Friday, April 18, 2008

How to Rise Above Resume Hell

Resume Hell is where all the poor sad resumes go that never see the light of day. Do you want to be in Resume Hell?

Or would you like to rise above Resume Hell?

It’s really not that hard, because the vast majority of resumes do the same thing, make the same mistakes, and say the same thing. So if you take a different approach that’s thoughtful and distinctive, it’s not hard to rise above the rest into the daylight.

Tips to stay out of Resume Hell:

Be Different: Show how unique you are in business, and in your personality. Be you. Stop being afraid that what you say will disqualify you for a job – you wouldn’t want that job anyways. Be you, and find a job where you are the unique answer to company problems.

Be Specialized: Be a Subject Matter Expert, and wear it proudly - Especially if you are a manager or an executive. Your subject Matter Expertise doesn’t have to be about industry, though it can be. Your subject matter expertise can be in a specific corporate problem, solution, management technique, technology, etc. Your Subject Matter Expertise can be in Marketing, Operations, Finance or IT.

Be Most Awesome, Dude!: Write about what you accomplished. I saved X by doing Y. I increased sales by X% by doing Y. WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU DID, NOT WHAT YOU MANAGED. Stop being ordinary, stop writing about what you managed, what you were responsible for, what you organized, participated in, or advised.

Be Efficient: Use your Resume Real Estate efficiently. The average reader spends 15 seconds reading a resume before making an interview/no interview decision. Make your 15 seconds count by putting the sizzle at the top, and grab the reader by the throat in the top half of the first page. Shrink headers, move summaries and skills inventories to the back.

Be Customized: One size doesn’t fit all today. Heavily customize your resume for each job you submit your resume. Your resume should be a single use document.

Be Honest: Why lie? The truth is so much more interesting. Besides, chances are you’ll get caught by the target company or Karma.

Be Precise: You’re only perfect two times in your life - At birth, and on your resume. So you’d best spell check.

So how come so few people dare to be different? Well, we were taught to be generic resume writers, taught to write paper passed resumes, and it’s hard to change old habits.

Don’t be generic, be you. Fitting a square peg into a round hole is short sighted, and creates unworkable situations.

Instead, why not search for square holes?

Executives exploring Career Change: For a free 30 minute resume consultation, or career advice for executives, email your resume confidentially to reCareered (, and we'll schedule a time to talk.

Staff, Managers, Entrepreneurs, and career changers outside the US: Send your resume to to enroll in a free group teleseminar "Accelerate Your Job Search - tools you can use".


Related Articles:
3 Things Your Next Employer Will Search For
Resume Search Optimization

For access to more information:
Become a fan of reCareered on Facebook:
Join Career Change Central on Linkedin:


Des Walsh said...

Excellent advice. Candidates should picture themselves as busy executives going through a pile of resumes. With the best will in the world the generic, boilerplate type resumes are more likely to end up in the No pile. The different ones will get more attention. I once included someone on an interview slate on the basis of a single, handwritten page that said, as I recall, something like "I am simply the best candidate for this job, which will become obvious when you interview me." He actually oversold himself, but he did get an interview.

I agree that you should emphasize what you achieved, not reproduce fifteen job descriptions with everything in them that the human resources people could think of to load onto the positions in question. But I would counsel people not to claim personal credit for what were probably team efforts. The people doing the culling and interview are very likely not idiots and will know that someone who claims all the credit for what a team did is probably not someone they want on *their* team. If you've been the team leader, say so. If you were part of a successful team, say so. People get Olympic medals for relays as well as solo events and it's no different in business: ther e are times for solo performances and times for team synergy. If you show how you were able to help others achieve success with you, that could well be a plus.

useektravel said...

The question is..Is there a solution to not becoming a statistic of the economy?

To find out more check out my site that discusses more about same topic. "What's Your Plan B?"