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.