Job Seekers Avoid These Posts!

Last week a gentleman took advantage of my complimentary 15-minute career counseling session. I guess he liked what I had to say because he felt the need to share with me the following post he saw online last night:

We finalized a resume package for a client on Christmas Eve.

He was anxious to apply for a job he saw here on LinkedIn.

The position was a Vice President of Customer Engagement for a global hospitality company.

He uploaded his resume, wrote a little note about his interest in the role, and signed off to enjoy his holiday.

Less than 24 hours, he got a response.

On Christmas morning.

They wanted to set up an interview for Monday the 27th.

9 AM.

1 zoom call.

The interview lasted 2 hours.

By the end of the day, they arranged to fly him and 2 other candidates to interview in person.

He arrived on Wednesday, interviewed on Thursday and accepted an offer on Friday, New Years Eve.

The offer of $220k (which was denoted in the job posting) was right on the money.

No negotiation.

No bait and switch.

At this point, his head is spinning.

He emails me to tell me it’s the fastest interview to offer he’s ever been involved in.

He asks the HR Director why this is happening so fast…..he’s not complaining, he’s just curious.

She tells him that their company lost many, many, many great candidates in 2021 because their processes were taking too long. On average, 6 weeks.

They were challenged by their boss to make hires within 7 days. 1 week.

She said her team was exhausted, liberated, exhilarated, challenged and inspired by the work they were doing.

But are hoping to expand their time to hire to 2 weeks 😀😀.

This is leadership in action. Setting the bar, meeting the goal and eliminating the noise that paralyzes hiring.

Could you hire within a week?

There are many problems with this type of post. The first is that job seekers read it and ask, “Why him and not me?” Well, assuming for a moment that the story is true, understand that people usually don’t write about their failures. One client got a job offer. How many did not? Don’t let these things depress you. Read them carefully. The flaws are easy to spot. And even if everything is legit, your time will come!

First, this is supposedly a story about a great resume that got someone a job offer. FALSE. The purpose of the resume is to get the candidate the interview, not the offer. So even if it is true that the resume this woman wrote was magnificent, it did not get the candidate the job offer. The candidate got the candidate the job offer because of his negotiating skills. No where does this “resume writer” indicate that she counseled the client on interviewing so she can claim no credit for the offer.

Second, if she did something great to what, I presume, was a mediocre resume, why did she not share that information? Posts on LinkedIn by professionals should be educational. She should have explained what the problems were with the original resume and how she corrected them. She did no such thing. Reading her post one learns nothing about how to improve a resume. This further leads me to believe that this is a work of fiction. If she had something to teach her readers, she would have.

Third, no one is going to be offered a $220,000 job without the employer running a background check and checking references. It usually takes two weeks for a full background check. And given that we are talking New Year’s Eve week, I doubt any background checking company would have been available for a 24- or 48-hour rush job. And what are the odds that three (?) references would have been available to speak to HR about the candidate during that week? The woman does not say that they made a conditional offer of employment, but rather made an offer which was accepted. This also does not ring true to me.

Finally, who calls anyone on Christmas morning to set up a job interview? That’s the very definition of being rude.

To answer the woman’s question, Anyone can hire within a week. But if it is for as six-figure salary, and around Christmas and New Year’s no less, only if they are very sloppy and careless. But then none of that matters since the two things missing, in my opinion, from this woman’s post are, “Once upon a time,” and “They all lived happily ever after.”

Job seekers, when you see something that is too good to be true, it probably is. There are now con artists charging job seekers for materials they claim they, the applicants, need to complete for their applications to be considered, as well as asking them to do projects (write at 30-, 60-, 90-day plan…) without paying them. Never pay an employer anything for considering your application and never do actual work for them without be compensated. There other scams as well, like the guy who contacted me and told me he could get my articles on LinkedIn to go viral. None of his have…

Be careful and don’t take these people seriously. A little research, and a little common sense, will go a long way. They are feeding off of your emotions. They want you to think that if you pay they God knows how much, you too will get a six-figure job. You will be rich! Well, there will be someone getting rich, but it won’t be you.

PLEASE NOTE: I posted the name of the person who posted the post (too many “posts!”) because it was a public post. If it had been private, I would not have done so. I hope she realizes her mistake and removes or edits it. She can invite her client to set the record straight by commenting on her post (which I will not see) or on this article. Nothing would make me happier than to be proven wrong. As some of my readers know, it is now my policy not to respond to comments, but I would like to see a confirmation from her client and, for that matter, the HR department that handled his hiring.

How to Write a Perfect Resume

A friend sent me an email he received from a resume writing company that boasted, in the subject line, that they create “perfect” resumes. More power to them. There are just a few problems with their claim:

First, there’s no such thing as a perfect resume. And perfection, in any event, is overrated. There is a debate over who said it first but, whoever it was, was correct, “Perfect is the enemy of good.” If you are shooting for perfection, you will never finish writing your resume. Sometimes “good” is “good enough.”

Second, a resume is a tool. That’s all it is. It’s purpose is to get the recipient to invite you for an interview.

Third, I disagree with those people who say that most recipients of resumes spend 10 seconds reading them. That’s wrong. As I have written previously, they spend five seconds scanning them. Scores of resumes can arrive every day. Who has time to actually read them all? No one. And this is a good thing because…

Four, since the recipient does not have time to actually read a resume when it arrives on their desk, their first impression is going to be visual. So the document needs to be clean, neat and well-organized. Unless you are applying for a job as a graphic designer, there is no need for graphics (which, by the way, can play havoc with some Applicant Tracking Systems). Infographics look great on a report but are a waste of space on a resume. They are just clutter.

Fifth, since many initially scan the resume, not actually reading it, don’t kill yourself when you discover, after you send it, that there is a typo. In a recent unscientific poll on LinkedIn, 75% of respondents, including yours truly, responded that they would consider a candidate whose resume had typos. (Of course, this is within reason. There is a limit! And when the company does a keyword search, the typo may become problematic if, and only if, it’s in a keyword.)

Sixth, the important thing is to grab the recipient’s attention. You do that by simply starting the resume with half a dozen bullet points highlighting relevant professional accomplishments. For veterans, I always suggest, if it’s true (and it usually is) that they write, “Highly decorated veteran of the US…” and then state the branch where they served. (I once had a veteran client who could not get a job interview to save his life. After two hours he finally told me that he was a Silver Star recipient! Once that became the first bullet point at the top of his resume, his phone started ringing! A resume is no place for modesty.)

As for the rest of the resume, you want to show the recipient that you know how to prioritize. Don’t list every responsibility you ever had, just the main ones. Think of the resume as a “tease,” the trailer to a movie to get the recipient to buy the ticket and go and actually see the movie, meaning that they invite you for an interview.

And forget about being perfect. Excpet for my humbal self, I no of know won who is perfekt. If the resume gets you the interview, it’s perfect enough.

Postscript

While writing this article I came upon a survey/poll on LinkedIn asking the question if LinkedIn profiles will replace resumes. My response was to the effect that, while resumes are legally binding documents, LinkedIn profiles are not. Of course, people disagreed with me, which is their right. One person said resumes are not legally binding because they are not signed. In fact, they are. When you note on your cover letter that your resume is attached, since you “sign” the letter (even if it’s an email) you are also signing the resume. And if you are attaching it to an online application, most have a warning that by submitting the application you are confirming that, to the best of your knowledge, the information is accurate – including the resume. As all resumes are part of a job application, I believe they are legally binding. (Not everyone agrees.) After all, you can be fired for lying on your resume.

My view is that a LinkedIn profile is more like an ad. Not everyone on LinkedIn is looking for a job. I’m not. So if someone comes to me for my services, because they saw my profile, why should that be any different from my advertising my services, making the same claims as I make on my profile, in a newspaper or on a billboard? What’s the difference? Why shouldn’t “true in advertising” still apply? And an organization called “LinkedIn” even wants lies in profiles on their site reported! (One person who disagreed with me suggested that I do research before I express an opinion. I had to laugh!)

Of course all of these questions will remain questions until someone sues their employer for firing them for lying on their resume or LinkedIn profile, or until someone is sued for “false advertising” on their profile. But here’s a crazy idea: Don’t lie!

Two Keys to Getting the Job Offer

Let’s look at the job search in a totally different way. Instead of being nice, and convincing the prospective employer that you are the person with whom they would most like to spend eight hours a day, convince them that you are someone with whom they cannot afford not to spend eight hours a day (despite the double negative).

Now, just because there may be some fool out there in Readerland who does not understand sarcasm, exaggeration, or being figurative, I neither endorse blackmailing prospective employers, threatening them, nor being anything other than nice. Now that we have gotten the foolishness out of the way, let’s get back to our subject.

Every day I receive a resume that begins, front and center, with a paragraph fool (Sorry. Freudian slip) full of adjectives and self-praise. The individual is a “consummate professional.” They are “well-respected.” And, of course, they are “accomplished.” But nowhere in the paragraph do they actually enumerate any of their accomplishments. A candidate can claim to have worked on a multi-million dollar project, but it could have been a complete and total disaster – because of them! So it is a misleading statement. Being misleading on your resume, will paint you in a corner, when you are interviewing, from which you will never to able to escape. Don’t mislead! Don’t misrepresent! Don’t Mississippi! (I needed three “mis”es for the alliteration but could not think of a third one. Sorry.)

Problem is, and please remember this, there is not an employer in the world who cares what you think of yourself; they only care about what you can do for them. Take a few minutes and reread the part in italics a few times until it sinks in. Excuse me while I go get something to drink.

That was refreshing!

So now that we have eliminated the paragraph that your mother wrote for you, or you a paid a “professional” resume writer to write for you (and, yes, I have received resumes with exactly the same adjectives and in the exact same format, from different candidates, all of whom paid a fortune for that nonsense!), let’s get to the fun part: threatening and blackmailing.

If you begin your resume with a bullet point list of your quantifiable, objective accomplishments, the employer (or their representative) will say, “I have to meet this person.” Remember, the purpose of a resume is to get an interview, not to get the job. So you need to be nice in the interview, not in the resume. In the resume, you have to brag and get to the point. You don’t have time to charm. The resume reader is tired. They will make mistakes. They will miss things. (Yes, me too!) So don’t make them work. As journalists say, “Don’t bury the lead.” Get to the point!

Front and center announce, without shame, what you have done for others. By so doing, you lower the employer’s level of concern. You appear to be someone who can do the job because you have shown that you have done it for others. And therein lies the subliminal blackmail and threat.

When the employer is finished reading your resume you want them to think, “If they don’t work for me, they’ll work for my competitor, and, unless they turn out to be a jerk, I don’t want that. So let’s bring them in QUICKLY!”

And there’s the blackmail. There’s the threat. If I don’t work for you, I’ll work for your competitor. Or, if you prefer,if I don’t work for you, I’ll work against you! Or, if you don’t hire me, your competitor will!

The only way to achieve that result is by focusing on objective, quantifiable accomplishments, not adjectives and self-praise.

Oh, and remember, be nice in the interview. No one hires someone with whom they would not want to spend eight hours a day.

Proof Not Praise

It seems that at the dawn of a new year someone always announces that for the coming 365-and-a-quarter-day cycle, there should be a new resume, and not just a new year.

The worst example, which I must admit even I fell for (for a while), was the ridiculous video resume. When first approached to be an (unpaid – that should have been my first clue) advisor to a company whose name I forget, by people whose names I forget, they had a great reply to my comment, “It’s hard enough to get employers to read resumes; do you really think they’ll watch a video?” I forget their reply, but I remember attending a few meetings before regaining my senses. It can happen to anyone. It’s nothing of which to be ashamed, as long as you learn from the experience.

I was recently reading a book that referenced the presidential election of Dwight Eisenhower. His presidential campaign was the first to utilize the services of an ad agency. He apparently did not like the idea, but he gave his approval. He was literally sold to the American people like a box of cereal. And, of course, it worked. General Eisenhower became President Eisenhower.

If you want to get your dream job in the New Year, you need to do the same. Sell yourself like a box of cereal.

When you purchase something, anything, the manufacturer’s marketing department makes certain to let you know about the product’s benefits. They make promises. And the smart ones provide proof. They back up their claims. In clinical studies it was shown that our soap does not dry your skin. Nine out of 10 dentists… You get the idea. And I would hazard to guess that those are the products you buy.

And this brings me to the first paragraph – the so-called “Professional Summary” – of far too many resumes. They begin with adjectives. “Outstanding” is my favorite. It is amazing how many outstanding professionals can’t find a job.

The most valuable “piece of real estate” on a resume is the top of the first page. Resume recipients are usually very tired from reading resumes. They (I admit it, we) are fed up with looking at resumes. We miss things. So for 2021 the new resume should be one which does not require the recipient to work.

In journalism it is called “burying the lead.” It was a cool September night. The wind was blowing gently from the southwest. The moonlight offered a romantic glow to the pedestrians walking on Main Street. It also provided ample light for murder!

That may be how a novel is written, but not a newspaper article. Murder comes first. It also, figuratively speaking, needs to come first on a resume.

Have you ever gone to a networking event and introduced yourself thusly? (Now that is a good word with which to end a year!) Hi. I’m Jane. I’m an outstanding… Of course not. You’d sound like a total fool. So why do it on your resume? It doesn’t read any better than it sounds.

No employer cares what you think about yourself. They want to know what you can do for them. The only way to convince them is by telling them what you have done for your current and past employers. So start your resume with a half dozen bullet points highlighting your accomplishments. Numbers are important. Quantification is important. Reduced employee turnover to record numbers doesn’t mean a thing. Reduced employee turnover to 3% from 12% in one year means a great deal. So don’t bury the lead with nonsense about how great you think you are. Show the resume recipient why others think you are great. Show them why they should interview you. Show them why they can’t afford to let you go and work for their competitor. Don’t praise yourself; prove your worth. That’s the 2021 resume. Everything else stays the same.

Good luck and may 2021 be a year of Good Health, Happiness and Prosperity.

The $1,000 Resume

I live about 5 blocks from my pharmacy which is located in a small mall (the word is an exaggeration) which has half a dozen eateries. A couple have now placed chairs and tables outside.

As I was going up the stairs to get meds that are supposed to allow me to pay taxes for an indefinite period, I saw a very attractive young woman seated at a table with her father. He was not attractive but he was very angry.

He screamed, “I paid a thousand dollars for this! You chose her. What do you think, experts on resumes just fall out of the sky?” (That may not be an exact quote…”

He took a drink of coffee. I stopped, took a business card out of my wallet, and then walked to their table. I smiled at the daughter and said to the father, “Experts don’t fall out of the sky but, sometimes, their business cards do.” I dropped the card in front of him and proceeded on my way.

I walked into the pharmacy. Got my fix – I mean – my meds, and left. I walked back to their table and the father said, “I paid a thousand dollars for this. No one is calling my daughter. What’s the problem?”

I looked at the resume. I told him I could tell him what the problem was but he had to promise not to yell. I added, “Your Italian. I’m Jewish. I know that parental screaming is in our DNA but, no screaming.” She laughed. He promised. Then she stopped laughing.

I said, “First, a US telephone number has 10 digits, not nine. That’s why using hyphens is important. You can catch these errors. Second, it’s ‘gmail.com,’ not ‘gmail.co.’ Third, New Jersey is spelled with a capital ‘J.’ Fourth, a lot of major companies use what are called ‘Applicant Tracking Systems.’ They are computers that scan resumes into their data base. A human only sees the resume if it has the necessary keywords. Your daughter’s resume has the necessary keywords but her contact information, for what it’s worth, and the list of her skills, are all in a sidebar, in white font on a black background. Some computers can’t read that. And finally, these infographics – which the Applicant Tracking Systems won’t pick up – look nice but send the clear message that she has not accomplished enough in her career to even fill a single page.” I also pointed out some additional typos and told him that I tell my clients not to include their address, only their city and state of residence. “Do you really want strangers knowing where your daughter lives?” (That actually lowered the shade of red on his face.)

I then continued, “Remember, you promised not to scream. The reason your daughter is not getting any calls is that they either look at the resume and conclude she is sloppy and not detail-oriented or, if they use the Applicant Tracking System, they don’t know about it. That’s why she’s not getting any calls. Remember,” I reminded him, “you promised not to yell.”

He kept his promise, at least to me. He got his money refunded. And I got a new career counseling client.

Lesson for business owners: Always carry a couple of business cards in your wallet. Lesson for job seekers: Don’t pay $1,000 for a resume. There is no resume that is worth a thousand dollars. And, proofread the resume before you send it out. The more eyes, the better. And that is even true for a resume I prepare. I’m also not perfekt.

——————————–

Bruce Hurwitz, the Amazon international best selling author of The 21st Century Job Search and Immigrating to Israel, is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that! A five-star rated speech writer on Fiverr, he is the host and producer of the live-interview podcast, Bruce Hurwitz Presents: MEET THE EXPERTS.  He is an honors graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from where he received is doctorate in International Relations majoring in International Law.

The 21st Century Job Search

New cover shot for articles

People seem to believe that entering a new century means that there is a new way to do just about everything, or at least there should be. That’s silly. At least as regards conducting an effective job search, the only thing different in this, the second decade of the twenty-first century, from previous centuries, is technology – you can literally find networking events at the push of a button, and apply for hundreds of jobs a week, if you already have a computer and Internet access, virtually for free!

There are two other differences, but I am afraid you will have to read my new book, The 21st Century Job Search, to find out what they are!

I have never been afraid of controversy, nor am I hesitant to admit when I am wrong. Accordingly, in the book I revisit my previous comments on such things as wearing large engagement rings to job interviews, my short-lived position as a career coach at a New York university, and coping with discrimination, topics which raised some eyebrows when I originally wrote about them on LinkedIn.

In the book you will learn:

  • How to prepare for an effective job search;
  • How to research prospective employers;
  • How to handle your Internet presence;
  • How to utilize LinkedIn to build your brand and attract employers;
  • How to effectively network – especially if you are shy;
  • How to prepare for surprises;
  • How to correctly read job descriptions to avoid frustration;
  • What really happens to, and how to write, effective cover letters;
  • What really happens to, and how to write, effective resumes;
  • How to properly prepare for phone, video and in-person interviews;
  • What questions to ask, and how to answers questions you will be asked, in interviews;
  • How to follow-up after an interview;
  • About legal and illegal discrimination; and
  • About negotiating, offer letters, and resigning.

I also tackle the “tough” questions of dealing with a “resume gap,” raising health issues, having been fired, and how to turn having been a stay-at-home parent or caregiver into an attraction for employers.

But I do not simply tell you what to do, when possible, I show you. There is a script, especially for those of you who are shy, for effective networking and follow up. Additionally, you will find sample letters for networking, expressing interest in a company, applying for jobs, thanking interviewers and, my personal favorite, the rejection letter.

While in the book I give particular advice to veterans, college students, “older” candidates, the long-term unemployed, stay-at-home parents, and caregivers about how to effectively cope with the different stages of a job search, the book is for any job seeker regardless of their circumstances.

The official launch date for the book is March 1. You may pre-order the book and receive significant savings through February 28. The paperback edition will only cost you $9.95 (a $10 savings), and the Kindle edition will only be $2.99 (a $6.96 savings; FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.) To make your purchase, click on the links or the book cover.

Links to LinkedIn Posts You May Find of Interest

Ten Things for Veterans to Keep in Mind When Conducting a Job Search

10 Things to Do to Get over the Holiday Job Seeking Blues

Why I Believe I am Correct in Accepting Connect Requests from Everyone

The 5-Second Resume Skim

Two Jobs to Think Thrice About Before Taking

How I Got a Former Prostitute Hired

5 Steps to Successful Career Change

Closing the Salary Gap

9 Questions Every Candidate Should Ask in an Interview and Why

Before hiring, meet the wife!

Why reading the classics is important

Check Your References

What is an Informational Meeting and How Should You Conduct One?

The Dangers of Frivolous Accusations of Sexual Harassment

Why Volunteering is so Important for Job Seekers

What is appropriate to share with colleagues and what isn’t?

Is this the Dumbest or Most Brilliant Reason for Working on a Straight Commission?

On Time Management

What will the 2018 Resume Look Like?

On Bald Spots, Women’s Undergarments and Multiple Resumes

It seems that in every generation a gender is made to look foolish. (P.T. Barnum would be proud!) In the 1990s it was men. If you had a bald spot the solution was a can of spray paint or, as I like to call it, “hair in a can.” Con the woman of your dreams into falling head (pun intended) over heels for you and pray you never have to take a shower or that she starts running her fingers through your mane!

Now it’s the ladies’ turn. Not being able to sleep, I turned on the television in the wee hours of the morning and had a good laugh. I don’t remember the name of the product but the company was hocking a modern corset (there is really nothing new under the sun!) guaranteed to give the wearer an instant hourglass figure. Of course, if the new form attracts the man of the wearer’s dreams, no advice was provided for the consequences of the removal of said garment.

This reminded me of a recent exchange I had with a job seeker who insists on having a different resume for every job for which he applies. This was not just someone who tweaks his resumes, he rewrites them. Significantly, he would change job titles and not just responsibilities and accomplishments. That’s called lying and is not something that I ever condone.

My warning to him was that one day, when he does well in an interview, and an employer starts checking references, the lies in his resume will become apparent. Next time I will continue the thought with…much like the bald spot after the shower and the true figure after the removal of the modern corset.

——————————–

Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements. Follow him on Twitter at @HurwitzStaffing.

“Caregiver”​ and “Stay-at-Home Mom”​ are not jobs

Usually, it takes a while for me to lose it. I have a high tolerance for the ridiculous, the foolish, the ignorant and the stupid. My feeling is that sooner or later people will realize who, and what, they are and they will receive the anonymity that they so richly deserve. So why bother getting upset?

On the other hand…

I received a call from a perspective career counseling client. This woman is interested in entering the job market. Nothing new about that. But this woman is rather unique. She has never had a “job job,” to quote her. And she does not have a resume. She’s never had one. And when she called “professional resume writers,” they all told her that since she had no “employment history” they really could not help her. After all, what she had been doing all of her adult life “didn’t count.”

The woman graduated from college and then got married. For the next 17 years, she raised three healthy, well-adjusted, children. When her eldest turned 15, her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The family decided to move her into their home. She now had, along with her husband, responsibility for raising three children and looking after her mother who needed an increasing amount of attention as, ironically, her children required less.

Her mother recently passed away and now, with her eldest heading off to college, and her other two children more or less independent, she needs to get a job to help pay medical bills. And, for obvious reasons, she wants to and needs to get out of the house.

But the resume writers told her that she has no employment history. Talk about ridiculous, foolish, ignorant and stupid! Think about the skills this woman has had to master:

  • Patience
  • Organization
  • Scheduling
  • Maneuvering in governmental bureaucracies
  • Budgeting
  • Vetting of service providers
  • Negotiating
  • Being meticulous

What employer, in their right mind, would not want an employee who has mastered these skills? No work experience? Rubbish!

——————————–

Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.

Never Use a Functional Resume

I have been a recruiter since 2003 and a career counselor since 2009.  During this time I must have received hundreds of functional resumes.  Not in some; not in most; in ALL cases the sender was trying to hide something.  Allow me to explain:

Most job seekers either don’t know, or have forgotten, what the purpose of a resume is.  Traditionally, we say, “The purpose of the cover letter is to get the recipient to look at the resume; the purpose of the resume is to get the interview.”  True enough.  But the real purpose of the resume is to tell the recipient what they want to know.

So what does a resume recipient want to know?

First, where you live and how to contact you.  If they are conducting a search for local candidates only, and you are across the country, they don’t want to waste their time with you.  Not including your city and state of residence (no one needs to know your actual address), will not get you an interview.  At best, you will get a very short conversation:  “Where do you live?”  “Thank you, but we are only considering local candidates.  It’s on the job description!”

Second, can you keep a job?  How long did you work for your various employers?

Third, do you meet the minimum qualifications for consideration meaning, do you have the necessary education (degree), certifications, licenses, etc., not to mention years of experience?

Fourth, if you pass the first three tests, what were your most recent accomplishments.

That’s it.  Four things.  If your resume does not make those four clear, you will not be considered.

So what’s the problem with function resumes?

They usually begin with a description of the applicant’s accomplishments/ responsibilities by category.  For example, let’s say it is a business development professional.  There may be  headings for “Sales,” and “Marketing,” and “Client Acquisition and Retention,” and “Customer Service.”  Under each the owner will list their accomplishments and specific responsibilities.

That is all fine and good, but let’s say that the employer is interested in “Client Acquisition and Retention,” and the person has not been involved with that for 10 years.  That is something that they need to know but will not appear on a functional resume.  So when the employer calls and ask, “How long ago was your client acquisition and retention experience?” , that conversation will also be very short.

Under “Work Experience,” some persons list all current and past employers, but have one general heading for the years.  Except for the basics: name, title, location, there’s no content.  That sends the message that the applicant probably only had one job, if that, for a significant amount of time.  They are a jumper.  Employers don’t hire jumpers.

In other words, a functional resume sends the message:  I don’t want you to know how long I worked for my various employers and when was the last time I actually did what you are interested in hiring someone to do.

Stick to the traditional chronological resume.  Start with your name, city and state of residence, and contact information.  Don’t waste your time with an introductory paragraph telling the recipient how great you think you are; they do not care.  What they care about is what you have actually accomplished.  So start with “Selected Accomplishments” and half a dozen bullet points.  Then comes “Work Experience,” showing dates, employer name, your title, and what you actually did for the employers.  Then “Education,” “Certifications,” “Skills and Languages,” and “Volunteer Activities.”  And if you have them, “Awards and Honors,” “Publications,” “Media Citations,” and “Speaking Engagements” – all the things that tell employers that other people think you are as great as you think you are!

If you want an employer to call you, make certain your resume clearly answers their questions:  Where do you live and how can I reach you?  Can you keep a job?  Are you qualified?  What have you actually accomplished in your career that will make me confident you are the right person to solve my problems and how long ago was that?

——————————–

Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter, career counselor and business advisor.  In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.  Visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about the latest questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies.