Do You Have A “Tombstone” Resume?

The best resumes, the ones that will get a hiring manager’s attention, are marketing documents. They are designed to sell you (the product) to a potential employer (the buyer).

They are not laundry lists of responsibilities. They are not boring employment histories. They don’t include every job you’ve ever had or every single thing you’ve done during your career.

That style of resume is sometimes called a “Tombstone” resume because it is directed towards the past, not the future.

Your future.

When you’re putting together your resume keep these 5 things in mind.

1) Your resume is a marketing tool. It’s not an employment history or a job application. While you should never lie or grossly exaggerate, you should frame the content in a way that sells you to a potential employer. Here’s why lies matter.

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How To Avoid Being Considered The Lazy Candidate

How much do you know about a company before you apply for a job?

When I was recruiting, I always asked potential candidates if they were familiar with the company during my screening call.

The smart ones said, yes and went on to tell me what they knew.

The lazy ones said no.

Not a good sign.

When you’re competing for a job, one of the things many employers will ask is “why do you want to work here?”

If you don’t know anything about the company what can you say?

One of the keys to being successful during job interviews is to research companies in advance and prepare a few responses to questions like “what do you know about us?” and “how did you find this job?” and, the inevitable, “why do you want to work here?”

Imagine you’re interviewing with Amazon.

Since the company is a household name and you’ve probably shopped with them often, you might think you know a lot about the company. You might not bother to do your research.

Here’s why that would be a mistake on your part.

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Make It Easy For Recruiters To Say Yes To You

Most recruiters and hiring managers are sourcing candidates on social media, particularly LinkedIn.  Which is great news if you have a robust, optimized LinkedIn profile.

As a recruiter I spent hours on LinkedIn sourcing candidates, often scrolling through 500+ possible matches. Some were easily eliminated due to a missing or inappropriate photo. My all-time favorite being the woman wearing a wedding gown, veil and all.

Potential candidates fell into 2 categories:1) Yes, contact them immediately and 2) they might be a possibility. The one thing that consistently moved candidates from maybe to yes was if it was easy to contact them.

The point is, don’t make the mistake thinking if recruiters want to contact you they will track you down or use an InMail. Unless they think you are a perfect candidate, they may not. You can increase your odds by making it easy for them by including contact information on your LinkedIn profile.

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What Recruiters Can (And Cannot) Do For You

Many job seekers are under the misconception that recruiters are there to help them find a job. They aren’t. Whether they’re contingency, consultants or retained search, recruiters work for employers.

That doesn’t mean that they can’t help you find a new job.

It depends on what your goal is.

Based on my experience as a recruiter, recruiters are eager to help you when you’re easy to place.

A recruiter’s goal is to fill one or more open positions. If they are working contingency, they only get paid when a client hires one of their candidates. They may have to wait until the candidate is there 30-days to get paid.

While corporate recruiters are not on commission, they may be paid a bonus based on how many positions they fill. They will certainly be judged on the quality of candidates they present.

As I tell my clients, recruiters are looking for a round peg that will fit into the round hole they are trying to fill. If you’re a square peg they’re unlikely to spend much time with you.

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How To Stand Out From Your Competition

If you’re planning to look for a new job in the next 6 months, it’s time to start working on your resume. Now. Whether you’ve decided to write it yourself or plan to hire a professional writer, it ALWAYS takes longer than you think it will.

Getting recruiters to notice you isn’t easy.

As a recruiter, most of the resumes I received were much like reverse-engineered job descriptions.  A few years later, the resumes I review as a resume writer are much the same. Even the resumes of C-level executives.

Under each job title, there are long, bulleted lists of job duties and responsibilities. Boring. To get an employer’s attention include a brief overview of each position followed by 3 to 5 bullets that demonstrate value.  These are things that stand out, things that had a direct impact on your team, department, maybe even the company.

Make sure to quantify your results whenever possible. You may think that saying you made millions of dollars for a company is impressive. But, it’s not. Employers want to see numbers. For example, the campaign you developed built your newsletter list by XX.

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6 Point Executive Resume Checklist

You may have heard of Marshall Goldsmith’s bestselling book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful.

The truth is, it’s the same with resumes. The resume that generated interviews early in your career, won’t get you noticed once you reach the executive level.

The resume that listed your duties and responsibilities won’t impress recruiters and employers who are filling executive roles. Here is a 6 Point Checklist for developing an interview-generating, executive resume.

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Avoid Inconsistencies That Can Scare Employers Away

One of the fastest ways to scare recruiters and hiring managers away is with inconsistencies. If you’re actively looking, your resume may be the first time a potential employer meets you. If your resume catches their interest, the next step will be to view your LinkedIn profile.

To avoid raising eyebrows, make sure they won’t find any surprises. Your LinkedIn profile and resume shouldn’t mirror each other word-for-word. But there shouldn’t be inconsistencies either.

Job Titles

Start by making sure the job titles on your resume and LinkedIn profile are the same. If you have an obscure or inaccurate job title, you may choose to include the actual job title and a more accurate title with it. For example, if your job title is Analyst II, but your position is more System Analyst, you use Analyst II (System Analyst).

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Resume Bloopers: Bad To Bizarre

During your career your resume is one of your most important marketing tools. It’s  often the first time recruiters and hiring managers meet you. While some may overlook a typo or two there are some mistakes that you cannot recover from.

A recent article on “Interview Bloopers” was so popular I decided to follow it up with one on resumes.  With this in mind, I asked recruiters and hiring managers to send me some “Resume Bloopers” things that made them stop and say “I can’t believe that he or she put that on a resume!”

These are listed in what I consider bad to worse to bizarre.

Too Much Information

I’m in the construction industry. I’m always surprised to receive a resume with a headshot. To add to the blooper, an individual will often include: Divorced – 2 Adult Children – 1 Dog – Healthy Non-Smoker! This type of resume makes a recruiter cringe. It makes the company even more vulnerable to discrimination claims.

—Submitted by Revee While, Director of Marketing, Primaris

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