The Real Way to Write A Resume.

Growing up, my father was a house painter, and I spent every day after school cleaning up job sites for the right to live in his house.  After college he was nice enough to offer me a job working for his company in Sales and as a worker, I declined. He was upset but knew I had to move on. He asked me how he could help me get a start on a career out of the family business, I said “I have to write a Resume." He could not help me as he never wrote a resume nor needed to write one. 

However, what he did was nothing short of amazing. He bartered his painting services (me doing the bulk of the work) with a Yale University School of Management Professor who would be responsible for schooling me in the art of Resume Writing and Interviewing (no wonder I became a HeadHunter, a.k.a. “The Shark”). I will now share with you the tips you need to write a resume which will get you that Interview!

Getting Started

  • Start from the beginning (so if you have an old resume, file it for now – don’t just dust it off and try to update it since the old format will not follow the road map I am about to give you – keep it handy to review, but do not use it).
  • Get a Legal Pad.
  • Now in long form (keyword here is LONG) and without holding back on any detail and with no CONCERN for the length of what you are about to create, take a trip down memory lane to your High School years and jot down any work experience you may have had. I bet you are scratching your head on this one, right? I need for you to dust off your memory bank, so start dusting during those High School years. We may not use this information, but guess what this exercise will help you remember other important events and experiences as you move forward remembering each position you held. Remember, do not omit any detail and make sure you are including the accomplishments and failures you had in each of your positions.
  • Include all dates as specific as you can be. DO NOT LEAVE ANY GAPS IN YOUR RESUME. ACCOUNT FOR ALL YOUR TIME (You will see why below).
  • The last page you will be compiling should contain your most current position.
  • Now reshuffle the pages with the last page becoming the first and the first the last.
  • Your template is ready to be re-read and digested into a resume form.
  • I will also add here that you just mastered the first 20% of any interview – KNOWING WHAT YOU WROTE ON YOUR RESUME!

Writing Your Resume
Your resume tells the tale of your Professional Life. As such...

  • I do not care what your Hobbies are.
  • I do not care that you teach children on the weekend.
  • I do not care that you are the founder of your local “Bird Watching Society.”

Are you getting the picture? I care that you can deliver.

  • I care that you come to work everyday.
  • I care that family comes first, but work is a very close second.
  • I care that you are a good corporate citizen.
  • I care about your EDUCATION as it relates to the position.
  • I care that you care about yourself.

Now that you know I only care about what you can do for me, let's get started.

  • DO NOT USE A RESUME TEMPLATE WITH “CELLS” LIKE THE ONES OFFERED IN MICROSOFT WORD. THEY DO NOT TRAVEL WELL IN CYBERSPACE AND THEY DO NOT PARSE INTO HUMAN RESOURCE DATABASES, WHICH MEANS YOU MAY NOT BE IN THEIR SYSTEM. THUS, YOU  MAY NOT BE ASKED IN FOR AN INTERVIEW SINCE YOU MAY NOT EXIST!
  • Do not write a Summary like I see so often at the top of your resume – no one really reads them. Your summary will be your cover letter and will be written to target each position for which you are interviewing.
  • Put your personal contact information at the top of the first page ONLY. Include home address, phone numbers and personal e-mail.
  • Start the resume with your Education if you GRADUATED from a top-tier University or College. IF NOT, TOP-TIER EDUCATION GOES AT THE END OF YOUR RESUME.
  • In descending order (your current position first) use very accurate dates and with no gaps in your employment (Since “The Shark” in me will think “What is this person hiding? and believe me that is the first thing that any “Shark” will think)
  • Give facts, but not too much detail – the facts will get you the interview – the details will get you the job.
  • The resume should be no more than three (3) pages. Most resume readers will have stopped after 1 1/2 pages. If they are interested, they will scan the dates to see if you have been employed for your whole career and if you have a college degree or not.
  • Now unless your are interviewing for your very first job, your resume will be more than one page long. Did you get that? It really kills me when these professional resume writers try and cram 10+ years of experience on one page – if you can somehow do that, I can tell you I will probably not be interested. Get it?  More than one page is great, more than 3 pages is “War and Peace."
  • Your resume should focus on your strengths and why you should be hired. For example, if you are in a management position, highlight your success in building teams and promoting your subordinates. If you are an individual contributor, focus on your ability to meet deadlines, complete assignments and work without much oversight. In the descending order of your positions you will provide less and less detail about the positions in your past which are not related to your management skills. The method can be applied for ANY and ALL positions – Painter through CEO.
  • SPELL AND GRAMMAR CHECK YOUR RESUME. LET ME SAY THAT ONE MORE TIME. SPELL AND GRAMMAR CHECK YOUR RESUME! If you ask why, well chances are you are doomed from the start. Let me just say that the fastest way to my waste paper basket is viewing a resume with a number of spelling and/or grammar mistakes. Remember to get to my client or to that face-to-face interview you need to get by me first, and understand my client or the face-to-face interview is not in the waste paper basket. Get the point?
  • Now have someone you do not know well but has an understanding of your area of expertise read and “RED FLAG” your resume. This is painful but must be done. Remember you will be communicating with people you do not know. This is your “shot,” so do everything you can to come out swinging.
  • Listen to what the reviewer shared with you. Does it make sense? Will the resume be better with those changes noted? If YES, then make those changes, and let’s move forward. Let’s go get that offer.