Whoever Invented Resumes Ought to be Shot

I'm a hiring manager with a job description that clearly outlines the specifications of my job. And what do I receive from candidates, usually with no cover letter? A piece of paper that spews out useless information about a total stranger, in chronological order. Great. So, in my left hand is what I need. And in my right hand is a one, two or three-page pile of words, leaving me to figure out if they should be applying at all.

Given that the resume is all I have, I do the following: glance down the experience list, seeing if any companies are in my industry or on my target list to recruit from or high caliber companies at all. Then, I might look at titles to gauge level of experience. At this point, I will delete, toss, or put in a "maybe" pile.

I don't read objectives since they are one of two things: Written exactly for my position, so I know they are being tailored for each application, or, two, so general and squishy, this person has no focus. An example of #2: "Proven executive searching for an exciting position that leverages my strengths with people, technology and process." Huh?

What I do like at the top of the resume is an Executive Summary. A set of 10-12 skill sets that describe you, in two columns of short bullets. Net out the "so what" from your years of experience. LinkedIn is a great resource for identifying those skill words, assuming you have a 100% complete profile, which you need. Example, my bullet points might say: Global Sales Leader, Marketing Strategist, Strategic Planner, Team Builder, Channel Chief, Cross-Team Leader, etc.

There are many great resume-writing resources on the web...use them. Make it clean, easy-to-read, and error free.

Since there is no one right way to format a resume and I find ALL resumes a hard way to find my candidates, I recommend the following:
  1. Always do a cover letter. Even if the hiring manager doesn't read them, for those hiring managers that do, or IF all of the other candidates have one, you need one. DON'T regurgitate your resume in your cover letter. Study the job description and tell me, the reader, three reasons why you are the best candidate for my position.
  2. Make the 1-page cover letter the top page in your word or PDF file with your resume starting on page 2. This saves me from having to open multiple files in your attachment. Many sites only allow for one document, too.
  3. Use the same technique when sending a resume to a network executive. "Dear ____, thank you for offering to give me some advice as part of my job search. Attached is...

Candidates, always put yourself in the hiring manager's shoes and raise the quality bar. Cut the Crap, Get a Job! Best of luck!
Dana Manciagli
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Dana Manciagli, called "a combination of Jillian Michaels and Suze Orman for careers," has been a corporate executive for more than 30 years and has leveraged her employee hiring and management experience into that of author, blogger, keynote speaker, career coach, and global career expert. She is the author of Cut the Crap, Get a Job! A New Job Search Process for a New Era.

Dana has had a remarkable career in global sales and marketing roles in Fortune 500 corporations. Recently retired from a decade's tenure at Microsoft as worldwide sales general manager, Dana previously worked for Kodak as VP of worldwide marketing and climbed the corporate career ladder through Sea-Land, Avery Dennison, and IBM. She also helped grow a fast-growing technology start-up from early stage to IPO and sale of the company.

Dana has coached, interviewed, and hired thousands of job seekers. As a result, she has developed a proprietary job search and networking process. Her ideas and techniques are proven to be as effective for college graduates as for senior executives. Dana has presented her concept at hundreds of career-centric and corporate events and is a prolific writer on the subject. She is a sought-after speaker and a regular contributor to print and online publications.

Named a top "Women of Influence" in Seattle, Dana lives and works in Puget Sound where she serves on the Worldwide Board of Junior Achievement. She is also a breast cancer conqueror, received her MBA at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona, and speaks fluent Spanish. Dana shares her life with Mathis, is immensely proud of her two grown sons, Shane and Chad, and loves to golf and travel the world.