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Perfect Resumé Career Blog

Resume Writing Myth: Your Resume Needs an Exciting Format to Get a Hiring Manager’s Attention

January 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog, Resume Tips

resume

From Kent Lee, CEO of Perfect Resume

I’d like to take a moment to talk about one of the biggest resume writing myths. We’ve talked to several people this week who think their resumes look “boring.” Almost all of these people say they want “a resume format that looks exciting and gets a hiring manager’s attention.”

Hiring Managers Focus on Content, Not a Resume’s Appearance

The truth is, a resume’s format has little to do with getting a hiring manager’s attention. What truly gets the attention of a hiring manager, recruiter, or HR manager is resume content that relates to the job description for the position they are trying to fill.

Yes, having a resume format that looks professional is important, but it does not have to look flashy or be filled with colors and pictures to get a hiring manager’s attention. Recruiters and HR managers don’t care about aesthetics nearly as much as people think they do. They want to see relevant resume content presented in a way that is clear, concise, and easy to read. That’s it.

Standing Out Visually Isn’t Necessary in Today’s Electronic World

The resume writing myth of “needing to stand out from the crowd” was much more relevant two decades ago, when resume applications weren’t submitted electronically. The thinking was that if your resume was in a stack of papers on a desk along with dozens of others, you needed to have a resume that stood out to ensure it got read.

But today’s resume review process doesn’t work like this. Resumes are received electronically, and each resume is reviewed one at a time. In many cases, resumes are scanned by computer software for keywords, and a resume’s format isn’t a factor at all.

Does Your Resume Meet the Job Requirements? That’s What Hiring Managers Are Looking For

When hiring managers look at resumes, they will notice the document’s overall look and feel — but only fleetingly. Really, they’re trying to decide very quickly if a candidate meets their job requirements, and the resume’s format has little, if anything, to do with that. Again, they’re looking for content that relates to their job description, and that’s what will get their attention.

As a side note, it is important for me to mention that there are some rare exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you have a degree in graphic design or another creative industry, the format and overall presentation of the resume becomes more important.

Do you live in the DFW area and need help with your resume? Perfect Resume would be happy to help. Give us a call today at 214-431-5296.

Perfect Resumé Career Blog

Job Interview Tips: How to Stand Out and Be Memorable

November 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Job Interview Tips

From Kent Lee, CEO of Perfect Resume

Long after you’ve left a job interview, how will you be remembered? It’s something you may not think about before your interview, but you should.

The key to leaving a lasting impression is using a technique called 3 Reasons/3 Stories.

In a nutshell, it’s simply about telling stories about yourself that are relevant to what hiring managers want to hear.

Here’s how it works:

Before your job interview, write down a list of the top three reasons why you are a great fit for the job. If you can, look at the requirements listed in the job description and use that as a guide.

Your goal is to get your interviewers to remember these three things about you.

Next, prepare three stories that back up each of your reasons.

Let’s take Leslie’s story as an example. (To learn more about how we helped Leslie go from unemployed for 3 years to hired in less than 30 days, check out the video on the Perfect Resume homepage.)

Leslie was interested in a sales management position. The three reasons why she was great for the job were:

1. Her 7 years of sales management experience.

2. She had a proven record of sales success in multiple industries.

3. She had skills building strong relationships with customers.

It’s important to note, Perfect Resume came up with these three reasons because they were relevant to the desired skills of the job to which Leslie applied. We know they were important factors in the minds of the hiring managers.

Next, we collaborated to determine her three stories to back up each of these items. They were:

1. A story about managing sales reps and her 20 direct reports.

2. A story about winning numerous sales awards in multiple industries.

3. A story about a great customer relationship she built.

With these 3 Reasons/3 Stories, Leslie performed brilliantly in her interviews and was remembered as a highly-relevant, talented candidate. And yes, she got the job.

The other great part about these stories is their flexibility. Once you have them prepared, you can use the stories throughout your interview, at any time, regardless of what question is asked.

For instance, if you’re prompted “So, tell me about yourself,” you can list your three reasons.

If you get asked about your strengths, you can use one of your three stories.

If you’re asked situational questions, odds are you can weave one of your stories into that answer.

Another benefit to this interview technique is that by telling your three stories, you are taking control of the interview. You’re guiding the conversation down a road that you want it to go down — one that highlights your three most relevant strengths.

It’s important to keep each of your stories to 1 minute or less. Interviewers hate it when people ramble, so it’s key to practice your story. You must be able to articulate your value and your stories in a clear, concise manner.

This 3 Reasons/3 Stories technique has worked for hundreds of clients. With practice, I’m confident it will work for you, too.

If you have questions, please leave me a comment below and I’ll follow up with you.

For more tips like this, follow Perfect Resume on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or sign up for our free newsletter for career and resume writing tips delivered to your inbox each week.

Perfect Resumé Career Blog

5 Biggest Job Search Mistakes

August 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog

From Kent Lee, CEO of Perfect Resume

In life, sometimes people make mistakes without even realizing it. This is especially true when it comes to looking for a job.

Here are some common pitfalls many of our clients make every day.

Mistake 1: Using a generic resume

I speak with clients all the time who use the same resume for every single job they apply to. This is a huge mistake.

Generic resumes don’t work because they don’t clearly explain how you are a great fit for specific jobs. The best resumes are always tailored and customized for specific opportunities.

That being said, you don’t need to have a completely different resume for every single job, either. But each resume should contain content directly related to the job description of the position you are applying for.

Mistake 2: Applying for jobs you aren’t qualified for

It surprises me how common this problem is. Many people either don’t understand how to read job descriptions or they just don’t take the time to read them closely.

When reading job descriptions, look at the requirements section first. If you don’t meet the minimum requirements, don’t waste your time applying for that job.

In any given week, I’ll have a handful of clients send me jobs they are interested in, when they clearly do not meet the minimum requirements listed on the job description.

While it may seem obvious, don’t fall victim to this common mistake. Focus only on the jobs where you at least meet the minimum requirements.

Mistake 3: Only applying to jobs online

Having a successful job search means having a successful job search strategy.

And if all you’re doing is applying for jobs online, that is a very poor strategy. There’s so much more you can do, and it all starts with people.

Sometimes you may get so caught up on looking for work, you end up focusing on just the job. Instead, put some of your focus on meeting and connecting with new people.

Why? Because people hire other people.

Start building your professional network. Use LinkedIn. Attend networking events, and connect with people who might be able to help you.

Mistake 4:  Playing the blame game

If you’ve been unemployed 6 months, a year, or longer, it’s time to take a step back and recognize that there’s a problem.

The big issue here is that after a bout of unemployment, people often start playing the blame game. They say, “The economy is terrible” or “No one will hire me because I’m too old” and “I keep hearing I’m overqualified.”

These are just excuses. The real problem is almost always one with your resume, your professional network, or your job search strategy.

When you find yourself thinking these thoughts, don’t play the blame game. Instead, take a step back and ask yourself:

  • Am I using a tailored resume?
  • Am I getting the most out of LinkedIn profile and my professional network?
  • Am I using a balanced approach between applying to jobs and networking?

Mistake 5: A poor attitude, not being open to change

Einstein once said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Quite frankly, many job searchers act crazy.

If you’re having trouble, do something different. Be open to the idea that you may need some help. Maybe you need a new resume, maybe you really need interview coaching, or maybe you to learn and better use LinkedIn.

The key is to not let a poor attitude get in the way of trying something new, getting some help, and approaching your job search with new tools or a new strategy.

Use these tips to avoid making the top 5 mistakes we see clients make in your job search.

If you like what you learned or have a question, leave a comment below. Subscribe to our newsletter to get helpful tips and advice each and every week.

Perfect Resumé Career Blog

Job Interview Advice: How to Answer a Question about Your Red Flag

July 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Job Interview Tips

perfectresumeredflagsFrom Kent Lee, CEO of Perfect Resume

Recently I did an interview coaching session with a high-level executive worried about a potential “red flag” on his resume.

Red flags are warning signs that indicate to hiring managers and recruiters that you might not be a great candidate for their jobs.

Many of you probably have red flags on your resume and might not know the best way to handle this situation during an interview.

Examples of red flags might include:

  • A significant gap of unemployment.
  • Working for several years in an industry unrelated to the industry in which you are pursuing a job.
  • Short employment stints, such as working for several different companies for 1 year or less.
  • An incomplete college education.

When dealing with red flag questions, I teach my clients to use the CCR Technique. The CCR Technique is one you won’t find anywhere else online. CCR is an acronym that stands for Concise, Confidence, Redirect.

C: Concise

When an interviewer asks you a question about something on your resume that could potentially be viewed as negative, it’s important to answer in a very concise manner. I teach my clients to answer these questions in 30 seconds or less.

Why? Because the longer you talk about something potentially negative, the more defensive you sound. And the more defensive you sound, the more you remind the interviewer you might not be a good fit for his or her job.

C: Confident

When someone asks you about something negative, the best response always involves you remaining confident. Why? Because it shows that you aren’t afraid to discuss this topic and, to you, it really isn’t that big of a deal at all.

The more confidence you have when answering these questions, the more interviewers will pick up on your confidence, and they’ll start to believe that the red flag isn’t that big of a deal either. Plus, trust me when I say this, employers love hiring confident people.

How does someone screw this up? By rambling and not being clear and concise.  That’s why step one is so important. Being clear and concise always makes you sound confident.

R: Redirect

The last step in this process is to redirect. The strategy here is to redirect the question away from the red flag subject and onto one of your strengths. By redirecting, you can actually have the interviewer think about your strengths and why you are a great fit for the job, rather than your red flag. How cool is that?

So, let me give you a real-world example so you can see how this works.

We’ll use Bob as an example. Bob is a high-level Technology Sales Executive with more than 20 years of experience.  His red flag issue is that from 2005 to 2008, he did not work in Technology Sales and instead spent 3 years selling real estate.

He’s been asked about this several times in interviews and never was offered a job.

I asked Bob how he had answered this question in interviews. He spent more than 4 minutes rambling about how real estate sales are similar to technology sales. His voice quivered, he never made a clear point, and the point he was trying to make was a very, very big stretch.

It was the absolute wrong approach. Instead of spending 4 minutes talking about real estate, Bob could have used that time to sell his strengths. Here’s how we taught Bob to answer this question:

Interviewer: “Bob, what happened in 2002? Why did you leave Microsoft and go into real estate sales?”

Bob:  “In 2002, I was on top of the world. I had just won back-to-back President’s Club Awards, I earned close to $500,000, and after 12 years … I was burned out a bit on Technology Sales.

So for a few years, I dabbled in real estate. What I realized is that I’m not passionate about real estate, and I am passionate about Technology Sales.

That’s why I’m so excited about this opportunity, because it leverages my 15 years of industry experience, specifically selling infrastructure services to top Fortune 1000 companies.”

It takes 30 seconds exactly to say this answer, and look at all of things it accomplishes.

Before Bob even addresses the red flag, he mentions that he won back-to-back awards and earned $500,000 in sales. That’s pretty impressive. Next, he simply says (confidently) that he dabbled in real estate for a few years but wasn’t passionate about it.

Bob uses redirection and shifts the focus to the fact that he has several years of experience, specifically selling infrastructure services to top Fortune 1000 companies, which is exactly what the hiring manager interviewing candidates for that job is looking for.

So, the next time someone asks you about one of your red flags, remember to use the CCR Technique. Be concise, confident, and redirect the question to focus on your strengths.

Do you have a red flag on your resume? Would you like some help figuring out how to handle your red flag question? E-mail me and let me know at kent.lee@perfectresumeaz.com.

Perfect Resumé Career Blog

Resume Writing Tips: Why Resume Templates Don’t Work

July 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Resume Tips

If you’ve ever used a resume template, you know it can feel like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. But the number one reason why resume templates usually fail is different than you might think.

An online search for resume templates will yield dozens and dozens of companies selling these products, but buyer beware. Resume templates are easy to find but are difficult to use, and rarely, if ever, work.

If you’ve ever used a resume template you probably know what we’re talking about.  At times it can feel like you are trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

The biggest problem most people have with resume templates is the formatting. It can be difficult to get the text and spacing lined up how you want it.

But the number one reason why resume templates fail is that they lack relevant content.

Writing a resume is sort of like cooking a meal. You can have all the necessary cookware — pots, pans, and casserole dishes — but if you don’t have the right ingredients, you won’t be able to make a great meal.

The content of a resume works in much the same way. The most important ingredients for a resume are keywords. Keywords are what hiring managers are recruiters are looking for.

Keywords signify to hiring managers that you have the skills they’re looking for. But the majority of people who create their own resumes using templates simply don’t understand what the most important keywords are. It’s like cooking a meal without knowing what ingredients to use.

That’s the value experienced, professional resume writers bring to the table.

You won’t find this from national online resume writing companies offering resumes for under $100. Those companies don’t bring any real value to the table.  All they do is format the information you provide to them.

But if you use a high-level professional resume writing service like Perfect Resume, resume experts can share with you what keywords must be built into your resume.

A true resume expert will also be able to explain to you how to “optimize” your resume for keywords, which is a process of including important keywords in several different places on your resume.

Keyword optimization is done so that your resume will come up first in searches by recruiters and hiring managers who are looking for people with your skills.

Creating relevant content with keywords and using keyword optimization is how job-winning resumes are created.

Unfortunately, the majority of people who use resume writing templates don’t understand how to do this.

That’s why it’s important to use a professional resume writing company like Perfect Resume.

Perfect Resumé Career Blog

Resume Writing Tips: Why Your Resume Needs an Elevator Pitch

July 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Resume Tips

dallas-resume-service
Most people understand the importance of having an “elevator pitch” during a job search. It’s basically a 15 to 30-second spoken commercial that explains to people who you are, what you do, and what kind of position you’re seeking. Most people don’t understand, though, that an elevator pitch should also be part of your resume.

Prevent Resume Confusion

As a hiring manager and former recruiter, I am often confused by the resumes that land on my desk. In many cases, I have no idea why some candidates apply for certain jobs. I don’t understand how or why they would be a good fit for any of my open positions.

The problem is that 70 percent of resumes do not begin with an opening paragraph, which some refer to as an Executive Summary. Don’t let the name fool you — you don’t need to be an executive to include this crucial information.

Every resume should start with an opening paragraph. Why? Because it’s like starting the resume off with a 15-second elevator pitch that sells you.

Make it Easy for Hiring Managers and Recruiters

If you don’t begin your resume with an opening paragraph, you’re making the hiring managers, recruiters and potential employers reading it work too hard to figure out how and why you’re a good fit for their job.

An opening paragraph works just like an elevator pitch. It explains who you are, what you do, how many years of experience you have, what your strengths are, and, ultimately, why you are a great fit for the position. Best of all, the opening paragraph makes all of this information quick and easy for hiring managers and recruiters to find and understand.

You’ve Got 15 Seconds or Less – Make it Count!

You may have heard that you have 15 seconds or less to get a hiring manager’s attention with your resume. Leading the way with an opening paragraph prevents hiring managers and recruiters from having to scour your resume for the details they need to decide whether you’re a good match for the job. The most important information about you will stand front and center, conveniently located at the top of your resume.

4 to 5 Sentences is All it Takes

The opening paragraph, or elevator pitch, for your resume should be just four to five sentences. Ideally, it should be targeted and focused to clearly show how
you meet the requirements listed in the description for the job you are applying for.

Next time you’re applying for a job, put yourself ahead of the pack with a strong elevator pitch. Sell hiring managers on your best qualities from the get-go, and I can guarantee your resume will stand out from the rest.

Need help constructing a perfect elevator pitch for your resume? Let Perfect Resume help you! Perfect Resume is a leading resume-writing service located in the heart of Dallas. We have a proven track record of success writing resumes for all levels of employees, from administrative staff to C-Level executives.

Perfect Resumé Career Blog

How Tom Cruise Helped Me Write Thousands of Job-Winning Resumes

June 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog

The Tom Cruise metaphor is a story Perfect Resume CEO Kent Lee shares with clients almost every day to create job-winning resumes.

The Tom Cruise metaphor helps illustrate to clients that when it comes to choosing content for your resume, less can actually be more.

So here’s the Tom Cruise Metaphor.

Let’s say you walk into a bar, and you meet Tom Cruise. He says, “Hi, I’m Tom Cruise, the actor.” You say, “Really? What movies have you been in?”

Tom says, “I’ve been in ‘A Few Good Men,’ ‘Risky Business’ and ‘Jerry McGuire.’”

And if he stops talking right there, you’d probably be blown away, beacause all 3 of these movies are iconic, Academy Award-nominated films.

But if Tom kept talking and said, “I was also in ‘Rock of Ages,’ ‘The Last Samurai,’ ‘Far and Away,’ ‘Tropic Thunder,’ ‘Magnolia,’ ‘Knight and Day,’ ‘Valkyrie’ …” all of the sudden, he’s lost impact.

Because all of these movies aren’t that great and didn’t do nearly as well at the box office.

So how does this translate to your resume?  When selecting content to include on your resume, only choose your best stuff. Don’t waste time mentioning the small things that will only take up space and take the focus off of your best work.

At Perfect Resume, we use this technique when selecting accomplishments for resumes. We ask our clients to provide up to 6 accomplishments for each one of their jobs, but in most cases, only the top 2 or 3 end up on the resume. Why? Because we want the emphasis to be on the best.

If you have a resume that is filled with average content, your resume will get average results. You don’t have to list every single job detail you performed or every single accomplishment. If you do, you’ll sound less impressive, not more impressive.

Writing a resume can be tricky. Whether you are writing your resume on your own, or working with a professional resume writing company like Perfect Resume, remember to only focus on your best information,  just like “A Few Good Men,” “Jerry McGuire” and “Risky Business” are 3 of Tom Cruise’s best movies.

Perfect Resumé Career Blog

$10K in 10 Minutes: A Salary Negotiation Success Story

March 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog

Business meeting

If you are a management level employee and you don’t negotiate a job offer, you are potentially leaving thousands of dollars on the table. Unfortunately, many people simply don’t make a counteroffer when they receive a job offer. Why? Because they feel it’s awkward and uncomfortable. Or, they don’t want to risk losing the job.

We want to let you know that counteroffers are expected; especially for management-level employees. And, if you are willing to get past the nervousness of making a counteroffer, the reward can be thousands and thousands of dollars.

Yesterday we did a Salary Negotiation coaching session for a client. Based on the offer he received, we advised him to ask for an additional $10K and gave him specific strategies to do so.

He made 1 phone call last night; the conversation lasted 10 minutes. This morning he got a call that his offer had been increased by $10K!

When it comes to negotiating a job offer, the reward definitely outweighs the risk. The worst that can happen if done properly is that the employer can decline your request.

Would you like to get results like this? We can help. The key is understanding how much leverage you have, your market value, and having logic and data on your side. We also teach the importance of saying a few key phrases in a specific order so that you don’t appear unappreciative of the offer you’ve already received.

Did you know that our Salary Negotiation Coaching comes with a money back guarantee? Call us today for details at 214-431-5296.

Do you have a question about how to negotiate a job offer? Leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to follow up with you!

Perfect Resumé Career Blog

We Guarantee Interviews

February 27, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog

When you work with Perfect Resumé you can feel good knowing your success is guaranteed. If you don’t receive interviews using our resumé, we’ll happily rewrite it at no charge. With Perfect Resumé, we’ve completely eliminated the guesswork and risk of choosing a resumé service.

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