10 Best Executive Resume Writing Services Criteria to Evaluate the Best Resume Writing Service for You

10 Best Executive Resume Writing Services: Criteria to Evaluate the Best Resume Writing Service for You

10 Best Executive Resume Writing Services–A False Designation?

Your List Is Based on Your Needs

10 Best Executive Resume Writing Services–A False Designation?

In short, there is no single 10 Best Executive Resume Writing Services list that will satisfy all of your specific expectations for the ideal executive resume writing provider. You as the consumer have to choose, knowing that the ranking systems are so very often skewed by their authors and adjudicators. Choose your executive resume service wisely, according to all that you know about yourself and your unique career management needs.

If you are looking for criteria to evaluate the 10 best executive resume writing services, you need to know the right way to qualify these services. Use these decision points to determine whether the executive resume writing strategy you have chosen is going to serve you most effectively.

1. Location

You might want to know that your executive resume writing service is local to your home city. For example, many executives reach out to Amy L. Adler at Five Strengths Career Transition Experts because they want a Salt Lake City, UT, writer. If location doesn’t matter to you, then by all means engage with a resume writer in your home city or choose one from across the globe.

In no case should a resume writer claim to be #1 in a market in which he or she does not live and work–doing so would be false advertising and presenting a false credential to the public.

2. Experience

Executives seeking resume writing services should evaluate the length of time and depth of expertise of their prospective executive resume writer. Newer entrants to the marketplace are not likely to have the benefit that only years of experience can convey, and perhaps you don’t want your resume writer to be learning on the job and practicing with your executive resume.

Amy L. Adler has been writing and editing professionally for 28 years, the last 10 of which has been as an executive resume writer. Feel free to check out examples of Amy L. Adler’s resume writing style and expertise here. This executive resume is Amy’s favorite, and it is a TORI winner.

3. Awards and Honors

Not all resume writers enter annual resume writing competitions, but those who do and who have won might represent your brand and story well. The Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) Awards are coveted honors, and Five Strengths Career Transition Experts has won two TORIs.

After winning those awards, Amy L. Adler was invited to serve as a judge on the awards panel and has done so for several years. Note: Judges cannot enter the competition.

4. Industry Association Memberships

All resume writers who work within the resume writing community are likely to be members of at least one of the four major careers organizations that support resume writing and career coaching with training and annual conferences. These organizations are Career Directors International, Career Thought Leaders, The National Resume Writers’ Association, and Professional Association of Resume Writers.

Amy L. Adler is an active member and extensive volunteer with the first three resume writing associations on this list. A business that claims expertise in the industry should be affiliated with at least one oft these organizations.

5. Resume Writing Certifications

The professional organizations mentioned above all provide extensive training and certifications in resume writing and related disciplines. When your executive resume writer holds one or more of these credentials, you can be sure that that individual’s writing expertise and resume portfolio has been vetted by experts in the industry. They have proven themselves to understand the needs of resume writing clients and to be able to convey their clients’ expertise in written form, using all of the conventions associated with good resume writing.

Amy L. Adler holds these industry credentials: Certified Master Resume Writer, Certified Advanced Resume Writer, and Certified Employment Interview Coach (Career Directors International).

6. Education

Just like executive-level clients, you can expect that an expert resume writer is going to have a good match of industry experience (see above) and education. Most have college degrees; many have graduate degrees as well. Executive resume writers blend the two to maximize their understanding of their high-level clients’ deep and broad experiences.

Amy L. Adler holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Boston College, a Master of Arts (MA) with a focus on Book Publishing from New York University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Spanish (double major) from Franklin and Marshall College.

7. Pricing

In the resume writing industry, training and expertise takes a great deal of time. Typically, those in business for just a few years charge low rates because they have not put in their 10,000 hours of practice and training to become expert in the field. Those who consider themselves experts in executive resume writing should be able to prove that they have years of editorial experience and the credentials that go with that coveted designation.

Amy L. Adler’s packages for executive resume writing and executive-level career portfolio development may be found here.

8. Individual Practitioner or Agency Leadership

Executive resume writing companies come in two flavors: Individual practitioners and agency models. Individual practitioners run their complete business and engage with their clients on all aspects of development of their career portfolios. Agency model owners often have been resume writers and recruiters themselves and hold the proper certifications but now lead the team providing individual services because they choose to, not because they have no credentials. Both are valuable, and both are respected within the industry. When the owner or individual practitioner knows a great deal about each client and adds their expertise to that client’s strategy, the result for that executive client is bound to be more effective.

Unfortunately, agency models in which the leader or owner is detached from the business, perhaps due to lack of experience or knowledge, could offer you little recourse if your resume writer fails to deliver on your strategy.

Amy L. Adler is an individual practitioner, which enables her to do what she loves–write executive resumes for vice presidents, presidents, general managers, CEOs, COOs, CTOs, CIOs, and CISOs (a personal favorite).

9. Credible Web Presence

Experienced executive resume writers have great websites. They are informative and honestly describe the executive resume writer’s experience, expertise, and ideal client. They do not boast about being #1 in markets and functions in which they do not have experience. They do have very real testimonials (although sometimes these testimonials are anonymized to protect the identity of their executive clients). Photos of these clients can be reverse-searched on Google Images to reveal their veracity. Video testimonials should also present very real clients.

Amy L. Adler’s web home is here, https://fivestrengths.com. The testimonials are real, as are those on her LinkedIn profile, https://linkedin.com/in/amyladler. She does not rely on outside review sites as measures of credibility, as these can be manipulated by bad actors.

10. Ethical Behavior and Honesty in Resume Writing Practice

Perhaps most important of all of these is a commitment to ethics and honesty in the practice of resume writing. Ethical practice and honesty take a few forms:

  1. Refraining from offering a guarantee, for example for interviews or a job, to which the service cannot possible commit.
  2. Avoiding self-designated proclamations of expertise without credible corroboration of that talent set (see “Don’t Rank Me in The 5 Best Resume Services in Salt Lake City, UT” for a very real description this negative practice and The Better Business Bureau’s report when someone goes against these ethical practices).
  3. Deep pride in very real expertise and honest humility when a prospective client asks for a service set outside the provider’s expertise. This provider should be willing to recommend a colleague, by name, with the right expertise, should the situation warrant it.

Amy L. Adler offers no guarantees except that she will work with her clients until the client says that the engagement is complete. She shows her expertise, through examples of her work, testimonials, education, and certifications; the statement that she held the #1 Best Executive Resume Writer, as conferred by a major TORI win, is real and can be verified here. Finally, because Amy L. Adler has an extensive network within the resume writing industry, individuals she proudly calls friends and colleagues, she gladly refers clients to ideal providers when the situation calls for this type of referral.

Don’t Rank Me in The 5 Best Resume Services in Salt Lake City, UT

More Resume Writing and Career Advice:10 Best Executive Resume Writing Services Criteria…Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search9 Questions You Need to Ask Your Executive Resume WriterThe Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard about Job Search Strategy5 Software Tools to Jump Start Your Job SearchThe Worst Resume Writing Advice We Have Heard

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How to Promote Volunteerism on Your Executive Resume

How to Promote Volunteerism on Your Executive Resume

Updated May 27, 2018

I received an interesting question that actually mirrors a question I get from my private clients quite a lot: Can I use volunteer work on a resume? This individual wanted to know whether hiring managers like what she has done, or will they consider it fluff? Her story is much like those of many who have experienced a gap in their career histories, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. This person has all the hallmarks of a top hire: She’s a college graduate, super smart, well-read, is a true knowledge seeker and seeker of truth, and has led major organizations with multiple reporting layers. Unsurprisingly, she sounds like many of the executives with whom I have worked over the years.  How can she promote her career history on her resume, even though the majority of her work has been in volunteer roles?

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How will you promote your volunteerism on your executive resume?

First and foremost, it’s important to recognize as an article of faith that work is work, even if it’s unpaid. Never lose sight of the fact that what you do every day has relevance for your job search strategy, because you’re doing something important and valuable.  And exploring what you like about the various volunteer roles you have had can help you narrow down your career target as well.

Examples of this type of volunteer work from which your resume can benefit can include:

  • Sitting on the board of a non-profit institution.
  • Volunteering at a church or synagogue.
  • Leading programs as part of your child’s PTA.
  • Organizing an event, such as a food drive or fun run.
  • Serving as a Boy Scout or Girl Scout guide.
  • Coaching a sports team.

There are, of course, many other types of volunteerism that can bolster your job application process. The crucial thing to remember is that you must couch your leadership contributions and your accomplishments in the same way that you account for them with your regular paid positions. Remember, work is work, even if it’s unpaid.

Let’s look at a few possibilities in which volunteerism can amplify your executive resume and your executive job search strategy overall.

Volunteerism that Supports Your Return to the Workforce

The first possibility is that you have been out of the workforce for a while, whether for family obligations, layoff, sabbatical, travel, or any other reason you’ve chosen to take yourself away from your career for some extended period of time. Now that it’s time to go back to paid work, you need to capture and organize your volunteer work to showcase its value.

To execute on this well, you should include volunteer roles as actual in-line work experience, and you’re not obligated to reveal the exact amount you were paid or not paid to do the work. The process of describing what you did every day and the successes you created are just as valuable – if you can prove that your expertise parallels the knowledge and experience that your career target requires.

Write down all of your volunteer work and the ways in which you improved or added to the organization. The categories of expertise can be leadership and management, financial responsibility, operational expertise, sales of ideas / services / goods, marketing, and more. These are exactly the types of knowledge and proven ability that your future audience needs to know you have, and they are subject to the challenge-action-result strategy that you’ve heard me talk about before in many other podcasts on this show. I’m not going to go in to the CAR strategy here, but rest assured that you can use the challenge-action-result method even when the work you have done is unpaid.

Each of these volunteer roles, and the promotions to leadership you might have experienced as well, become “jobs” in your resume, and they should be listed exactly the same way as your paid work is detailed. You make absolutely no distinction between your former paid work and your volunteer work, because they both are strongly reflective of the expertise your future hiring executive needs you to have to be successful in the role to which you’re applying.

Volunteerism that Supplements Your Ongoing Paid Work

A second flavor of using volunteerism on your resume is useful when you have had a largely intact career timeline but want to add to your career history some skills and expertise that your paid work doesn’t demonstrate.

Including volunteer work on a professional resume can be a critical way of ensuring that a hiring manager understands the full flavor of your experience. For example, your professional career might be a greased rail to success, but it might lack a specific dimension that you need to promote. By highlighting your volunteer experience, you can show that you have many types of expertise, not just the kind that you get paid for day to day.

Let’s say that you are a senior vice president of finance, and you want to demonstrate your expertise in operations and team leadership, so that you can move into a broader role, perhaps a chief financial officer position. You might offer up your recent work as the chair of a committee for a local nonprofit, a role you’ve held for several years. You then describe the scope and value of that work, for example, how you fulfilled the mission of the organization through the role, how many people you guided to that goal, and how you overcame multiple challenges along the way.

Volunteer Work as the Basis for Your References

Last, your volunteer roles can serve as a source of references for you. If you had any type of reporting relationship with leaders of a volunteer organization, it’s a good idea to ask them to write you a letter of recommendation on the organization’s letterhead commenting on your contributions. These people can also become excellent sources of references when you need to give names and numbers to interviewers of people who can vouch for your excellent work ethic, ability to organize projects and teams, and so on. These leaders likely will know you well and be able to describe your success and contributions to their organizations, and, because you have done an incredible job, they are going to be willing to share a few words with your future hiring executive as well.

Examples of the types of individuals who might serve as excellent references from your volunteer work include:

  • The executive team of the group to which you donated your time and expertise.
  • Event leaders, when you directed a portion of the event.
  • Co-organizers, who can comment on your excellent team spirit and ability to motivate the group.
  • Your direct report team.
  • A beneficiary of a nonprofit event.

To conclude, your professional paid work history is not the only type of work that belongs on your resume. By putting your volunteer work on a resume, you can expand on and elaborate on what makes you special and what makes you unique and the only one who can do what you do in the way that you do it. In short, volunteer work on your professional resume enhances your brand.

Resume Formatting: Do’s and Don’t’s that Help You Stand Out

Resume Formatting: Do’s and Don’t’s that Help You Stand Out

Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager. Two resumes are in front of you; both are possible candidates for the open position. The first is littered with text, margin to margin, full of inconsistent fonts and format, and very little useful information stands out. The second resume is presented with consistent font and format, short bullets with precise information, and plenty of white space. Which resume would you rather tackle first?

The appearance of your resume is not as important as its content, certainly, but your presentation can affect your future hiring executive’s impression of your candidacy. In the example above, the two resumes contain two qualified candidates, but the difference is clear. A cluttered resume displays a cluttered style — clunky and disorganized — which is the last thing any employer wants in their ranks.

Resume content is always more important than its format; however, you do need to pay attention to how that content is presented. Make sure you’re following the Dos and Don’ts for good presentation of your professional resume.

Template Don’t

Don’t use downloadable templates. On the one hand, the more generic your resume appears, the fewer seconds a hiring manager will spend glancing at it before putting it aside and forgetting about it. On the other, many templates are not built to present well across individual machines, so you never will be entirely certain that your beautiful layout will appear equally attractive on someone else’s computer, and especially not on a mobile device.

Format Don’t

Bright paper or flashy clip art will catch the hiring manager’s eye, but not in a good way.

These kinds of tricks appear unprofessional. Resumes that bring success use a combination of a clean layout with strong content without resorting to flash.

Typeface Don’t

While font choice is important, distracting choices can derail your message. Hiring managers should focus on content — your skills, abilities, and experiences. Don’t decrease readability by using more than two fonts in your resume. Using two complementary fonts, say one for headings and one for the body, highlights important pieces of the document while maintaining the integrity of the information.

Color Do

Use a strategic splash of color to emphasize particular information or graphical elements.

Spelling and Grammar Do

Spelling and grammar are small things you need to be conscious of through your resume. Spell check is not always reliable as it won’t catch every grammar mistake if of the words are spelled correctly. “To,” “too,” and “two” are often confused and can easily be missed in such a check.

White Space Do

White space on your resume is essential for the reader. Use reasonable margins as well as space strategically between sections of information. This gives the reader, a hiring manager or otherwise, a break and points of focus without using more obvious styles. While the information on your resume is important, you don’t want it to look like a page from a novel or high school essay.

Consistency Do

Being consistent with your format throughout your entire resume will allow your reader to follow patterns. This makes your resume an easy read rather than a search and find. If you use bold titles for your current workplace, you should do the same for all other experience listed. Special note: Limit your use of bold, italic, and underlined text—if you try to make everything stand out, nothing will.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

The Worst Resume Writing Advice We Have Heard

The Worst Resume Writing Advice We Have Heard

While we have already discussed what should not be included in a resume and common myths, there are pieces of advice you should never follow when working on your resume. As professional resume writers, clients are encouraged to ask questions about the writing process and share advice they have heard. While some advice can be useful, other bits are completely off-base. No recommendation is perfect, but this article will discuss some of the worst tips resume writing you might have heard.

You should always include soft skills. – NOT

First, what are soft skills? Things like great written and verbal communication, the ability to multi-task, professionalism, and excellent time management are soft skills. Those are great things to mention in your cover letter, with examples, but your resume should have skills that are unique to you.

Career summaries are a must. – NOT

When describing your responsibilities in a previous or current position, you want to have a short, bullet type list of the accomplishments unique to you during that time. Be specific – don’t generalize – and include numbers, time-frame, and anything else that would create a portrait about your experiences and career history.

It’s okay to close gaps in your work history by adding time to other positions or give yourself promotions. – NOT

If you jump from job to job, it will not benefit you to omit some of the jobs and close gaps by adding time to the most stable position on your resume. Say you were a stay-at-home parent until your children started school full time, the worst thing you can do with that time, on your resume, is to give yourself a promotion such as ‘household manager’ or ‘home engineer.’ Changing the truth to make yourself appear better does not differ from lying directly to the hiring manager. If you are chosen as one of the top candidates for a position, the company will check this kind of information.

If you don’t have specific skills a company is searching for, add them to your resume anyway and hope you never need to use them or talk about them during the interview. – NOT

You should never claim to know or be the master of a skill you know nothing about. Chances are, you will need to demonstrate the ability in one way or another before you are offered the position. If a company has dictated they need a candidate with this skill, then you should have this skill before applying.

Don’t pay attention to the skills necessary for each position you apply to, just apply to everything and hope you get an interview. – NOT

Instead of seeking out jobs you are qualified for, apply to every open position – you’re bound to be called to at least a few of them, right? You will only receive interview invitations for jobs for which you are qualified. So, yes, there is a chance you will be called for a few of the positions you apply for however, if you apply to everything, your resume will be added to a file for that company. Some companies discard unwanted applicants while others keep applications on the chance that you are qualified for another position within that company. Over sending applications is not only a waste of time, but besmirches your reputation the more you send.

If you are changing career paths or moving positions with another company after decades at one company, just give a brief job description. Anything you accomplished was part of your job description. – NOT

Your accomplishments are your own. While it was necessary for your position, you still set out to complete a project, increase productivity, or implement something new and realized that goal. The base description for any position is a generalization of expectations.

Be sure to send your resume to many peers to seek their advice and then incorporate all the advice you are given. Then, start sending out your resume without checking it again. A professional resume writer is a waste of money. – NOT

Not every person who has ever written a resume of their own knows what is better for your resume. Double checking your resume for mistakes is incredibly important as even the smallest mistake can stand out like a sore thumb to any prospective employer. When in need of advice, it is best to seek a professional resume writer and use their services. There are tips and tricks for each position type. However, you should make sure you are asking your professional resume writer questions about their service and your personal resume.

The internet is a font of wonderful information as well as misinformation. There is a great deal of advice to be found that can lead you astray when delving into your resume. Resumes are a complicated style to master. While there are many useful guides out, utilizing a resume writing service can be an incredibly beneficial investment.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

What Shakespeare Can’t Teach You about Resume Writing

What Shakespeare Can’t Teach You About Resume Writing

Writing your resume is not like essay composition. We have carefully collected words and phrases to include in our vocabulary in order to impress certain people or to expand upon standard expressions. That is not the case with resumes. In compiling your resume, there are things you just don’t do and things you should always do. While proper grammar is a must, Shakespeare would be disappointed with the butchering of language that is a resume.

Shakespeare is credited for introducing nearly 3,000 words to the English language. During his time as a playwright and poet, the English language shifted and evolved to be something similar to what we speak today. Linguistically, Shakespeare’s diction is only one generation removed from today’s vernacular.

“Resume speak” is a term that refers to the unique way a standard resume is written. It is a style that hiring managers and recruiters expect and appreciate to see in a resume. A resume written in anything but “resume speak” become awkward and lengthy when you should be short and to the point.

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“Resume Speak” vs. Prose

A novel can be written from multiple perspectives, but that is not something a resume should have. Standard practice on a resume is to drop personal pronouns like I, my, and me. So, instead of using pronouns, the style becomes first person implied.

Example:

  • First person: I managed a team …
  • First person implied: Managed a team …

The resume is a document all about you, making this style an acceptable means of communicating skills, experiences, and responsibilities. Using personal pronouns on a document all about you is redundant.

You will also omit any articles (a, an, and the) from your resume, within reason. It is common to include the occasional article, however, they are used very conservatively. If you take the article out of the phrase and it no longer makes sense, replace it. This will be more difficult to master than omitting personal pronouns.

Example:

  • Standard English: I managed a team to finalize a variety of projects over a fiscal year, resulting in a 15% increase in productivity for the duration and allowing departmental training for success company-wide.
  • Resume Speak: Managed team to finalize projects over fiscal year, resulting in +15% productivity and allowing company-wide departmental success training.

Remember that your resume is not a detailed record of your life experiences and achievements, it is a snapshot providing the best examples in a concise manner. “Resume speak” is simple on paper, but difficult to compose.

Why is this important?

Resume composition is not easy — it could easily take several hours to edit one section of your resume. It is important to follow the standard way of resume writing because hiring managers do not want your entire life’s story. Unless a potential employer asks for a very specific document for their application, they want something that will tell them enough about you to be considered for an interview. During the interview is when you can expand upon different things within the resume or cover letter that might need additional emphasis.

Resumes are often run through software that will recognize certain keywords the company needs to see on a candidate’s documents. Including too many words or too much information will slow down that process and some of these resume reading softwares perform by a word limit per page. Your resume is a brochure of your highlighted accomplishments, not a novel about every experience.

English is one of the most complicated languages to learn – everything has a rule. Understanding the unique styles of each kind of writing is not something you can master in one sitting. Shakespeare’s plays and poems were written for the common person. Composition of any academic paper uses language that can be found in Shakespeare’s work. Even journalism has its standards. But resume writing entails a unique set of rules.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

 

7 Resume Myths: Kiss-of-Death Resume Fictions (eg lying on your resume)

These are the top 7 resume myths you need to forget today. Ever thought about fibbing on your resume? Telling outright falsehoods on your CV? You’ll get caught for that one and kicked off the interview roster for sure. Other less dire resume fictions beyond lying on your resume are also brand-damaging. Read on to learn more:

Crafting your resume requires knowledge of the current resume writing standards. Not everything that was once required is still included on the resume. We’ve been over-including personal information, using fancy fonts or formats, and what your resume should convey once it is completed, but what are you including that no longer needs to be there? Navigating the trends with professionalism and tact is daunting. Sometimes rules are rules, but in this case a lot of those “rules” are now more resume fiction than resume fact, and certainly they contradict current best practices for good job search strategy. This article will discuss some of those resume myths and why the change occurred. Doing the opposite of what was once conventional wisdom (especially lying on your Curriculum Vitae) absolutely will help your strategy and move your application into the “call for interview” pile.

1. References belong on the resume. NO!

Think that lying on your resume is still ok? These resume myths will keep your resume out of the "YES" pile! Following advice more resume fiction than fact is a job search killer.

Think that lying on your resume is still ok? These resume myths will keep your resume out of the “YES” pile!

Including your references right on your resume was once a common practice. Adding the phrase “references available on request” might not make your resume stand out, but you certainly don’t want to have your references personal information on every application. Many job postings will ask for either a separate page of references or have a section of the application to list them. Anyone you list as a reference has the expectation that you will only send their information to a hiring manager who has the intention of inviting you to an interview. You’ll be protecting their privacy as well as providing information exactly when it is needed.

2. Your resume should only be one page. NO!

A one page resume really is not enough space to convey all the relevant information about your experience, unless you are just starting out in your career. Any valuable information that sets you apart from the other candidates should be included, even if it puts your resume over one page. It is actually very common for most, if not all, resumes to be two-page documents. You shouldn’t go over the top and include every piece of your experiences, but don’t leave out important information. It’s a huge resume myth that your resume needs to fit onto only one page.

3. Incorrect spelling and grammar automatically disqualify you for the position. NO!

While it is important to proofread your resume, errors don’t mean your resume is discarded. Paying attention to the details does show the potential employer that you are a serious professional. The content and correct information are more important than spelling, but take a minute every few months to review your resume with fresh eyes.

4. Visual aids don’t belong on the resume. NO!

Color, graphs, and charts aren’t a waste of space on your resume. It’s a resume fiction that your executive resume should contain text only. Graphs or charts are able to convey a good amount of information in a short, sweet section on the front page. “Click-bait” surrounds our culture, with apps decreasing our attention spans, and including a graph could be that attention-grabbing piece. As far as a color pop goes, color makes a statement about your brand, and it tells your reader where you want them to look first for the best information on your resume document. Think about a product advertisement that made you buy the product just because of the ad. Your resume should be that kind of marketing for your brand.

5. Unique formats are necessary to make you stand out. NO!

Formats, while interesting and fun, do not make a difference in how a hiring manager looks at your resume. Many applications to read resumes or job applications dismantle any formatting on the resume. Simple formatting may look, well, simplistic, however that may be the best one to use. The file format can also make a difference when submitting your resume. Microsoft Word documents are easier to perform a search for particular keywords while searching in a PDF file does not allow the systems to pick up critical information. If the proper keywords can’t be found within your resume, you are invisible to employers using application-tracking or applications for resume dissection.

6. Objective statements are must haves on the resume. NO!

An objective statement declares your intentions about your career and used to be a must. However, it is more likely that an employer now will skip over this declaration and move to your experience and skills. They are much more interested in what you can do for them – what experience you will bring to them – than what you expect to achieve from this, or any, position. Every bit of space on your resume is important, especially if you have a lot of information you need to include. Wasting the few lines for an objective statement is unnecessary.

7. Lying on your resume is okay. NO!

This is the worst resume fiction–and the one most likely to get you into trouble. Lying on your resume can mean anything from excluding a gap in employment to claiming a degree you didn’t earn. Honesty is always the best policy, and employers will do enough research about their top picks for a position to know whether you value their time or lack integrity. Aside from legal consequences, lying on a resume is the worst thing you can present to any hiring manager. Claiming to be a master of any skill you have absolutely no experience in will result in either termination or a long, embarrassing conversation with your supervisor when it is discovered. In short, do not lie about anything on your resume. It is much better to show employers you have been employed and have gaps, have that experience they want with a lower level of preferred expertise, or know that you will need to learn things to be able to be their best choice than it is to say you know how to balance their accounts and only have experience as a babysitter.

Despite all the changes to resumes over the years, there are things that haven’t budged. Your resume is the one document that acts as a brochure to your life’s experience and can get you in the door to a new career. If you’re still stuck on what you do or do not need to include–without lying on your resume!–call the Five Strengths experts for guidance.

Photo attributed to Stuart Miles of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

The One Thing Your Resume Can Never Say About You

The One Thing Your Resume Can Never Say About You

Replaceable. That is the last word you want to come to mind when an employer or hiring manager is reading your resume. If you present yourself in a way that is generic or unappealing, you will not be seen as a likely candidate for the position. The company, essentially, is investing in your skills to better their company and they need to feel confident that you would make the company better, not stagnant and certainly not worse.

What Not to Include in Your Resume

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What is the one thing your resume never can say about you?

Your resume can either present your worth and personality in a favorable or a not so favorable way. Many employers prefer that you leave personal details and interests off of your resume for many reasons.

Personal information: Things like your marital status, sexual orientation, religious views, age, gender, social security numbers, and number of children should be left off this professional document. Certain details could lead others to believe that there is a form of discrimination happening if you are rejected as a candidate, such as your religion or age, and will put the employer in a difficult situation. Some of these details will likely come up in conversations later, like the interview, and you can share the information when appropriate.

Spelling errors and poor grammar: Proofread, proofread, proofread. Nothing is worse than seeing a resume of a well-experience candidate with poor spelling or grammar. It will make you appear unprofessional despite your previous positions or current standing.

Irrelevant work experience: No one cares about your first job from high school. It is most likely not relevant now, as you are established in your career.

Hobbies and oddities: If you knit hats for dogs, unless you are applying for a job that requires that skill, keep it to yourself. Things like this will make the employer look twice at your resume, but not in a good way.

Negative language: Even if a project went south, reflect on what went right, not wrong, and include those details. They will also not want to see reasons you left previous positions.

References: They will want references later, after an interview, not up front. If references are necessary, it will be included on the application itself or be requested before the interview process making it unnecessary to include on your resume.

Lies: Do not bend the truth. This goes hand-in-hand with plagiarism. Lies can be anything from “I am fluent in Swedish” to “I am an excellent typist.” If it is not true, it will come out eventually.

Too much information: Keep it to 1-3 pages, depending on your level, and years or depth of experience; anything beyond that is too much, and the hiring manager will not bother reading it.

Being too creative: Distracting colors, clip art, and unnecessarily fussy fonts distract from the meat of the resume making it very difficult to discern what your talents actually are.

Using vague wording, cliches, or situational jargon: “Thinks outside the box,” “ABC of DEF,” or “Oriented” are very generic phrases you should leave off of your resume. If it doesn’t make sense to someone aside from yourself or screams “I’m not original,” don’t include it.

Preparation

You want to be prepared for anything — new opportunities, unexpected job loss, or decisions about career changes. There are things you can do to be prepared like making sure your resume is always up-to-date, keeping up with your marketable skills, and networking. When updating your resume, you should make sure that you are current in all of your skills as well. It’s worth it to make time to work on yourself and refresh all of your skills. Being up-to-date is important on and off paper. Don’t put something on your resume that you’re working on, wait until you’ve completed it to include the new information. Networking will be much smoother if you know where you stand in your field, at your current position, and what your resume reflects. Don’t wait to build connections until you are looking for a new job, have connections you can count on when you need them.

How to Sell Yourself

There are only so many combinations of the same phrases used in a resume. After viewing resume after resume, a hiring manager seeing the same exact phrase over and over most likely has eliminated those generic looking candidates. Your resume is the document that gets you in the door and opens the conversation for an interview. It should be the flyer catching the company’s eye and drawing them in. Your resume should make the hiring manager believe you have what it takes and you should be able to follow through with that promise made in your resume. You have value and companies need to know what you can do for them.

All in all, your resume should display your expertise in your field. It should never let an employer think “this person will be replaced in a month or two.” Your resume is the commercial about you — it should reel them in with enough information to want more. You have to think about what you are in relation to your resume and what kind of impression you are making to any hiring manager.

 

Photo attributed to Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

 

 

What Will the Resume Look Like in Ten Years?

What Will the Resume Look Like in Ten Years?

Over the past ten years, many elements of the resume have changed. That’s not to say that the professional resume hasn’t continually evolved since its creation, which is attributable to Leonardo da Vinci. The resume is a document subject to evolution, just like everything else. With every new piece of technology, an aspect of the resume changes. What exactly is different in the way resumes are written now versus how they were written ten years ago? What does that mean for resumes in the future?

One-does-all vs. One-for-one

One resume used to be enough. You would have one resume crafted, generic in content, listing your previous jobs and responsibilities. Numerous copies of that resume would be printed on expensive resume paper and it was used for every job application. Employers would receive applications from roughly ten people per post and take the time to review each resume. That isn’t the case now. Each job you apply to should have a variation of your resume with no repeats, the exception being applications to the exact position with other companies. However, more than likely, there will be keywords that differ from company to company. With the way resumes are now submitted, electronically, companies might receive hundreds of applications per post. It is easy for employers to weed out applicants with some type of resume-screening software, making keywords necessary. The software will eliminate applicants who don’t meet the keywords, narrowing the applicant pool. Some companies may still review each resume by hand, but customization is still important.

Method of Submission

Resumes have been sent by every method – snail mail, fax, email, donut delivery – and that will probably not change. In the past, you sent your resume by snail mail, waiting to hear back from the hiring manager once they have personally reviewed it. Now, email and online job application submission are the most common method of resume acceptance. Hiring managers typically use a hard-copy of the resume to take notes during the actual interview, which could change with the use of a tablet in the future, but that seems an unlikely progression given the interview environment. Having an online presence is necessary and can increase your chances of being asked to interview. The challenge lies in how you present yourself and through what type of online resource – portfolio, LinkedIn profile, website, etc.

Duties and Accomplishments

Your resume, at one point in your career, was a conglomeration of all your past jobs, the skills you needed for each one, and what duties you performed. However, there is such a thing as too much information. The current practice is to provide all relevant information that pertains to the job you’re applying to. As mentioned earlier, you will accumulate resumes specific to certain types of jobs and may have many versions of the same information. You will also leave out past positions that aren’t relevant, like the very first job you had waiting tables or cashiering.

Leaving out the irrelevant gives you room to expand upon your expertise in your field, including major accomplishments and special training. Highlight what you know best and show the employers what you can do. Minimizing the fluff in your resume will benefit you in the long run because most hiring managers use software to analyze resumes. The software is designed to recognize keywords within the resume and weed out applicants.

Personal Touches

While you should make yourself stand out from the crowd, you don’t want to overshare personal details to your potential new employers. It was common to add personal statements with details like your age, marital status, children, hobbies, religion, or even a photograph. Now, employers really don’t want to see information unless it is directly related to the job – they would actually prefer not to know personal details. Personal details on a resume leave the employer in a tricky situation because they could then be accused of discrimination based on those personal interests, your appearance, or affiliations. Really, the rule of thumb here is: When in doubt, leave it out.

You do want to be unique, but it should be shown through what you can do for that employer. Portfolios, websites, and social media create the whole picture for an employer. We are living in an age of technology where nearly every document can be forged – saying things or having them on your resume isn’t necessarily enough. If you say you can do something, you need to be prepared to demonstrate your talents.

The Only Constant Is Change

Proper grammar and spelling are the only things that will never change when it comes to a professional resume or document. What will resumes look like in our future? There is no guaranteed response to this, but predictions are welcome. Will we move to only using social media, like LinkedIn, as our means of job application and personal representation? It is always possible to move back to a simpler representation of the resume, however unlikely. Looking back through the history of resume evolution, dating back five centuries, it would be unlikely that a professional resume would stop being part of the job application process, but what it will look like is still a bit of a mystery.

Remember, the only constant in this world is change.

 

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
Photo attributed to Stuart Miles of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
What happens when you plagiarize someone else's resume? Don't even go there. “Think Different” by lekkyjustdoit at FreeDigitalPhotos.com

Resume Plagiarism: The Sordid Side of Executive Job Search

Resume Plagiarism: Avoid the Sordid Side in Your Executive Job Search

What happens when you copy from someone else’s resume (to you and them)? What do employers do to the resume to find the plagiarized content and how does that change your job prospects? Your resume is yours, to an extent, as original content is becoming less original. Read on to learn how you can avoid the appearance of having copied someone else’s resume–and perhaps save your entire job search from sinking.

Note: The quick answer is that no copying is allowed. The longer answer follows.

The combination of careers, experiences, and phrases to convey your background is limited, if you consider writing about only your job description. To that end, original content is becoming more difficult to create, even though it remains ethically wrong to directly copy information from another person’s resume or cover letter to claim it as your own.

How Can “They” Tell?

In many companies, the initial recruitment process is automated. Large companies received hundreds or even thousands of applications for any one open position. This means that digital applications or programs are used to sift through the numerous resumes and cover letters searching for keywords and requirements to identify qualified and ineligible applicants. Some job seekers will see that descriptions or skill sets can be easily copied from the hiring company’s website and pasted onto a resume to provide the illusion that the person has the exact set of skills desired for the position. Does strict copy-and-paste help the candidate? Definitely not.

What happens when you plagiarize someone else's resume? Don't even go there. “Think Different” by lekkyjustdoit at FreeDigitalPhotos.com

What happens when you plagiarize someone else’s resume? Don’t even go there.
“Think Different” by lekkyjustdoit at FreeDigitalPhotos.com

This opens the question: should a plagiarism check be used for resumes and will it actually work? The short answer is yes. Checking applicants through a plagiarism detecting software can show those applicants who are truly worthy applicants and those who are presenting skills they do not have. If the company values the importance of hiring the right person for the job, it would make sense to utilize the plagiarism check on the candidates who make it to the final round of decisions and interviews. Plagiarism, when detected, displays that the candidate is not only willing to lie to the company on the chance of getting a job but also cannot show their own skills properly. Checking for plagiarism eliminates candidates who are dishonest and do not have the skills necessary for the position.

Social Media Protection

With the use of social media sites such as LinkedIn, resume details and profile information can be easily copied and pasted onto a newly created profile. While you can post a Word document or a PDF version of a resume and cover letter, the most commonly copied bits of information are from the actual profile page. Copying from someone’s profile or having your profile information copied is wrong and there are ways to prevent individuals from keeping that information. Plagiarism is plagiarism–not flattery, not enhancing your abilities, and not increasing your chance of being hired.

Keeping your profiles up-to-date can help you attract attention from employers looking from your skill set however, if someone else has copied that information, or you have copied information from someone else, and both profiles appear in the search, it will appear as though both of the profiles are the same. The hiring professional will likely disregard both of the candidates, then, because they will not invest the time to discover who is the original owner of that information.

What do you do in that situation, if someone has copied your profile? First, make sure you are performing regular searches about something that is unique to your experience. Conduct an advanced search with “quoted keywords from your profile.” If you find results aside from yourself, someone has taken your information and posted it to their profile. Make sure you these individuals and call them out on it. Actually call them. Anyone can and will ignore an email, but it is much harder to ignore a phone call. The conversation will probably go a bit like this:

“Hi John. My name is Sam and I’m looking at your LinkedIn profile. It’s actually quite impressive and appears to be, in fact, a direct copy of my own profile.”

There will probably be more questions and a deeper conversation than above. Hopefully, they did not intend to copy your information with wrongful intentions and are now embarrassed that they were caught. Calling them will increase the chance that they will remove those pieces of their profile. However, if that is not the case and they refuse to remove the information, flag/report their profile to alert the authorities of the site and then contact tech support. LinkedIn’s tech support does not respond quickly so it is in your best interest to try to resolve the issue before contacting them.

Plagiarism of this kind is not just stealing or misrepresentation, it also limits the number of contacts the original owner of that information can make. This plagiarism creates a victim with few options to regain their strength.

How to Be Uniquely YOU in Your Resume

You also have to remember that if you use someone else’s resume as your own, there will be differences in experience. While some of your skills and general experiences may line up, not every project or achievement will be the same. Then, you have to realize that if you are doing this, someone else will have the same idea. What happens then, if you and that other person, are submitting the exact same resume, with different names, for the same position? Your resume needs to be a document that is unique to you.

There are guidelines to writing proper resumes that have been published to make it easier for you to craft the document. You can utilize professional resume writers and save yourself the trouble of creating all new content however, you would need to dedicate the time to provide as much unique information as possible.  Generic information or bland words don’t make you stand out on the page. Finding a way to represent yourself in a way that is unique to you and showcase your skills.

Hint: The combination of careers, experiences, and phrases to convey that information is limited, if you consider writing about only your job description. If you, as an executive resume writer would, capture the details of your outstanding accomplishments, nobody can claim your unique history, and you have ample discussion material for your interview to prove your unique expertise.

Creating your resume doesn’t have to be a chore or have you worrying about plagiarizing. Do your research to find unique ways to represent your experience. Executive resume writers (such as those of Five Strengths Career Transition Experts) will do this on your behalf, ethically and optimally tuning your resume to your goals.

 By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor