Resume Tips

1. TELL THE TRUTH…AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH

The best companies will not tolerate falsehood…so do not embellish… ever…about anything. Besides, you have value wherever you are in your career and there is a great job out there for the YOU that YOU ARE!

2. USE MICROSOFT WORD…OR ENSURE MICROSOFT COMPATABILITY

Microsoft has the market cornered on business enterprise software. If you want your résumé read, send it in Word or a widely available file type such as Adobe (PDF).

3. THE RÉSUMÉ GETS THE INTERVIEW…NOT THE JOB

This is advertising…your personal billboard. Space sells. Temper your résumé with the highlights of your career, the impact you make, with the intention of leaving the reader thinking, “I have got to meet this candidate.”

4. LAY IT OUT TO CAPTURE THEIR ATTENTION

Busy Human Resources pros and Operations Executives will give your résumé 5 to 10 seconds at first glace. Most often their eyes will go first to your CONTACT INFORMATION (for your residence location), then right to EXPERIENCE (to judge if your career history is a fit), then to EDUCATION, and then to their HOT BUTTON SPOT (personal choice…depends on the reader – could be certifications, objective, awards, qualifications summary, etc.). If they like what they saw, they’ll go back to the experience area to read the details, and so on.

5. KEEP IT TO ONE PAGE IF POSSIBLE – NEVER MORE THAN TWO

Yes, you, career changers. Content impresses…not multiple pages. Remember…you have 5 to 10 seconds. If the CEOs of Fortune 100 companies can keep it to one page, you can too.

6. FOCUS ON IMPACT

If you are a Pastry Chef we already know that you are “responsible for all aspects of the pastry department.” Tell them something they don’t know!

  • Win the business critical acclaim?
  • Innovate on the dessert menu?
  • Introduce new ingredients, driving revenue?
  • Decrease turnover?
  • Drive sales?
  • Lower costs?
  • Lead a team or champion a cause?
  • Redesign the kitchen for increased efficiency?
  • Improve overall quality?

Use numbers, %’s and $’s…they stand out and catch the eye. Wouldn’t you want to meet the chef that…

  • Increased dessert sales 26% by overhauling the menu to reflect contemporary trends such as seasonality and farm-to-table components
  • Lowered food cost by 14% through streamlined purchasing, consistent training and implementing an incentive program for the staff
  • Decreased turnover by 50% in the first year through one-on-one and group mentorship, skills training, and changing morale for the positive
  • Personally consulted with group sales clients resulting in an $18K annual sales increase of specialty cakes, pastry tables and plated desserts

Tell them “what,” but leave them needing to know “how.”

7. USE BULLETPOINTS

Nothing says “please don’t read me” more than a huge paragraph. Bulletpoints steer the eye, and look crisp and neat. And use a solid circle or simple shape.

8. USE A READABLE FONT SIZE – AND USE SIZES 4 and 6 TO SAVE SPACE

Do all of the copy in 10 or 11…it’s easily readable (this section is in 10.5). Avoid underlining and bold print as it can draw the eye too much and make the page look busy.

Use font sizes 4 and 6 for spacing between jobs or categories. (Just like between these two paragraphs!) Also…Do not shrink the left and right margins smaller than 1”, or the top and bottom margins smaller than .5”.

9. USE A READABLE FONT STYLE

You’ll get to discuss your creativity in the interview process. Keep your résumé comfortably readable.

10. CENTER YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION

This makes a bold statement and ensures it is easy to find if stapled to another document. Don’t list every way possible to contact you. Just use your home or cell number. Here’s a good example:

Fred X. Executive
1 East Elm Street • Chicago, IL 60611
312-555-9999 • f.executive @comcast .net

11. BE RELEVANT, NOT REDUNDANT

Just because you have seen résumés with sections like Objective, Summary of Qualifications, Technical Expertise, etc. does not mean that it fits for you! There are occasions when those are appropriate and you need to discern when and why. Very often they’re redundant

In my opinion, an “Objective” is only necessary when you are in a transition because if you’re not going to say something in the objective then it is just fluff – and can work against you.

When changing careers or “lanes” within a career, an objective is recommended because the reader will see years of experience in another field and you want them to know your new intentions.

12. TIPS ON REFERENCES

Keep them on a separate sheet and provide them upon request – preferably after the first interview. Do not expose your valuable professional references to unnecessary phone calls, and make sure those references are aware they will be contacted regarding your candidacy. A surprised reference is not a good sign.

13. SPELLCHECK AND YOU CHECK

Read your résumé because spell-check only ensures words are in the dictionary!

14. VOICE MAIL & E-MAIL

Your number is now connected to your career lifeline. Therefore, change your voicemail to something like “Thank you for calling Arnold Applicant. I am sorry I missed your call but please leave a message with your phone number and I will return the call promptly. Thank you.” Potential employers may not like your taste in “on hold” music. Likewise, your email address is now connected to your career lifeline. Avoid email addresses that contain peeks into your personal life.

15. SOCIAL MEDIA – NETWORKING (i.e.: Facebook)

Like it or not, your online social network is an extension of your résumé. Be aware that employers are increasingly using social networks to screen applicants. Be selective of your online connections, and monitor your picture tags very often.

They are looking for immature behavior, poor communication skills, bad habits, inappropriate photos, bad-mouthing employers, information about criminal behavior, use of an employer’s confidential information, etc.

A recent article reported that 35% of employers reported they found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate. The top examples cited include:

  • 53% – Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information
  • 44% – Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs
  • 35% – Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients
  • 29% – Candidate showed poor communication skills
  • 26% – Candidate made discriminatory comments
  • 24% – Candidate lied about qualifications
  • 20% – Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer
  • 16% – Dismissed a candidate for using text language such as GR8 (great) in an e-mail or job application
  • 14% – Disregarded a candidate because the candidate sent them a message using an emoticon such as a smiley face

16. SOCIAL MEDIA – BLOGS

Ditto #15 above, except your blog might be more easily found and completely read through.

17. SOCIAL MEDIA – POSITIVE

If you keep it clean, social media can work for you, not against you. Here are some tips on how to ensure your messaging is an asset:
• Keep it squeaky clean and family-appropriate (content, language, pictures, etc.).
• Monitor it carefully. Be vigilant about monitoring responses and posts by followers. Even though they do not reflect your opinions, they can cast a shadow on you.
• Keep your messages positive and optimistic.
• Post and/or blog about relevant subject matter in your profession, and create online networks of other enlightened professionals.
• Support worthy causes.
• Ensure that your social media presence is an extension of your professional presence – not a separate life or personality.

18. DIGITAL RÉSUMÉ or PORTFOLIO

A digital, online, or .PDF of a PowerPoint résumé can make a big impact. I prefer one picture per page, and the pictures have to be flawless. For a pastry chef’s presentation, I would use the following guidelines:
First Page or Two – Your contact info and résumé
Next 2-3 Pages – Pictures of Plated Desserts
Next 2-3 Pages – Pictures of Cakes
Next 2-3 Pages – Pictures of Pastry and/or Buffet Work
Next 2-3 Pages – Pictures of Showpieces
Next 2-3 Pages – Letters of Reference or Recommendation
Last Page – Contact Information with Email (that hopefully they instantly click)

Joseph D’Alessandro

About Joseph D’Alessandro

Joseph spent 15 years in leadership positions in hospitality operations before becoming a full-time executive recruiter in 2000. Joseph founded SHS in 2002 and has grown the business from a one-person outfit to a full team of dedicated experts.