Category Archives: Resumes

Best resume advice in one minute

baby held by happy grandpa

Bing Crosby gave a one minute resume update lesson.

Check it out here.

Career killing shortcuts

3 different ways to go now

Choose your direction carefully.

The modern age has been characterized by a Promethean spirit, a restless energy that preys on speed records and shortcuts, unmindful of the past, uncaring of the future, existing only for the moment and the quick fix. (Jeremy Rifkin)

Lufkin is the premiere maker of the pumps sucking oil from Oklahoma’s prairies. In 1981 used Lufkin pumps were selling for more than new ones. Fancy business school graduates said Lufkin was nuts. They could sell the new pumps for much more. “Take your profit now!” they said. The owners of Lufkin said, “We’ve been here a long time. Demand goes up and demand goes down. We will service our customers the best we can. We won’t take advantage of them when they are desperate. When the bubble bursts we will still be here. We’re in this business for the long haul.” Today, after decades of recessions and some good times in their business, they still make a solid profit, now as a GE subsidiary.

In the recruiting business one recruiter said, “I take people out of one rut, and put them into a different rut.” Some recruiters don’t care. I do. I find people in good jobs who could do significantly better. I then place them in a job where they can more quickly meet their career goals. I help people shave years off of their career growth. I move them into a better long term opportunity.

Be mindful of how your resume looks. People who have changed jobs 3 times in 2 years have a hard time getting a great job. Later, even after 3 or 5 years in one job their resume is tainted. The manager hiring for a great job wants someone who will be there a long time. He knows he can attract bright stable workers. Why should he settle for someone who may be gone in 6 months?

A new job should give you a significant LONG TERM advantage. It should help you take charge of your career. Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times. In 2005 he only won one day out of 21 racing days. On one day he was 20 minutes behind the fastest bike. But he was always mindful of where he was in relation to his competition. He made sure he had the best bike and the best team even if he wasn’t getting the glory of being first over the finish line. Looking for the long term advantage is how he won.

Find the best team and opportunity you can. Get in it for the long haul. Go win. You cannot speed up your career by taking a lot of shortcuts.

Something To Do Today

Write down your career goals in your job journal. Where do you really want to go? Can your current team get you there? If not, time to change teams.

He ignored $100,000,000 to get a new job – it’s magic

ace up his sleeve

Resume magic may get you a job.

I turned a $100,000,000 food scientist into a Java programmer. Seriously, I did. I used resume magic to give him a career change.

It wasn’t as easy as it sounds.  He was proud of his PhD, and that was hurting him.  He had to stop emphasizing the $100,000,000 product revenue stream he had generated for his company.  Instead he had to emphasize his work in developing computer systems.  He had to finish getting his Java programming certifications. He also agreed to a 40% pay cut.

When we finished, he found his own job.

Writers fall in love with their work.  Every word is a work of art.  When you put together your resume, you are even more in love with your work because it is about you.  You can’t possibly leave out how you gave CPR to a chipmunk and saved its life. Leave it out anyway.

Now do something even harder.  Stop looking at the things YOU find most interesting.  Look in your career for proof that you can do the job you are applying for. Make a list of all the duties of the job you want.  Now make a list of all of the times you have done those duties.

That food scientist had helped design computer systems.  He had put together a few small applications to help him track data.  He passed the Java certification test.  We expanded those programming related accomplishments.  It took him a year, but he got the job.

Magic is the art of misdirection.  Illusion is achieved by getting people to concentrate on what you want them to perceive.  Put a little magic into your resume. Get rid of the things that don’t apply, even if they are your proudest achievements.  Emphasize what is important.

You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true.  You may have to work for it, however. (Bach)

Something To Do Today

Just for the exercise, take a job you want to apply for and create a ½ page resume for it.  Only leave your greatest accomplishments that apply towards that job.  I’ll bet you cut out a lot of fluff.

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Later:  Imperfect and highly paid

The best resume focusing exercise in the world

hunter shooting an arrow

Your resume will be deadly if it is properly focused

As a recruiter, I use this exercise with problem resumes that just aren’t getting people interviews. First I need to explain why the world’s greatest resume focusing exercise works. Then I will explain the exercise.

For years the joke has been: “Yesterday I was a truck driver. I passed a test today, so now I am a network technician. What’s a network?”

If you started out as truck driver and worked your way up to become the COO of a company, that’s great. Don’t mention the truck driver experience, unless you want to be a truck driver again.

Your resume has one purpose: to get you an interview!

Leave out delightful tales unrelated to the job you are applying for. If you really need to show your job progression, then start out writing about your most recent triumphs at the top. At the very bottom of the particular job section write: I started as a truck driver.

So, you’ve worked there 15 years and only been a computer security expert for 2 years? I don’t care. Your resume is not a confession of crimes and psychological problems. Put down what you did for 2 years and let the interviewer find out more. Your resume is only to get you an interview. It is not a warning to potential employers.

If you emphasize what you have accomplished, the person reading the resume will know how “heavy” you are in the job you are applying for. List projects you completed, improvements you made, money you saved, and new clients you helped bring in. If the list is impressive it won’t matter that you spent ¾’s of your time filing reports and ¼ of your time as a sales manager.

Leave out disqualifiers. Emphasize how you have saved money, brought in new revenue streams, increased customer happiness, speeded up processes and helped the company succeed. Your resume is supposed to get you an interview. Leave out all the stuff that doesn’t apply to the job you want.

Something To Do Today

This exercise is to keep you from using the following idea in your resume:

“If you can’t beguile them with brilliance, baffle them with bulls**t.”

Writing exercise time. Take your resume and first expand it to 4 or more pages by including all the responsibilities and accomplishments you have ever had.

Make a new copy. Cut out every line that is only responsibilities. This second copy should list only the projects completed, customers pleased, money saved and new clients you brought in. There should NOT be any lines that say “supervised”, “responsible for”, or “supported.”

Make a new copy. Cut it down to ½ page. Yes, ½ page. List only the accomplishments that directly apply to a job you want.

Now cut that ½ page to ¼ page.  Use those incredibly brief but important accomplishments in your cover letter or email body.

This is an exercise. Apply what you learned to the resume you send out for a job.

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Later:      Persistence

Premature withdrawal

Job security – what permanent means

$250,000 too proud

How fast

Daydream

Liars, how we catch them

On a call with a candidate I am told,  “I was fired from my last job for lying on my resume.  I put down that I had completed my degree when I was 6 credit hours short.  They caught it 6 months after they hired me.  Now what do I do?”

fraud alert road sign

We catch amazingly smooth liars.

We catch liars on a regular basis.  The most common lie is stretching a job’s hire or fire date so that there is less time between jobs.  Some people make up a job and add it to the resume.  Others remove a significant job that ended disastrously.  Education is always a tempting place to lie.  Certifications make a big difference in getting your resume past screeners, so some people lie.

So, how do we catch liars?  Often they forget they lied to us in the past and they change their lies.  We have resumes and interview notes from two decades ago in our files.  When we compare them we find discrepancies.  We also check references.  When a person talking about you comes up with a different story, we do more research.  Education and certifications are all very easy to check.

A lie is any communication given with intent to deceive. (unkn)

One other way liars are caught is by alternate references.  We network into your old companies without telling you who we are calling.  For instance, we had a candidate who said he interned with a firm that disappeared in the Enron scandals.  That job rounded out his resume nicely.  The only trouble is that the man who had been managing interns still works in this area.  He knew the candidate never worked there.  The job would have been his even without the intern experience.  That lie lost him the job.

We don’t check alternate references to catch liars.  We do it to get fresh information and to keep our networks alive. Right before writing this we checked an alternate reference from a job the person had 12 years ago. It was a great recommendation of that person.  That is what we look for.

Do liars prosper?  Sure, at times. For a while.  But something happens to them. Liars we catch usually tell us, “Everyone lies.  I just got caught.”  Over time they lose the ability to really trust others.  They lose the ability to feel when others are honest or deceptive.  In business that will eventually be fatal. Business really is built on trust. Contracts are merely to put in writing what each side already trusts the other to do.

Something To Do Today

Do you need to correct your resume?  Then do it.  Send the new one to recruiters along with a note that the last one was incorrect.  Most people are willing to let you correct a mistake, even if it was a lie.

If you have been hired based on a lie you may want to correct it now, before you get a promotion that has an automatic background check.  You can submit a corrected resume or ask your boss for help to get that certification you really don’t have. Sure, you might get fired.  What is peace of mind worth to you?

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Coming up:      Poisons

How to work a convention

What to leave out

Persistence

Resume rewrite – changing fields with old experience

Rewriting a resume so that it gets results, instead of getting deleted, is an art.  Here is a 15 minute video of taking a resume for someone changing fields, with ancient experience, and a good attitude, and making the resume into an attention grabber with no visual negatives.

It ends a little abruptly, but all the changes are made and you just missed my final 15 seconds bragging about how good it looks.

5 Weeks – How to find a job in 5 weeks

Do you need a job now?  Then use the best job search plan ever created.

Come on!  How could it possibly be the best EVER created? Because it was created for only one person.  You.

I have seen it happen over and over.

One guy is out of work for less than a month, and he gets a job offer with a raise.

free from a bad job

Find a job in 5 weeks – that is freedom

It takes 6 months to get a job for the guy who sat next to him.  This poor guy was doing exactly the same job, got better performance ratings, and would get rehired first if the job was re-opened. To make things worse, the guy who took six months accepts a huge pay cut.

          It isn’t fair, but it happens every day.

It isn’t luck.  The guy who finds a job quickly did things differently.  He may have instinctively done the few most critical steps within the first days of losing his job.  He may also have mapped out a strategy and executed it.  Either way, he got the critical steps executed.  He got the job.

The critical steps most often screwed up by the guys who take 6 months to find a job.

For 22 years I’ve been watching people get jobs in days, or wait a year to find a job.  The steps most often screwed up are:

  • The resume stunk, and he never found out.
  • He burned his best leads before he was prepared.
  • Monster became his momma.
  • HR (Human Resources Department) was his master.
  • He never expanded his network, but he talked to a zillion people.
  • Interviews never seemed to go right.
  • He waited for a phone call back.
  • He thought recruiters were his friends

Give me a call or research these topics on my blog.

If you want to have the shortest job search possible.  Fill out the survey at this link and then contact me.  bryan@dilts.us or call Bryan Dilts at 717-975-9001.

No, I don’t guarantee that you will get a job offer in 5 weeks.  But I will put 22 years of experience behind your job search.

Get a job by being like the guy who invented running

Experts are hired quickly.  They rarely look for a job very long. An expert knows all the answers – if you ask the right questions.  You can become an expert, just like Jim Fixx.

The guy who invented running died

Jim Fixx transformed himself into more than just another old runner like this guy.

Runners were either late to an interview or just weird before Jim Fixx.

Jim Fixx passed away in 1984.  Some obituaries said, “The man who invented running died.” Before his book, The Complete Book of Running, jogging and running were not sports.  They were just weird.  Jim Fixx didn’t revolutionize running, he just brought it acceptance.  In 1977 his book was the best selling non-fiction hardcover book ever. He is a legend in the running world.

Every month I run across at least one or two people whose names are synonymous with excellence in their field.  Hailed as legends and gurus, they aren’t necessarily the brightest people, but they are smart.  What they have done is study extensively, had a few successful projects and published a few articles or a book.  If the field is broader, they get involved writing the certification tests in their discipline. They all command a 30% to 100% earnings premium compared to people who are merely better than they are.

Hiring managers feel embarrassed to admit they don’t know who these people are.  It is obvious from their resumes that they are the “go to” guys in their narrow field.  I have to emphasize, these guys are smart, but not geniuses.  They have figured out how to be impressive.  They have psyched out managers, consultants and experts.  They have become the gurus in their field.

Can you become the legend or guru in your field?  How about in your company?  In your team?  Your name can become synonymous with a particular subject.  You may have to teach a few classes, write an article or a training course.  What can you do to become a legend?

Something To Do Today

Who are the gurus in your field?  Ask them how they built their reputation.  Scared to call them because they wrote a book?  Truth to tell, authors are human too.  They will succumb to the rapt attention of an informed audience.  Call them, email them or write to them.

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Tomorrow:     I make the milk

Guerilla gardening

Great ideas are…

Forgetting

The 2 critical resume tests – do them yourself

Testing your resume

Testing your resume

Your resume has to be good enough in a blind test to get past the trash can.

Getting past the trash can

When is your resume being thrown away? In my last post I gave the 4 major trashing points in your resume’s life.

You have two ways to break through the cycle:

  1. Have someone give your resume directly to the boss with their recommendation.
  2. Have a resume that passes all 4 trash points.

Networking will get your resume directly to the boss with a recommendation.  Outstanding networking will get you an interview without a resume.

For the rest:

Do you pass the idiot test and the expert test?  Assume an idiot and an expert will each try to find a reason to throw away your resume.  Assume they have too many resumes and want to throw away as many as possible.  They are proactive trashers.

Pass the idiot test

The secretary has to see an obvious, undeniable fit with the job description.  She won’t understand all the acronyms, but she knows they have to be there.  She knows how much experience is required.  She knows it has to be a manager or a worker. She trashes resumes that don’t shout that they fit the job.

Pass the expert test

The boss has a lot to do.  He wants a great person to work for him, but doesn’t have enough time to talk to everyone.  Like the secretary he throws out the obvious problems.  The difference is that he understands the resume.  He also throws out the resumes that just don’t feel right.  Time is critical to him.  The first person he calls has the accomplishments he needs in his company.

How you can test both ways

Run a test.  Take your resume and the job ad you are responding to.  Hand both to someone who doesn’t know the field.  Do they think you pass?  Do the same with an expert.  Do you pass?

Hoping is not a plan

Stop wishing and hoping.  Either network your way in or find your own screeners.  You need other people to help you get your resume out of the trash can.

Something To Do Today

Who do you know that is up front and brutally blunt?  Take your resume and the job ad you are responding to.  Ask them read the job ad thoroughly.  Then give them your resume.  Ask them to decide in 10 seconds if it looks like the resume passes.  Then ask them to take 45 seconds and look closer.

Do you pass the test?

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Later:              Slavery and recruiter ownership

Non-competes

Coyote traps – when to gnaw off your arm

Glass ceilings

The hours game

When is your resume being thrown away?

bin-297863_1280You have to know when your resume is being thrown away to fix its problems. There is a timing pattern you must understand.  You have to break through your resume’s stumbling block in the following pattern to get hired:

  1. Your resume arrives along with 100 others. The secretary trashes 80 after a 10 second review apiece.
  2. The secretary trashes 10 more after giving them 45 seconds apiece.
  3. Her boss gets the 10 remaining resumes and trashes 2 after a 10 second review.
  4. The boss throws away 3 more viable resumes. He just doesn’t have the time to deal with more than 5.  For the 3 trashed, something is not quite right.
  5. He calls the 5 remaining candidates, starting with the best one.

Can you see why knowing when your resume is thrown out is critical?

Every time you send out a resume and fail to get an interview you should ask, “Who threw away my resume?” Ask the question of yourself.  Also ask your recruiter and the HR person at the company.  Beg, if you have to.

You need to find out when and why your resume is not being considered.  Also be sensitive to the recruiter and HR.  They may lie to you.  They don’t want to argue.  They want to be powerful and all-knowing.  Play on that and ask for advice as you try to find out when your resume was trashed.

Next time we’ll talk about how to get past the screenings and into an interview.  For now, try to figure out when your resume is being thrown away.

Something To Do Today

Make some calls.  Find out where your resume is being trashed.

Ask some friends, they may be able to give you some ideas too.

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Later:   Getting your resume past the trash can

Non-competes

Coyote traps – when to gnaw off your arm

Glass ceilings

The hours game