong workforce, and so much more. The challenge, however, is to identify those specific achievements.

    To help with that process, below is a list of 13 different professions, each with a short list of questions to ask yourself to help you articulate your specific achievements. Use this information as a guideline to help you dig deep into your career and identify what makes YOU such a good hire.

    ACCOUNTING & FINANCE – It’s all about the money!

    • Improvements in revenues, profits, ROI, EBITDA, and other financial measurements
    • Design/implementation of cost controls and quantifiable results
    • Negotiation of contracts including dollar amounts, profits, cost savings, and more
    • Implementation of automated programs, tools, and technologies to optimize business performance
    • Partner relationships with investors, pension plan administrators, board of directors, auditors, and others
    • Merger, acquisition, joint venture, and divestiture experience

    ADMINISTRATION & OFFICE MANAGEMENT – It’s all about organization and efficiency!

    • Design/implementation of streamlined work procedures and processes
    • Introduction of automated tools, programs, and systems to enhance efficiency
    • Internal and external communications responsibilities
    • Contributions to improved operations, cost reductions, and overall performance improvements
    • Personnel training and development experience, and the success of those employees
    • VIP and executive responsibilities and relationships

    CUSTOMER SERVICE – It’s all about customers, clients, patrons, and others!

    • Improvements in customer service and customer satisfaction scores
    • Top industry rankings for quality of customer service organization
    • Contributions to sales growth
    • Key account management responsibilities and results
    • Introduction of automated customer service technologies and tools
    • Reductions in customer service operating and overhead costs

    ENGINEERING – It’s all about development and improvement!

    • Engineering/design of new products and their positive financial impact on the organization
    • Engineering/design of new processes and their positive financial impact
    • Redesign of existing products and their resulting financial/market/customer impact
    • Patents awarded and/or pending
    • Integration of advanced technologies to expedite engineering and expand capabilities
    • Project planning, management, staffing, leadership, and financial success

    EXECUTIVE & GENERAL MANAGEMENT – It’s all about bottom-line performance!

    • Measurable increases in revenues, profits, EBITDA, ROI, and other financial indices
    • Leadership of/contributions to strategic planning and long-term business development
    • Leadership of/contributions to mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, and business-building initiatives
    • Success in expanding into new markets, new geographic regions, new countries, and more
    • Improvements in organizational performance, infrastructure, productivity, yield, and more
    • Recruitment and leadership of successful management teams (and their contributions)

    HEALTH CARE – It’s all about quality!

    • Positive impact on quality of care and quality of patient outcomes
    • Expansion of health care services, programs, and outreach to meet patient needs
    • Development of innovative new health care delivery systems, medical procedures, and the like
    • Attainment and maintenance of stringent regulatory requirements
    • Implementation of advanced health care and health care support technologies
    • Reduction in disease incidence and overall health improvement of targeted patient base

    HUMAN RESOURCES – It’s all about the people and their impact on the organization!

    • Success in recruiting personnel and their performance within the organization
    • Improvements in traditional employee benefits and reductions in premium costs
    • Introduction of innovative employee benefits and incentives (e.g., flex time, onsite day care)
    • Expansion of HR information systems and technologies
    • Creation of expatriate recruitment, training, employee support, and related programs
    • Measurement improvements in manpower and organizational performance/productivity

    LAW – It’s all about distinction!

    • Establishing legal precedents
    • Managing prestigious cases and clients
    • Breadth of legal experience across multiple legal disciplines
    • Demonstrable expertise within one area of legal specialization
    • Success in negotiations, arbitrations, mediations, and the courtroom
    • Relationships with regulatory, legislative, judicial, and other agencies/organizations

    MANUFACTURING & PRODUCTION – It’s all about yield and output!

    • Increases in production yield and output, worker productivity, and other performance measurements
    • Improvements in quality performance and award of quality certifications
    • Reductions in operating costs and overhead expenses
    • Design, set-up, and start-up of new manufacturing facilities and production lines
    • Seamless introduction of new products into existing manufacturing plants and favorable financial results
    • Implementation of new technologies, robotics, and other automated processes, systems, and equipment

    RETAIL – It’s all about product movement and sales performance!

    • Increases in revenues, profits, and market share
    • Improvements in product movement, from warehouse to retail floor to customer sale
    • Distinction for merchandise design and display (including sales results)
    • Departmental staffing and management responsibilities, and quantifiable results
    • Implementation of POS, interactive selling, online selling, and other automated retail technologies
    • Reductions in store operating costs, staffing costs, loss rates, and other expenses

    SALES & MARKETING – It’s all about capturing clients and generating profitable revenues!

    • Increases in revenues, profits, and market share
    • Individual sales and account achievements
    • Capture of new key accounts and revenue streams
    • Sales honors, awards and percentages over quota
    • Development of new territories and new markets
    • Introduction of new products and services (and results)

    TEACHING – It’s all about innovation and student/learner excellence!

    • Development of new curricula and instructional programs
    • Development of computerized and web-based programs and teaching/learning tools
    • Committee memberships, student activities, and special projects
    • Management responsibilities for programs, budgets, resources, personnel, and more
    • Experience in training and developing other teaching staff
    • Measurement of student/learner performance and achievement

    TECHNOLOGY – It’s all about technology innovation and advances!

    • Development of new technologies and their organization/operational/market impact
    • Involvement in emerging e-commerce, e-learning, Web 2.0, telecommunications, and other technologies
    • Financial benefits of technology (e.g., revenue gains, cost reductions, productivity improvements)
    • Patent awarded and/or pending
    • Success in systems migration, conversion, integration, and more
    • Domestic and international technology transfer programs and ventures

    These questions are just a sampling of the many industry-specific questions you can use to dig for information and identify great achievements. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to write a resume that is just the right mixture of responsibilities, accomplishments, and career highlights to give yourself a truly competitive advantage in today’s hiring market.

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:41 AM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    True or false?

    “A resume is supposed to make you look good.”

    Answer: FALSE

    Well, I’ll concede, it’s only partially false. Although you want your resume to look good and to portray your job history and accomplishments in a clear and impressive manner, it’s important not to overdo your attempts to impress your reader.

    The misconception that a resume is supposed to make you look good can lead to mischaracterization of job duties, inflation of accomplishments, and flowery, highfalutin language. None of those things belong on a resume! Stick to the truth instead.

    Example #1: A client who was applying for development jobs wrote in a bullet that she “[a]ssisted in organizing” a conference. Since I do not like to see the word “assist” on a resume, I asked her what exactly she did to assist. It turns out she set up tables and provided registration assistance on the day of the conference, but had no involvement in the planning or organization of the event. We changed the verb in her bullet to “Staffed” – a much more accurate description of what this applicant did.

    Example #2: A client stated that she “[p]articipated in” company meetings. In actuality, she had organized materials for the meetings and attended them. We made her language more specific, thus accurately reflecting her activities.

    Why not stretch the truth just a little?

    First of all, I never condone lying about anything and always support acting with integrity. Additionally, if your resume gets you an interview, you could be asked questions about absolutely anything you’ve written. You don’t want to get caught in even the tiniest lie.

    I’m glad I asked my clients questions about their bullets before an interviewer did. The first client was applying to jobs where she could easily be called upon to organize a conference; if she submitted a resume that overstated her experience in conference organization, it could lead to an embarrassing and deal-killing interview moment. Similarly, the second client was applying to jobs that entailed numerous meetings, and familiarity with meeting protocol was required. It was dangerous for him as well to represent his experience inaccurately.

    When you are creating resume bullet points, and even when you are writing your Summary of Qualifications, make sure to report your activities, qualifications and accomplishments accurately. Without using impressive or flowery language, you can succeed in writing a resume that makes you look good by clearly and truthfully conveying your accomplishments.

    As in so many other things, honesty on your resume is the best policy. Think of the most impressive thing you can truthfully report and let it speak for itself. Follow this advice and you’ll look good without even trying.

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:36 AM | Anonymous

    By Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
    Enelow Enterprises, Inc.

    Writing powerful, executive-level thank-you letters is not just a formality anymore; not just a quick, “Thanks for the interview – can’t wait to hear from you.” Thank-you letters (which I refer to as second-tier marketing tools) can have tremendous value in moving your candidacy forward and positioning you above the competition. Although much of what you include in your thank-you letter may have already been communicated during your interview, there is nothing more effective than the written word to etch those thoughts into your interviewer’s mind. You can use your thank-you letters to:

    1. Overcome objections.

    If, during an interview, there was a specific objection raised as to your appropriateness as a candidate, use your thank-you letter to respond to, and overcome, those concerns. Demonstrate that it’s not an obstacle, but rather an opportunity, and that you’re fully prepared to meet the challenge.

    Example: You’re interviewing as CEO for a well-established company in the Midwest. Although you’re extremely well-qualified, they’re concerned that you’ve never lived in the area and have no network of local contacts. Eliminate their concerns by explaining that your network of professional contacts is nationwide and, in fact, you know John Doe of the XXX Company, have a long-standing relationship with an economic development director in the area, etc. These contacts will only serve to expand the company’s already-established network.

    2. Reiterate your specific expertise as it relates to a company’s specific challenges.

    • In 2000, led the turnaround and return to profitability of a $75 million apparel manufacturer, rebuilt customer credibility, and launched a new pipeline of marketing and development activity.
    • Between 1998 and 2000, restored profitability to a $200 million consumer products manufacturer who had multi-million dollar losses for the past six years. Today, the company boasts profits at more than 18% annually (4% over industry average).
    • In 1997, consulted with a Fortune 50 company to create a strategic turnaround program for all 290 of their production facilities worldwide. To date, the company has implemented two of my programs and generated cost savings in excess of $100 million.

    If, during an interview, the company communicated their specific needs, issues, and/or challenges, use your thank-you letter to demonstrate how you can meet those needs and eliminate those challenges.

    Example: You’ve interviewed as CFO for a distressed company in need of immediate action if it is to survive. They need a candidate with proven success in fast-track turnarounds and revitalizations.

    3. Highlight your core professional competencies and successes directly related to that company’s needs.

    If, during an interview, the company communicated their ideal qualifications for a candidate, use your thank-you letter to outline how you meet and/or exceed each of those qualifications. Example: You’ve interviewed as EVP of Technology & Product Development with a high-tech venture and the company has clearly communicated its four essential candidate qualifications. Let them “see” immediately that you have those four qualifications with a format and structure to your letter like this:

    New Product Development

    Include 2-3 sentence paragraph with a strong overview of your total experience in new product development, and then include a list of 3-5 bullets highlighting specific projects, achievements, operations, etc.

    Technology Commercialization

    Include 2-3 sentence paragraph with a strong overview of your total experience in technology commercialization, and then include a list of 3-5 bullets highlighting specific projects, achievements, operations, etc. Include 2-3 sentence paragraph with a strong overview of your total experience in technology commercialization, and then include a list of 3-5 bullets highlighting specific projects, achievements, operations, etc.

    Team Building & Leadership

    Include 2-3 sentence paragraph with a strong overview of your total experience in team building and leadership, and then include a list of 3-5 bullets highlighting specific projects, achievements, operations, etc.

    Global Business Development

    Include 2-3 sentence paragraph with a strong overview of your total experience in global business development, and then include a list of 3-5 bullets highlighting specific projects, achievements, operations, etc. Include 2-3 sentence paragraph with a strong overview of your total experience in global business development, and then include a list of 3-5 bullets highlighting specific projects, achievements, operations, etc.

    And, finally, the all-important “how long should a thank-you letter be” question! Of course, as with anything else in job search, there is no definitive answer, but 1-2 pages is the norm depending on the amount of information you want to communicate. They certainly DO NOT have to only be one page! Remind yourself that you already have the company’s interest or you would not have been interviewing, and use your thank-you letter as a tool to communicate valuable information.

    Remember, the entire process of job search is marketing and merchandising your product – YOU. There is no reason why writing thank-you letters should be any different than any other of your job search activities!

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:33 AM | Anonymous
    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    A common misunderstanding about resumes is that they are a description of what you did in your past jobs. In actuality, resumes are most effective when they are written from the perspective of the FUTURE. In other words, think about what a potential employer would want to know about how you WILL perform. What experience do you have that will make you a contribution to their firm or organization?

    If you are writing from the perspective of the FUTURE, here’s what will happen:

    1. You will write detailed bullets that demonstrate your ability to achieve measurable results. To do this, include as many numbers as possible. For instance, don’t just say you tutored students; say how many and by how much their grades improved. Don’t say you were successful; tell us exactly what results you achieved. Don’t just say “increased;” tell us by what percentage. Your readers will imply that you can produce similar results for them.

    2. You will think about the purpose and priority of each item on your resume. If you are a recent graduate, does it matter that you worked as a bartender during college? Maybe, if you worked 20 hours/week and still maintained a 3.8 GPA, or if you were the highest-tipped bartender at the establishment. Additionally, bartending successfully shows your ability to multitask and interact with a wide variety of people. But it does not need to take up three lines on your resume, just because it’s what you did; you can make it a short bullet under your “Education” section to show you were doing it while in school full time.

    3. You will delete anything that is irrelevant or of minimal importance to your future. If you are a recent graduate, these things include stuff you did in high school. If you have 10 years of work experience, these things include your college activities. If you have 25 years of work experience, these things most likely include any positions you held over 10 years ago.

    A word about including important positions that are more than 10 years old: If you absolutely must include an older job, let’s say from 15 years ago, create a separate section for it entitled “Other Relevant Experience.” You do NOT have to include every job you had between 10 and 15 years ago in order to include the older job.

    In conclusion, always keep in mind what your FUTURE employer will want to know about you — it’s not about what you did, it’s about what you can contribute. Impress them with what you can bring to their organization and you are very likely to make it to the next step… the interview!

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:31 AM | Anonymous
    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    When one of my clients received an offer for a new job, the hiring manager told her that when they saw her resume, they just *had* to find out who the person was behind this unusually crafted document! Interestingly, she had gotten less positive feedback from some other people. Yet she stuck with her slightly unconventional resume and it led her to a great job.

    A Sea of Opinions

    Perhaps what drives job seekers crazy more than anything else is that if they ask seven people to review their resume, they will get seven different opinions about what is working and not working about the document. This state of affairs is challenging for me as a resume writer too: no matter how great I think a resume is, there will always be someone who disagrees with at least something about it.

    In an attempt to set the record straight, and to debunk the rumors and folklore that abound in conversation about resume writing, Career Directors International recently conducted a survey of recruiters, human resource professionals and hiring authorities: Global Hiring Trends 2012

    I encourage you to read the entire report if you can. It is a quick read, full of illustrative graphs and charts. To give you an idea of what’s in there, I am highlighting some of the most salient results here.

    The Truth about Page Limits!

    A question that comes up extremely frequently with job seekers is whether their resume can be more than one page–or more than two pages. During my “Top 10 Ways to Make Resume Writing FUN” webinar, someone asked whether his resume could be automatically rejected by a company simply for breaking the 2-page barrier. I am happy to report that these fears are for the most part unfounded.

    Page Preferences for Executive Resumes

    In the survey, 37% of respondents stated that “length is not an issue as long as the resume provides the right data to make decisions”–and 8% actually preferred a 3-page resume, vs. 6% who preferred a 1-pager! (Only 34% preferred a 2-page resume.) Perhaps most important, 58% of respondents stated that they would NOT penalize an executive candidate for having a resume that did not meet their preferences (only 5% stated they would do so).

    Here’s a surprise to me: several respondents stated that 5 pages was the maximum length they would read! Did you hear that, ladies and gentlemen? A 5-page resume! I think this reality check is a good one for any executives attempting to squeeze their resume onto 2 pages. Clearly it is more important to include essential information such as achievements and experiences than to meet some mythical page requirement. A hard-hitting resume with a compelling message about what the executive will do for a company will almost always be read, regardless of length.

    Page Preferences for Non-Executive Resumes

    When it comes to non-executive resumes, there is a higher preference for 2-page resumes, at 37%, and a lower percentage of respondents who didn’t have a preference (21%). One-page resumes were preferred by 21% of respondents for non-executive resumes, and only 6% preferred a 3-page resume. I’m putting my money on the 2-page resume for non-execs!

    Conclusion on the page length issue: It’s not size that matters–it’s content! A hefty 54% of respondents said the length would not really matter if the resume were well-written and highly focused. As one respondent stated, “As long as the person has a reason for several pages and I can find value in what is written, I don’t care. However, if the résumé is filled with nothing but job duties on 80 separate lines, it is a waste of space and my time.” (The same could be said of a 1-page resume that doesn’t deliver the goods.)

    Resume Format and Design

    Format and design questions rank high on jobseekers’ question lists. The question that most interested me was about graphs and charts on resumes. Surprisingly, 33% of respondents still have not received a resume with a chart or a graph. 24% of those who had seen charts and graphs found them helpful or very helpful, while 22% found them distracting. These results are rather inconclusive but indicate to me that if you work in a conservative industry it might be best to stick to the tried and true bullet format; in more innovative industries I think charts and graphs can be a great fresh approach. Also for someone climbing the ladder within the same company, charts and graphs might be very effective.

    I was also intrigued by the response to rumors that some recruiters and hiring managers never click live links because of the possibility of viruses. The results of this survey tell a different story. Although 17% of respondents never click on links, 62% of reported that they sometimes or always click on hyperlinks when provided.

    Regarding format, the survey found that Word (.doc or .docx) is the preferred format for receiving resumes by far, although 23% preferred PDFs.

    Tooting Your Horn

    I have begun to include testimonials on almost every resume. Should you put them on yours? Although 41% of respondents said testimonials would not influence their decision positively, 29% stated they would. To me that’s enough support to continue my practice of including testimonials when space allows. I’d rather have someone else sing my clients’ praises than have the clients toot their own horns. You might want to find a quotable quote for your own resume as well.

    No Rules

    What this survey brought home for me is that there are no hard and fast rules of resume writing. However, if you focus on communicating your skills and accomplishments honestly and professionally, in a way that matches who you are, I figure you can’t go wrong. Sure, as my client found out, there are multiple opinions out there and there is no way you will please everyone. But in the end, you only need to impress one person: the one who hires you.

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:29 AM | Anonymous
    By Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
    Enelow Enterprises, Inc.

    Follow these 5 steps when writing your resume and you’ll give yourself a strong and distinct position in today’s remarkably competitive job market.

    1. Sell your success.

    Resume writing is all about sales, marketing and merchandising. You’re the product and the resume is the sales piece that you’ll use to merchandise your achievements … things that you have done to help increase revenues, reduce costs, improve profitability, develop new products, open new markets, capture new accounts, improve quality, increase productivity … the list goes on and on.

    Remember, past behavior is indicative of future performance; be certain to showcase your achievements so that prospective employers can read about all of the wonderful things that you’ll be doing for them!

    2. Be a specialist; not a generalist.

    Although you might think a more generalized resume would attract lots of different types of opportunities, the exact opposite is true. Companies want to hire individuals with a specific area of expertise. If the job posting is for a Traffic Planning Analyst and you have that experience, then write a resume that positions you as someone with a wealth of experience in traffic planning and related functions. Don’t make a prospective employer have to “dig down” into your resume to find that information. They won’t!

    3. Write to the future.

    When writing your resume, write “to” your objective, showcasing your skills, qualifications, training, achievements and more that are related to your current career objectives. Don’t focus on things that you’ve done that have nothing to do with your current goals. Re-weight your skills to emphasize those most supportive of your goals and move them to the forefront of your resume. Then you’re certain to create the right perception of yourself as you want a prospective employer to see. Just remember … 100% honesty is always the policy!

    4. Brand yourself for competitive distinction.

    Think about it … basically, every budget analyst does the same thing. They prepare budgets, financial statements and reports, forecasts, financial analyses, etc., etc., etc. The same can be said for just about any profession.

    So, what can you do to distinguish yourself from the crowd of candidates with all of the same skills? The answer … a branding statement that highlights your unique value proposition; the one thing that you do better than anything else, and then prominently showcases that. If you were an IT Manager, your headline and branding statement might read something like this:


    Designing next-generation technologies that consistently out-perform and out-innovate the competition

    5. Use the right keywords and keyword phrases.

    In today’s electronic job market, chances are your resume is going to be scanned by a computer long before a person ever lays eyes on it. As such, you must be certain that you have the “right” keywords for the position and industry that you are seeking. Suppose you’re a Vice President of Sales looking to transition from sales into marketing.

    DO NOT focus your language on “sales” words (e.g., territory management, sales team training, key account management). Rather, transition your sales skills into “marketing” words (e.g., strategic market planning, competitive analysis, new business development). By doing so, you are presenting yourself as a qualified marketing professional and not just “some sales guy trying to transition into marketing.” You don’t want to transition into something; rather, you already want to be that something!

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:27 AM | Anonymous
    By Kimberly Schneiderman, CLTMC, NCRW, CEIC

    If you have ever tried to write your own resume you know some of the conundrum and “What if” situations that a professional resume writer deals with on a daily basis with clients. The scenarios are endless – from lack of experience to too much experience and everything in between on every topic in between! 

    Let’s look at three ‘What if’ scenarios to help you in crafting a resume that impresses hiring managers and gets you called for interviews!

    1. What If I lack a degree?

    List your relevant training courses, seminars, certifications, and any education you do possess. The section might look like this:

    Certified Protection Professional, ASIS
    Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), ACFE
    Certified Instructor, New York State Method of Instruction

    Completed 125 security, crisis management, digital forensics, fraud detection, and law enforcement courses throughout career.

    University of Ohio, Business Management Coursework (if you went to school but didn’t finish)

    University of Ohio, Bachelor of Science, Security Management, Expected Spring 2014 (if you are currently in school)

    2. What if I have TOO MUCH education and training?

    In this case, you want to focus on the education and training that will be relevant in your next job. Also, leave off details of where or when you acquired training courses to help save space. You can also group programs together. Please note, in 99% of cases, you would not eliminate degrees from the resume. Your training section might look like this:

    Courses & Training Include: Public Relations, Team Management, Handling Layoffs, Media Relations…


    Investigation & Security Coursework: High Risk Environmental Training, Protective Services, Facility Security

    Management Training: Budget & Cost Cutting Strategies, Team Leadership, Executive / Board Presentations, Operations & Policy Development

    3. What if I have experience dating back to the 70′s or 80′s (or even early 90′s!)?

    In this case, know what is important in your industry. Don’t feel compelled to describe that early experience. You can simply summarize early experience like this:

    Additional experience includes security and facility management positions in NYC area hospitals.

    Or, you might have an “Early Career Highlights” section that lists the company for which you worked, and perhaps even gives a bullet point describing your impact, but it wouldn’t include dates. Like this:

    A Force Media, Operations Manager: Established policies and procedures for day-to-day operations within engineering and broadcast team for this cable news provider.

    These ‘What if’ scenarios are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more that you might face when writing your resume. If you need help strategizing your approach, consider consulting a career professional.

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:25 AM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    A common misconception about resumes is that they are meant to describe what you did in your past jobs. In actuality, the most effective resumes are written from a FUTURE perspective. In other words, your resume will work if you think about what a potential employer would want to know about how you WILL perform.

    If you are writing a resume from the perspective of the FUTURE, here’s what will happen:

    1. Measurable Results.

    You will write detailed bullets that demonstrate your capability to achieve measurable results. That means: include numbers as often as possible. Don’t just say you tutored students; say how many and by how much their grades improved. Don’t say you were successful; tell us exactly what results you achieved. Don’t just say “increased;” tell us by what percentage. Your readers will imply that you can produce similar results for them.

    2. Finding Relevance.

    You will think about the purpose and priority of each item on your resume. Does it matter that you worked as a bartender if you are now applying for marketing positions? Maybe, if you were a student working 20 hours/week and still maintained a 3.8 GPA, or if you were the highest-tipped bartender at the establishment. Additionally, bartending demonstrates your ability to multitask and interact with a wide variety of people. But it does not need to take up three lines on your resume, just because it’s what you did; you can make it a short bullet under your “Education” section to show you were doing it while in school full time.

    3. Deleting Irrelevant Items.

    You will delete anything that is irrelevant or of minimal importance to your future. These things include stuff you did in high school. High school activities are no longer relevant – you had 4 years of college to become who you are now, and if you did less in college than you did in high school, looking into the future, the logical conclusion is that you will do less and less as time goes on.

    What experience do you have that will make you a contribution to the firm or organization where you are applying? Show them how your skills can be used to their advantage, and you will have a much better chance of getting that call for an interview!

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:23 AM | Anonymous

    By Jack Mulcahy, ACRW 
    Jack Mulcahy Resume Services

    Pandora’s Box. Harry Potter. Trojan Horse. Good Samaritan.

    No matter what your culture, ethnicity, or background, it’s a pretty safe bet that you know something about each of these topics. Each of these is an example of the power of story. And in fact, each one of them has entered our lexicon and each is commonly referenced every day somewhere.

    Why is this? And what does this have to do with writing a resume, for pity’s sake?

    Think of the time when you were a child, and your parents read stories to you. Remember how much you loved picturing the words and incidents the stories were describing? Just you pictured Harry Potter or Hermoine or Snapes in your young mind? When you grew older, you learned what happened when Pandora’s Box was opened, and what the Trojans found out when they wheeled that “gift horse” into their city.

    Stories. They do more than entertain us. They tell us great truths and life lessons behind their words. They reveal the histories and actions of the characters involved. And they leave indelible marks in our collective memories.

    That is why you want to use stories in your resume. Not long stories, like the ones referenced above. But short, easily digestible stories that get across the points you want to make; stories that tell the reader who you are, why you should have the job being advertised, what accomplishments you offer to back up your claim, and what your qualifications are for that job.

    Consider, if you will, these two examples, taken from resumes:

    • Taught groups of up to 25 students in grades 10-12 how to use the library for research.
    • Demonstrated the uses of such databases as ProQuest and WilsonWeb in research for classroom assignments to enhance student learning and heighten retention in a suburban high school.

    Can you see the difference between the two items? In the first, the teacher simply tells us the duties of the position. The sentence is grammatically correct, but it’s flat, and has no life. Anybody could have done that job. The second teacher provides us a little story about what she did, using what tools, the purpose, the result, and the location. They both did the same duties. But the second teacher enriched her resume bullet point so that we can’t easily dismiss or forget her.

    Your resume needs to be full of little stories like that. You need to write a document that says, “This is who I am and what I have accomplished. And if you’ll give me the opportunity, I’ll accomplish that and more for you.”

    Tell your story. You may be surprised at what you learn.

    Is your resume flat and lifeless? Breathe life into it with little stories about your accomplishments that will leave your audience wanting to know more!

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:20 AM | Anonymous

    By Jack Mulcahy, ACRW 
    Jack Mulcahy Resume Services

    Job seekers who gain interviews are those who tailor their presentations directly at the company advertising the opening. They show that the job seeker understands the needs of the company and that s/he offers the solution to those needs. Companies today are seeking people who can show they have a vision for the position and the issues created by the job opening, and can demonstrate their prior experience successfully implementing that vision.

    The average cover letter usually goes something like this:

    Dear Ms. Blank:

    In response to your ad in Sunday’s Weekly Blab for a CEO, I wish to express my interest.

    Throughout my career, I have participated in workflow analysis, performed ATM reconciliations, resolved customer inquiries and differences, and presided over meetings. I have traveled to South America and the Middle East, and discussed markets with customers there.

    I look forward to hearing from you and setting a time to discuss my qualifications and how I can contribute to your magazine. Thank you for your consideration.


    Janet Job Seeker

    The only good thing about this letter is that it’s short. But it also came out of a book. Janet isn’t in there, nor is there any indication she knows anything about the position or responsibilities of a CEO. She certainly shows no vision for the job.

    But what if she’d sent something like this:

    Dear _________________:

    If you are seeking a CEO who is interested in a position with an organization that values the status quo, then I am NOT the person for you. My goal is an executive-level assignment where entrepreneurial leadership, turnaround management, vision, continuous process improvement, and organizational development are keys to success. Be it a start-up, turnaround, international expansion, or accelerated growth company, I have the experience, ethics, and strength of character to build, lead, and win. Here are some examples:

    • Transformed the vision, direction, and trajectory of division and increased annual revenues from $200 million in 2006 to a projected $500 million in 2011.
    • Boosted revenue for International & Surgical division 17% in 2010, despite current global economy, while reducing operating expenses $3 million, improving gross margins 190 bps, and growing operating income 38%.
    • Launched sales, marketing, and software operations arms of a start-up medical technology company and created $20 million in revenue.
    • Increased X-Ray sales and marketing volume in US, Canada, and South America 15% in a declining market and improved contribution margin 11%.

    The list of my career successes spans the Americas, Eastern Europe, MEA and Asia/Pacific markets. I thrive in high-profile, fast-paced, and diverse organizations where I am free to identify opportunities, build relationships, negotiate alliances, and rocket new ventures to unprecedented financial results.

    If you are in need of a strong and decisive CEO, I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you to better understand your specific needs and more thoroughly detail my accomplishments. As my resume states, I am a groundbreaking senior-level executive known for successful management by providing clear direction, ownership for key priorities, lofty goals, and firm commitment to those goals.” This is the value I bring to your organization.


    Janet Job Seeker

    Throw away the canned cover letter and show some vision for what you can do for that specific company. The results may surprise you.

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