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Professional Association of Resumé Writers & Career Coaches

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.

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.


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