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Can someone explain what makes a "good" resume???

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by CTGuy, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. merkur

    merkur Senior member

    Apr 5, 2008
  2. Joffrey

    Joffrey Senior member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Pennsylvania Ave/Connecticut Ave
    You sir are fantastic and I appreciate all your input. At first I felt hopeless because my lack of extracurricular activities but you have helped me turn something basic into a great asset. It has been a tremendous help. Thank you.

    You're welcome. I am only two years out of school but I found out a lot about resumes early. You would be surprised the number of intelligent people who apply for jobs with terrible resumes. So you have a leg up on a large number of the applicant pool.

    Seriously, what employer these days actually has the time to sit around reading cover letters? If someone actually sent a cover letter with there resume to my company, the recruiter would toss it before it reached anyone else's desk.

    You are right most hiring managers or HR drones barely glance at cover letters. However, being that it is your chance to make a first impression you want to ensure that those who read them like what they see enough to give your resume a close[r] look.

    In my experience a bad cover letter can kill your chances. But I guess if HR doesn't read them then it won't matter. I actually found them really enlightening as I was recently reading through applications. One came off as utterly arrogant so I skipped that candidate. Others, instead of addressing their letter (actually e-mails) "Dear Dr. XXX" wrote "Hey <my first name>. Huh? Skipped them too.

    I was told early on that there are two philosophies about cover letters and CVs: one short the other long. Take your pick, but one of them has to explain why you're a good fit for the job. Again, though, this was for academia.


    +1. In my recent experience looking to switch careers, I did a lot of work developing my cover letter writing approach. I went from quite long but descriptive letters (which I later decided no one would read) to very short but still descriptive letters. It is quite important to try to put together great ones because you never know when it helps your cause.

    So my point of view: If applying to a position where you don't know or never met the hiring staff then the letter should be very formal and short (3-4 paragraphs ~100 words). If you know the person (alumni, or you have met or spoken before, or referred) you can be more descriptive (~200 words).

    Less than 10 years of experience working (in a "normal" professional field) stick to 1 page resume.
  3. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Senior member

    Feb 22, 2005
    The Capital
    Yeah, but [managing a restaurant] sounds like it's still a real job that probably requires skills, (if nothing else, at least the leadership aspects)

    Yeah managing a restaurant has a lot of responsibilities that will look great to someone recruiting for acct or finance internship.

    My gawds, do not undersell yourself. That's "leadership;" you've had people reporting to you. Play it up.

    I just read a resume where the new uni grad stuck "editor of undergraduate law review" at the bottom of his list of "other activities". What? No. Move it up to work experience and play it up. Never undersell yourself.

    I've never been good at patting myself on the back--but I'm forcing myself to do it. It's the only way to guarantee that your boss (and her/his bosses) know that you're doing good work.

  4. shibbel

    shibbel Senior member

    Nov 30, 2010

    Can anyone recommend a great resume writer/writing service?
  5. FidelCashflow

    FidelCashflow Senior member

    Oct 15, 2007
    I've actually started reviewing resumes recently to hire for some positions. It's a different perspective when you actually get to start hiring people. A couple of things I've learned 1) Objectives are redundant - your objective should be to do the job I'm hiring you for and do it well 2) A bad resume cover letter means your resume is going in the trash - it's a sign of weak communication skills. 3) A good cover letter is one that differentiates you from all the other people who are applying for the same job - this is even more important if there are a ton of other people applying for the same job with the same background (e.g. an entire graduating class of law students from your college all applying for the same internship at a law firm.) If you can point to something useful that you got going that not everyone else does, you'll probably get short-listed for an interview. 4) If you are applying for a relatively junior position targeted at people without much experience, a short resume is most desirable. If you are applying for a more senior job where you have to establish yourself as uniquely and highly qualified, a longer resume makes sense. 5) I can't stress this enough - FIX YOUR FACEBOOK PRIVACY SETTINGS! There were times I received resumes and thought the applicant sounded like an oddball - a quick glance at their facebook page confirmed they were weirdos.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  6. akatsuki

    akatsuki Senior member

    Apr 5, 2008
    Brooklyn, SF, Tokyo
    I look at the resumes first, make a cut, then go back and look at cover letters and then make another cut. One of my colleagues does it the other way. Easy cuts (unless you have something totally amazing, on the caliber of Rhodes scholar to balance against, etc.)
    1. Grammar or spelling mistake
    2. Over a page - I just stop at the first page and anything on the second page doesn't get read and counts against them a bit
    3. Generic cover letter not specific to the job - ding, but maybe not out
    4. Any creative font nonsense, use Times New Roman 10-11, your resume should be just like how you show up to an interview, impeccable and a bit boring in style
    5. Not following any submission requirements
    6. And, of course, a bad GPA
    Things to emphasize:
    1. Leadership or self-initiative roles - this is number one for me.
    2. Active language in the description of what you actually did, not a description of job responsibilities
    3. I like a one line list of hobbies at the bottom, a person who doesn't have activities they are involved in probably is lazy or not motivated or social - I will ask about them.
    4. If you have achieved something real in one of those, it can also get a line of its own.
    5. Language fluency should get a line, so should any associations you are active in (and I mean active, cause if you get to the interview, I will probably ask about it)
    As for order of items, if you are recently out of school, put education first, if you have been working a while, put that first. Objectives line is a waste of space. Publications/Patents can go on there, if there are a lot, pick 2-3 to highlight that you think are important/representative and put the rest on a separate page.
  7. dragon8

    dragon8 Senior member

    Feb 19, 2007
    San Francisco

    I used Allan Brown recently. Very happy. PM me if you want more information.

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