Monday, January 31, 2011


Let's discuss for a minute your resume.  Of course there's the obvious things that you need to include...your name, contact information, dates of employment, company names, titles, computer skills (if necessary/applicable). All of these facts should be accurate and should depict your work history on one neat little piece of paper (unscented, unless your name is Elle Woods). Not 20 pages...ONE...MAYBE two...but as someone who is the queen of altering those margins (back in college, I could turn 100 words into a FIVE page paper), there are very few people out there who need to have a resume that's longer than one page. Those people are published, have 20+ years of experience (although they really only have to list the last 10 years which should be very easy to include on one page), A-list actors or juniors in college (purely because they have no clue).

Because the majority of the resumes I see are entry level and/or support staff, I prefer a bulleted, chronological resume to a paragraph, functional one. It's just easier to read and is usually what companies want. These bullets should be clear, concise tidbits about what you do/did at your job. If you're not currently at the job, make sure everything is in past tense. I don't like objectives/summaries as I think they are redundant...not to mention funny. "Experienced Executive Assistant with 10+ years of experience who brings passion, intelligence and amazing attention to detail to the table..." WELL OF COURSE YOU DO...what are you going to write, "Mediocre employee who often makes mistakes and calls in sick, is a MUST HIRE." Objectives often pigeon hole you as well. I can't tell you how many times candidates have written, "Strong assistant seeks office manager position at thriving company" in their objective and they're applying for a receptionist job!

And don't ASSUME potential employer KNOW what you do by your titles. When looking for an assistant, my clients want to see that you've planned 10-person meetings, coordinated domestic and international travel, ran personal errands and answered phones. They want to see if you've done PowerPoint presentations; handled expenses in excel; and processed 5000 piece mailings using mail merge. If you've dealt with office moves, build outs or the hiring and training of staff, list it. Everything else after this is GRAVY and should be included at the author's discretion.

And now we get to my favorite part of every resume...the SKILLS/INTERESTS/WHAT I DO WHEN I'M NOT WORKING AT MY SHITTY JOB section. I've seen everything from yoga and marathon runner to knitter, polar bear club member and pole dancing enthusiast. I recently met someone who listed TRUFFLES on their thought was while it's all well and good to eat them, professing a love of fungus is just WRONG. She quickly clarified she was talking about CHOCOLATE truffles, but STILL! I Heart Hanson, President of the Justin Beiber fan club and avid reality show viewer need not appear on your resume. Now I will put a caveat in here that sometimes these random things do catch the eye of some recruiters, but for the most part, they can turn someone away (especially if they too have an aversion to all things funghi related). One candidate listed blockbuster movies as a passion and the interviewer thought that was dumb because most blockbusters have little to no meaning, are not thought-provoking and rarely display any intelligent qualities and therefore served as a metaphor for the candidate.

I also hate when candidates list their 2.4 GPA as though it's impressive that you were a C student in college. If your GPA is lower than 3.3 (3.0 if I'm being generous) there's no need to list it. You also should only include language skills if you are fluent. Most companies will only hire candidates that can read, write and speak another language so if you can only count to 10 (like I can), don't list it as a skill.

Ultimately your resume is your book cover. And in this world, you are TOTALLY judged by it, so make it Oprah's book club worthy!

Good night and happy job hunting,

The Job Yenta

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