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Sunday, January 14, 2007
Why You DON’T Need More than One Version of Your Resume
“I’m interested in taking my career in a couple of different directions in at this point. I think I need two different versions of my resume.” That was the comment from John, a new client who had a fifteen year career in sales and marketing with an increasingly responsible career progression.

John had started right out of college as an account executive with a company in the consumer products industry but had progressed up the ladder through technology and pharmaceutical sales until he was at the point where he was ready for a significant management position. Basically, John could sell anything and he had proven it. Now he wanted to target a national sales manager position or a sales training position but he was open to any of the three industries where his experience fell or even a new one. Because of the different responsibilities associated with both his target positions, he felt he would be better served by having two different resumes.

With a little questioning, I came to find out that John had arrived at this conclusion through the recommendation of a friend in HR and through reading a couple of articles he found online. The truth is John had been misinformed. Unless a job seeker is targeting two very divergent jobs (say financial analyst and veterinary technician), one strategically written resume serves perfectly to land interviews.

In discussing this issue with John, I explained to him the reasoning behind why our firm only recommends one resume. First of all, the job seeker has one career history and it’s in a set order of time. The resume will be written in reverse chronological order since that is the format that 99% of all hiring managers and recruiters prefer. The order of information within those jobs or the information that is include/excluded is set by the strategy of the document. Since John had both managed others in sales throughout his career and trained others also, he had the background throughout his career that qualified him for both targets.

In conducting his job search, we recommend that the resume remain the same but what needs to change is the cover letter. The cover letter is what should be changed and targeted to the specific position in question because it is the “introduction” that accompanies the resume and speaks directly to the recipient. The cover letter is a great tool for zeroing in on specific skills that make the job seeker uniquely qualified for the job. Changing a few sentences around in the resume or maybe changing a few words in a summary has little to no effect on whether the resume is going to win interviews.

Do you need two resumes? Rarely. Do you need a customized cover letter? Always.

Boomers a Hot Commodity
One of the most common comments we receive from clients who are over 55 and making a job change is “I’m facing age discrimination.” The fact is, that might be true according to an article on (,2933,243604,00.html ). The discrimination may not be negative, though. It may be on the positive side for older workers.

The article details the efforts of the federal government to target Baby Boomers who aren’t ready to retire or who want to start on a second career. These hiring efforts are focusing on the older workers specifically in the DC, Maryland, Virginia areas, something that again, confirms something that is true in most hiring – local candidates will often win out over equally qualified candidates that would require a relocation package.

As an older job seeker, what does this mean to you? First of all, it should be a huge encouragement. Your skills, and especially your experience, are recognized and are in demand by one of the nation’s largest employers. You should not be discouraged. As many of your generation start to retire, an experience/wisdom vacuum is being created in the workplace which creates a demand for your abilities. Thirty-something’s don’t have the well of experience, knowledge, and “been-there-done-that” wisdom. That experience is a hot commodity.

In addition, your generation has a work ethic that was instilled by your parents, the Greatest Generation, that younger pups don’t have. Younger workers are the microwave generation and don’t understand the value of patience, persistence, reflection, and application of lessons-learned. While the speed of business and life in general may have accelerated vastly over the past twenty years, that only makes these traits of maturity more valuable.

I always say the true negative effect of age discrimination mostly occurs in the mind of the job seeker. By assuming you are too old, you create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Success in anything is all about attitude and if you have the attitude that you are too old to be wanted in the workplace, well, then you probably are.

Sunday, January 07, 2007
Your Own Best Sales Tool
I was listening to Paul Harvey yesterday as I was running some errands and he was talking about the founder of J.C. Penney. He quoted Mr. Penney as saying that you can’t sell anything if you aren’t sold on yourself and your product first. I was mulling that over as I was weaving through Saturday traffic and braving the big box store crowds. You can’t sell anything unless you are first sold on yourself and your product. Hmmm.

Basically, that’s saying that you first have to have confidence in yourself before anyone else will have confidence in you. That really applies to job search. When you cut right down to the core of things, job search is a selling action. You are selling your expertise to the prospective customer (the employer). Sometimes, you use a middle-man, a recruiter, as part of that sales process, but you are still selling your expertise.

If you take Mr. Penney’s comment in the context of job search, then you can’t convince the employer you are the right person for the job if you don’t truly believe it yourself. It’s all in the attitude. If you are convinced you have great skills, you can do the job, and you can communicate that confidence well, the employer will “buy” or interview you and possibly hire you.

That communication is where most people stumble because it is the resume that communicates that confidence first. In our Western culture, we are trained as children not to brag or boast or toot our own horn. That’s probably good since if we weren’t trained that way, we’d be a society of insufferable buffoons. However, in job search, communicating confidence in yourself is VITAL to success. What sounds braggadocios in conversation simply communicates confidence in writing.

The most common problem we see in self-written resumes is the lack of power or confidence. Most people are fairly good at getting their job duties and responsibilities down on paper but it’s communicating the accomplishments, value, and strengths that are lacking. Often, job seekers can’t see these things as accomplishments but rather just something that they did. That comes from being too close to the subject which creates lack of objectivity.

As a professional resume writing firm, our job is to bring that objectivity to the resume so the value and the accomplishments make the candidate stand out in the crowd. You should never write your own resume for the same reason doctors should never treat family members – you are too close to the subject and have emotional ties that cloud the real issues and create disconnects in decision-making.

Is your resume communicating that you are truly SOLD on yourself and your abilities? If it isn’t, you aren’t going to be able to convince an employer that you are the right person for the job. Time for an investment in objectivity.

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 /


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