Speed Up My Job Search

Resume Feedback Please!

  • Hi there! I have just updated my resume, based on tips and advice gleamed from Paul’s Resume video tutorials. I think I have a good baseline resume, but please feel free to review and tell me where I am missing opportunities to make it even better!

    Thank you in advance for your feedback!

    Paul Cameron

    Thanks for sharing this resume, it is certainly fantastic looking resume for print. If you are handing people copies of a physical resume, this is very aesthetically pleasing.

    That being said, your resume has some challenges in a digital format. A quick background on how recruiters handle resumes: Corporate Recruiters will sometimes need to remove your contact info so there is no location bias. Agency Recruiters (like me) must remove your contact information and replace it with the recruiting firm information (so if the client is interested, they have to call us and they can’t call you directly).

    As a recruiter, if I opened your resume to do that, I would immediately cringe. It would take me a solid chunk of time to prepare this resume for a client, which means I might put it in a pile to do later, or tomorrow, and while I waited the client could call at any minute to tell me they have enough resumes and to put the job on hold.

    Here is an example of what I mean: this is what your summary looks like when I open your resume in Word.

    The entire document looks like this. Your resume is aesthetically great for paper, but we need to make it functional in a digital format as well. So here’s how to do that:

    Move the text box and your information into the body of the document. This will help the recruiters to banner your resume (i.e. replace your contact info with theirs), and it will help the ATS read your info properly. An ATS, or Applicant Tracking System, tries to grab all the data from your resume and makes database entries like First Name, Last Name, Phone Number, Email Address, City, State, etc…One of the biggest challenges you’re going to have with this resume is that all your personal and contact information is in a floating text box, and not on the document itself. Most ATS have trouble with text boxes and headers, so they won’t have any personal or contact information for you and it might even delete your resume thinking it’s blank!

    Your summary is good because I see a lot of the information in the summary is repeated in the skills section which is often a missed opportunity. I recommend using a job title in the summary, so instead of “marketing professional”, use “Director of Marketing” or whatever the job title you are applying for. If the company is looking for a Marketing and Events Director, start with “I’m a Marketing and Events Director with…” and show them you can fill their needs. In addition, make sure the bullets in your work experience match the position description of the job you’re applying for as well as your summary. All this reinforces that you have the skills they need and are doing the job they need done (and adds repeated keywords so your resume ranks higher in database searches).

    Your work experience is formatted well, but I recommend adding the location. Your contact information indicates you’re local to Chicago, but maybe these positions were in the Ozarks and you just moved here? Don’t leave it up to the person looking at your resume to guess. If you’re local, show off the fact that you’re local, or at least, show that your experience is national.

    I see you’re using Calibri, which is a font I recommend as it is very ATS compatible but make sure the font size is at least 11 points. It may not be as pretty that way, but we’re aiming for functional. I’m not sure why Word parsed your PDF resume with tabs between chunks of words but it could have something to do with the tables in the document. Tables give you great control over the aesthetics, but all the formatting, the source code you don’t see behind the scenes, causes a lot of issues when using different programs. I highly recommend opening the resume in Word, fixing that, and resaving it as a PDF. Keep the old version because it’s great for printing, and then have a separate digital copy. For the digital copy, I recommend removing the repeated header information. In Word, there is an option on the Layout tab, under Page Layout, with a check the box that says, “different first page”. Any recruiter that works with your resume will only have to remove the header once.

    The main goal behind these changes is to make your resume compatible with the vast majority of ATS, make it easier for a recruiter to work with your information, and make your information accessible and compatible when it is viewed in different programs. To keep the aesthetics, it’s safe to embolden, italicize, and underline your text, and use different font sizes as long as you stay above 11 points.

    Hi and thanks for this feedback. I’ll get on those revisions and formatting issues and submit a new resume for feedback.

    Paul Cameron

    I just uploaded your resume into the two Applicant Tracking Systems and on the first one, which is pretty sophisticated and can parse well, couldn’t parse your title. Having the resume as a PDF is fine, most ATS can read those now, but it listed your current title as “Lead Generation”. Having the informational box of information for your name and info under the image file of your name is great because the ATS definitely wouldn’t read the image, however you might want to consider adding in an extra line to include your Title so the ATS can read it properly. I say “might” because the 2nd ATS, which typically is less sophisticated that my first one, that one parsed your title and everything correctly. So I’m not sure how helpful that is for me to tell you all that, but that’s what happened. The most important take-away is that your contact information parsed perfectly in both systems.

    I do have a couple other quick suggestions though. In your Summary Statement you list “20+ years experience”, which is great, but you need and apostrophe after the S in years. Also under your education you list a “Masters Degree” and “Bachelors Degree”, but you need apostrophes there too for “Master’s Degree” and “Bachelor’s Degree”.

    Otherwise everything scans well. Let me know if you have any questions about any of this. Thanks!

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