Monday, February 24, 2014

Rate Your Resume

Rate Your Resume

Whether you wrote your resume yourself or had help, your resume may not be helping your job search. Here are just a few areas on which to determine if your resume is an advantage or disadvantage and the logic behind it.

1) References Available Upon Request
a. If you have that phrase or something to that effect on your resume, give yourself -1 points.
b. If you do not have that on your resume give yourself +1 points.

Logic: Offering references began when we became a more mobile society. Before then everyone in town already knew us. When we moved, it was impressive to say we had people that would vouch for us. Today in most cases you will not get a job without references so this is an unnecessary phrase and ages your resume.

2) Using an AOL or Hotmail e-mail accounts
a. If your e-mail address is one of the above, give yourself -1 points.
b. If you have a professional email address (contains your name and is not “cutesy”) and it is not one of the above types, give yourself +1.

Logic: These two e-mail providers were some of the original. They now give the impression that you are old. Microsoft has a replacement for hotmail that integrates with it; it is called (this is not the product Outlook that is part of Office). If you have one of these e-mail addresses it is recommended that you get a new address. I recommend you get one that is independent of your service provider so in the event you change service providers you don’t lose the e-mail address.

3) Objective
a. If your resume starts with an Objective where you state what you want, give yourself -1 points.
b. If instead you start with your personal brand statement that states the value you bring for that particular position and the title of the job appears within the first 5 words, give yourself +1 points.

Logic: Back in the day, companies kept employees around for decades and wanted to know persons desires. Today companies focus on what you can do for them. Then in the 1980’s job seekers started this paragraph with superlatives such as “dynamic multiply talented….” That has become overused and it doesn’t say a thing. Your resume gets less than 12 seconds of a glance and you need to be more upfront with the title of the job, the value you bring, and how you are unique.

4) Historic Resume
a. If you developed your resume to document your past only (company, job title, dates, and job description), give yourself -3 points.
b. If you analyzed a sampling of job descriptions for the type of job you are pursuing and emphasized the experience, skills, and keywords they are looking for that you have in the past jobs, then give yourself +3 points.

Logic: Resumes when they were first used were just that, historical. Today the job market is so competitive and you have to quickly get the reader at a glance to see why they should hire you. This is painting the dots real close together so they see the picture. Don’t make them need time to figure out what you bring.

5) Date location
a. If your job dates are on the left OR snuggled up against the job, give yourself -1 point.
b. If your job dates are to the right, and if you have had a promotion, those dates are also indicated next to each title with the overall date next to the company, then give yourself +1 point.

Logic: In this country we read top to bottom, left to right, and whatever we read first has the most importance. If you put the dates first, you are saying that they are more important than your job titles, which you know they are not. If you snuggle your date next to the company or if you do not have dates on each of the positions you held for that company, you are hiding important information.

6) Bullets
a. If you are using bullets for job descriptions then give yourself -3 points.
b. If you have a small paragraph under each job that gives the scope of the work you did and use bullets for your accomplishments from most important to least important, then give yourself +3 points.

Logic: Hiring authorities are looking to see what you have done previously accomplishment wise as an indication of what you can do for them. It is the proof of what you brought to your past companies. You want the most important ones for each job listed first under each job; if they stop reading, they have read the most important ones first. Plus if you need to trim your resume, you can trim from the bottom of the list of accomplishments for each job because you already know they are the least important.

7) Error in spelling, inconsistent format, more than one phone number, etc.
a. If you have even a single misspelled word, have inconsistent formatting (especially if you are trying to convey that you are detail oriented), and / or if you have more than one phone number listed, give yourself -1 point for each occurrence.
b. If you have spell checked your resume and had someone else proof it, if you have gone over every item with a fined tooth comb to be sure of consistent font use and format, and if you only have one phone number, then give yourself +1 point for each.

Logic: The funniest resume I ever received as a hiring manager was the one who claimed to be detail oriented and had the word “detail” spelled wrong. Really? You may have spell check turned on but if your system is set to ignore capital letters, numbers, or a section of your resume is “protected” from spellcheck, you may have misspellings. Also check commonly confused words such as there, their, and they’re. For dates, determine a format and stick with it. If you use abbreviated months then abbreviate all of them (Sep. is the 3 letter abbreviation for September). If you use numbers, then use the same format (02 for February instead of 2). Also decide whether you will use a space before and after the hyphen on dates and then be consistent.

8) All marketing materials (elevator pitch, business card, LinkedIn profile, networking guide, cover letter, and resume)
a. If you do not have all of the above listed pieces of marketing material give yourself - 2 for not having a LinkedIn profile and -1 point for each of the others.
b. If you have all of the above, give yourself +2 for a LinkedIn profile and +1 point for each of the others. Give yourself an extra +2 if you use the T cover letter and always send it with your resume.

Logic: The resume is actually the least used piece of marketing materials if you are conducting the job search correctly. In fact I have listed the items in order of use.

9) Your name
a. If you have one name on your resume and a different version of your name on LinkedIn (different first name, middle initial in one place and not the other, different last name) then give yourself -1 point.
b. If all of your marketing materials have the EXACT same version of your name, give yourself +1 point.

Logic: In most cases the reader can probably figure out you are the same person but don’t make then work so hard to hire you. Consistency gives a more professional look.

Now add up your points. If you are not happy with the results, if this is the first time you have heard some of these points, or you heard them but haven’t acted upon them, that may be why your job search is not as productive as it could be.

E-mail me at with the subject line Cover Letter and we’ll send you the article and template for the T cover letter as well as the networking guide.

Resume Need Help?
RightChanges wants to help as many people as possible so we are offering a Resume and More February Storm Special for $175.

Deadline: To take advantage of this special, payment must be received by February 28th . E-mail your contact information to or go onto the web site and complete the Contact Us form. We’ll contact you back to get you scheduled and take payment.

This special provides 4 hours (two 1-hour sessions and one 2-hour session) with the coach to knock out your marketing materials. During the initial hour, we’ll review your current resume, assess your job search to date, and develop a list of information you need to bring in order to develop your resume. The next appointment is for two hours during which you work with the coach in developing the resume and your other marketing materials. The last hour session is to finish up the marketing materials and develop a plan to find the jobs.

Monday, January 6, 2014

RightChanges is celebrating it's 5th year of successfully helping people land jobs they WANTED!

RightChanges is celebrating it's 5th year of successfully helping people land jobs they WANTED!

Make 2014 the year you get the job you WANT!

Go to to see our appreciation rates!

Monday, October 28, 2013

3 Reasons the Holidays are a Great Time to Start or Continue Your Job Search

Many job seekers mistakenly think that the holidays are a bad time to find a job so they back off on their search efforts. There are actually three reasons that the holidays are a great time to start or continue the search.

Reason One
The process of searching for a job is actually step 4 of a successful search* . Quoting Coach Wooden, “When opportunity knocks, it’s too late to prepare. “ Be ready before opportunity knocks on your door. Be sure you have addressed the first three steps and have all of your marketing materials ready to go.

Step 1 is Attitude. There are two aspects to having the right attitude. The first aspect of attitude is understanding and accepting that the job market has changed. If you thought, “I have found a job before I can do it again” without understanding what you need to do differently, then you will have a very hard time finding a job. The job market has changed, the resume formats have changed, in fact the resume is the 6th most used piece of marketing materials, and the way you need to look for a job have changed. Take this time to understand the new job market and revise your approach.

The second aspect of having a good attitude is giving yourself time and permission to process the loss or fear so it does not negatively impact your body language, word choice, or the energy you need to do the job search. Don’t think you can fake it. Your micro gestures can’t be faked and is the reason lie detectors work so well and psychics can “read” you. Like leftovers in a refrigerator, emotions do not get better with time. Take them out and deal with them.

Step 2 is Aptitude and that means knowing your product – YOU. Let me ask you: Can you give a powerful, concise answer when the hiring authority asks “Why should we hire you over your competition?” When asked “what are your strengths” do you give the blah blah blah answer by saying “I’m detailed oriented, I’m a people person, I’m a quick study, I’m organized,…”.

Your search will be less successful and take longer if you have not taken the time to identify and document your prior accomplishments (STARs), identify your real strengths, and developed a personal brand. Be sure you know your product and how you are unique from your competition.

Step 3 is Altitude which means identifying the criteria for the company that is looking for someone with your skills and experience. Target a list of companies that fit that criterion. Having a target company list does not mean you wouldn’t take a job with another company. Do not take the passive approach, waiting for companies to post positions. Instead make a list of 5-10 companies that you REALLY want to work for and who are looking for someone just like you, then proactively work to get a job with them.

These three steps must be completed before updating your marketing materials. Remember your resume is the 6th most used item of marketing materials. Know what other items of marketing materials you need as much, if not more than a resume, and how and when to use them.

Reason Two
Companies are ramping up hiring to have people in seats at the beginning of the year.

Budgets of many companies and organizations start over at the beginning of the calendar year. Those budgets include additional headcount. Hiring managers want to fill those seats as soon as possible to help with the immense workload. Managers also want to hire before budgets are adjusted down. Use this time to network into the opportunity before someone else does.

Reason Three
While others are stepping back in their search, step forward.

You have probably seen the skit in cartoons where a troop is standing in a line and the drill sergeant asks for someone to volunteer by stepping forward. All of the members of the troop except one step back making it look like the one guy stepped forward. In that case it is not good to be the one who is left standing in front. But in the job search, you want to be the one who is stepping up. When others are missing out on opportunities, be the one who is there when opportunity knocks.

2nd Annual Holiday Season Special

To encourage you to prepare for and continue your job search between now and the end of the 2013 year, RightChanges is offering the second annual holiday special.

Pay for two hours of coaching and use at least one before the end of this year and receive another hour free. That’s a total of three hours, one to be used this year and two others to use before the end of 2014. One hour must be used before the end of the year, so don’t wait to take advantage of this program; our appointment calendars are filling up quickly. E-mail us at and mention the Holiday Special.

Check Out These Other Resources

The 5 Deadly Sins of the Job Search : Go to YouTube and search FoundaJobYet to view the 5 part video series titled The 5 Deadly Sins of the Job Search to be sure you are not committing any of the most common job search mistakes.

How to Handle the Holiday When You are in a Job Search Go to the previously published RightChanges blog article “How to Handle the Holiday When You are in a Job Search”.

Gift for Family and Friends
Consider giving the book Found a Job Yet? And Other Questions NOT to Ask! as a gift for friends and family in your life. The first half of the book covers how the job market has changed and what job seekers have to do in order to be successful. The second half of the book covers what people with a job seeker in their life can do to help in their success.

Have a very happy holiday with your family and keep the job search moving forward.

About RightChanges
Judi Adams is the CEO of RightChanges, the Affordable and Successful Job Search Coach. RightChanges’ clients who completed the personal coach series landed jobs they WANTED.

*The Six Steps of the Job Search are the copyright of Crossroads Career Services. Judi Adams of RightChanges is a professional affiliate of Crossroads Career Services.