I have a few
important questions that require
thoughtful and honest answers:
ever look at your résumé and think: "I need
to find a way to make this seem better than
frustrated with sending out résumés and
never receiving a response?
afraid your résumé looks so much like every
other résumé that no one will ever call you?
the thought of working on your résumé enough
to make you feel insecure and unsure how
marketable you really are?
have a nagging feeling you should be doing
more to come across well on paper, but have
no idea how to do it?
answered "YES" to any of these questions, I have
news to share.
You are NOT
ALONE. In fact, all
of these questions are based on the insecurities
and humiliation I experienced in my own
rejection-filled job search. For over 18 months,
I experimented with countless variations of my
résumé hoping (and desperately praying) to find one that got
I wish I could say I cracked the code at that
point, but the truth is I didn't. I
created a version that sometimes worked well
enough to get me an interview, but it was still
pretty pathetic. It only worked
because it was
than the other résumés.
networking, persistence, and a relentless effort
to prepare more effectively for interviews, I
finally landed my dream job at Chicago-based
advertising giant, Leo Burnett. I was
absolutely thrilled, but couldn't escape the
nagging feeling I got hired
in spite of
it was insecurity on my part, but it was
something I desperately wanted to fix.
I got my
chance almost immediately as I found myself
facing a constant stream of people who wanted to
know how I got a company that reject me the year
before to hire me a year later. In almost every
case, résumés were foremost on their minds.
much I wanted that job and how hard I worked for
it, I made a commitment to help anyone who came
to me. For almost 10 years, I coached people but
didn't charge them. More than anything, I wanted
to see if it was possible to systematically and
strategically approach the résumé in a way that
would work with people across all industries and
and error, we tested different approaches and
gradually improved our results.
way, I was surprised to discover a not-so-obvious reason
recruiters, hiring managers, and headhunters
will consciously avoid calling you
that has nothing to do with your experience,
racial profiling, or any other form of
Believe it or
not, I'm talking about your name.
If you have a
name that seems difficult to pronounce and could
belong to a man or a woman, I can almost
guarantee you won't get phone calls.
employers are human and don't want to embarrass
themselves. The fix is incredibly easy:
Include a phonetic spelling of your name and a
"Ms." or "Mr." as appropriate. This simple step
will tell employers that you "get it" and will
leave a lasting, favorable impression.
the name alone will not get you an
interview--you have to back it up with rock
solid content. Which brings me to my next point.
until I had spent 15 years reviewing, rewriting,
and testing countless
résumé approaches that I had my
single, most revolutionary insight:
Bullet Points Don't Work!
Because bullets have a fundamental flaw. The
vast majority of bullets points--more than
99%--fail to answer the question: "So what?"
More often than
not, the bullet point is nothing more than a
From a hiring manager's perspective,
responsibilities are not helpful because knowing
what you were responsible for and knowing what
you actually accomplished are
completely different things.
But even listing the accomplishment is not
enough. There is a missing ingredient most
people never think to include that can make the
difference between getting an interview and
having your paperwork thrown in the recycle bin.
just a few of the ways my
thinking on résumés has evolved since the
publication of my book, Getting Your Foot in
the Door When You Don't Have a Leg to Stand On
(McGraw-Hill). I have always been upfront
about this because I am constantly learning and
applying new techniques. Knowing this, my
clients are always asking me to spell it
all out in one place so they have access to the
most current thinking.
That's why I
decided to create this eBook,
Bullets Don't Work! (and other surprising issues
that may keep your résumé from getting the
attention it deserves).