{ 25 comments… read them below }

  1. Belle-Lettrist*

    Alison and Suzanne, job well done!

    I really enjoyed the scroll aspect of the resume critique/improvement. Also, the idea that two professionals were able to agree on how to build on a candidate’s existing resume is reassuring to see, particularly given how much resume advice varies it’s great to see that some basic points remain the same.

    Still, I have several questions regarding the newly improved product. The queries are as follows:

    1. Was this resume intentionally one page even though the woman has graduated from a big 10 school several years ago?

    2. Why did we not see sections on professional development, affiliations, volunteer work, etc.? I was told that these particular sections would distinguish my resume from my others. Is that inaccurate?

    3. While you deftly explained how ineffective objective statements are, no real alternative to one was listed. What about a professional profile with several bullet points describing skills and keywords from the job description?

    4. In regards to the bullets on the resume, I’m curious as to how long each should be; and if each should start with a strong, active verb. The fifth bullet under HR Supervisor position states “Benefits administration and management,” with no verb or further explanation. Shouldn’t that statement have gone somewhere else?

    5. The woman’s gmail account was listed as part of her resume header, but no other multi-media info was on the document. I find this perplexing given how integrated LinkedIn and other social media is in professional life now. Wouldn’t an HR professional who deals with people– specifically recruiting and hiring– at least have a solid LinkedIn profile?

    6. No comments were made on options for tailoring this resume to suit different jobs in the same field. Isn’t making appropriate changes to each resume and cover letter something that Evil HR Lady and Ask a Manager encourage all applicants to do?

    Thank you so much for taking time to modify someone’s resume, allowing your readers access to your work and for taking time to read this lengthy comment.

    Even though I posted several questions, I really do appreciate the effort both ladies put into their sites and this project.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author


      We didn’t do a comprehensive critique, simply because it wasn’t a lengthy article — really just hit the highlights!

      But to answer a few of the questions you asked: I do think it’s good to have the additional sections you mention if there’s worthy stuff to put in them; no need to stress over them if there isn’t much to say there though. I’m a big fan of a profile section as long as it stays away from subjective stuff like “great work ethic.” And personally, I don’t care if an applicant lists a LinkedIn profile and other social media stuff or not. (Although if they list them, they better be good!)

  2. Belle-Lettrist*

    Alison, thanks for the quick and kind response.

    I understand about just hitting a few spots for a short article. Please know that it isn’t my intention to cast aspersions on anyone’s resume review abilities.

    As someone who has consulted many licensed and unlicensed resume reviewers and career coaches, I’ve just heard a lot of terms, jargon and structures highly recommended (demanded in some cases). In fact, one person told me explicitly not to include any multi-media information, while another requires you to put your LinkedIn address as part of the standard resume header. So much conflicting advice!!

    At any rate, thanks again for partnering with Suzanne at Evil HR Lady for the experiment, and also for addressing some of my questions.

  3. Bob G.*

    I particularly enjoy objective statements, especially when they have nothing to do with the job the resume is in response to. It’s a great way to quickly move along to the next resume.

    Seriously though it is shocking how many people send a resume with an objective statement like “…looking to obtain a job in sales” when you had a job for a service tech for example. If you insist on having an objective at least make sure it is remotely close to the job you are applying for.

  4. Erica B*

    ugh.. It appears as though after sitting in my current job for 7 years, I should revamp my resumé just to keep it up to date, and especially so seeing as how it is possible the funding for my job may end at the end of the fiscal year..

  5. Belle-Lettrist*

    Erica B., my sympathies go out to you.

    Please do look out for your own professional future and start updating your resume, cover letter format and network of folks now. Otherwise, you may end up blindsided if/when the layoff happens, which could be around Christmas in your case.

    Not to be a Debbie Downer about the situation, but it’s better to prepare for the worst rather than find yourself overwhelmed by a potential layoff and unstable finances.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed that funding remains for your position, and that you are able to keep the position.

    1. Erica B*

      I’m not too worried about it, but thanks :) We will find out in November-ish if our funding will go beyond July 2012. I didn’t realize how out of the loop I’ve been since I’ve had this job because I haven’t had to look, thus I haven’t kept up with trends all that much. If my job ends up ending I plan on taking the opportunity to take some classes- I’d like to do something different- and it would be a good time to switch things up.

  6. Jennifer*

    Here’s what’s frustrating to me: How can you show accomplishments if you work in an environment/with a dynamic that does not encourage that or where there are no such opportunities or you just don’t have the pull to “make or save the company money” or “take charge of a project and make it shine?” (i.e., clerical workers, admins, etc.) This has been a big sticking point for me with my own resume, and I think this is why I’m not getting responses.

    My accomplishments–my impressive ones–have all taken place OUTSIDE of the work environment, through the company (a start up) that I own. I’m an events photographer, and artist, and a writer. I helped my municipality write/create a pictorial history of our town. I’m currently editing a friend’s poetry book. These are not the types of things things I get to do at work.

    Some people have advised me to try a functional resume. Do hiring managers consider those valid?

    Thanks for any advice you may have.

      1. Jennifer*

        Thanks. This is really helpful–that 2nd link in particular.

        I’ll continue to think about my answer. (I don’t exactly work in an environment that offers a lot of positive feedback.)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          A fun game to play with yourself in your own head: Pretend you are your own boss, and very generous with the praise. What would you be saying to yourself?

          1. Jennifer*

            Thanks! Once I get this book project off my plate, I think I’ll write through this.

            I really appreciate your perspective!

        2. Erica B*

          Heh… It sounds like we work in a similar environment. I’ve been at my job for almost 7.5 yrs and have never had a performance review. The only feedback I get is when I do something wrong. Same for my co worker. If we get no complaints then we all figure we are doing okay.

          1. Jennifer*

            My fingers are crossed for both of us. I have been looking for another job for about 4 years!

  7. kae*

    this was a great critique. I’m in the middle of redoing my resume. I notice that education had grad date listed, is that okay? one hr person has told me when I had my date listed in the same way as this person that it confuses the reader(is that when i started, last time I attended, etc). More recently the person helping me with my resume that also works in the hiring field told me to discard my graduation date because it tells my age to prospective employers. What do you think. I honestly feel both of the people that commented about my graduation date were off base. However, since I am awesome at landing low paying jobs I’ll take all the help I can get.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If you put a date, it’s generally assumed it’s the date you graduated (assuming that you have a degree listed). However, you don’t have to put the date; it’s not uncommon for people to leave it off, especially older people who don’t want to deal with age discrimination.

      1. kae*

        thanks for the quick reply. The person helping me is older so maybe that’s why they think dates age you. My thinking goes to non traditional students so really there isn’t a way to assume a persons age. Anyway back to playing catch up with your blog. All the advice I’ve missed the past few months while pretending to be content with essentially minimum wage.

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