Help I Haven’t Written A Resume In Years

This week I received an email from an executive who thanked me for helping him redesign his resume. He wrote that after we completed his resume, he sent it to a company, got the initial interview and eventually was offered a job as a Corporate Executive Chef. You can imagine how excited I was for him as we came a long way from his first resume draft. Now, I don’t think that his resume got him the job, but I do believe it got him noticed from the hundreds of other resumes the company might have received.

I recalled when he first came to me for help. He was concerned because he had not written a resume for many years. When I reviewed his drafted resume, I was intrigued by his experience working with such amazing companies for the last 25+ years. In addition, he went to culinary school in France and had several recognitions. However, his resume was full of generalizations and common language that I tend to see repeat itself in most resumes I read. “P&L Management”, “Problem Solver”, “Team Player” to name a few. I am not a professional resume writer, but after reviewing and interviewing several 1,000’s of candidates in my career, I understand what companies look at when they read a resume.

Because several people have inquired about having our company redesign their resumes, I wanted to share a few pointers to those who haven’t written one in a long time.

Resume Tip #1 – Please don’t use too many fancy words
Sometimes fancy words can get in the way of how your resume reads. I tend to skip over sentences if there are too many fancy words. I rarely take the time to understand what you are trying get across to me if I don’t know the meaning of it. Instead, I move on.

Resume Tip #2 – Use fonts that are simple and common to readers
Fonts that are too ornate in appearance do not read well and make a resume look messy. Stick to Arial, Times New Roman, Courier etc. These fonts look clean.

Resume Tip #3 – Give specific examples from experience that show accomplishments
I am more likely to be interested in a resume that states “Decreased food cost from 45% to 28%” instead of “able to decrease food cost”. Instead of “managed sales” a better statement could be “managed $1M in sales annually”.

Resume Tip #4 – Be careful with using dates
Some readers may not agree, but I think dates should be used when appropriate. Using dates inappropriately might make the reader inadvertently stereotype as to whether or not the person behind the resume is younger, older, inconsistent in jobs or too institutionalized in one job. There are other ways to get your experience across in your resume.

These are just a few to name. My overall message is to strip down your resume to the basic points of “Why I should Call You?” By making it easy for companies to spot your experience and accomplishments, they are more likely to pick you out from the hundreds of resumes they will review.