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WASHINGTON — John Self spoke to the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians on Tuesday afternoon.  His presentation was entitled Elevating Your Career: Strategies for Success.  

As he is flying back to Dallas, we searched past blogs that would add to this Washington speech.  We selected one from 2014 that seemed to fit the bill.

A new post will appear on Friday.

I write a lot about resume preparation because it is a vital part of a candidate’s professional brand and is critical to the job search process, also because many of the resumes we see as recruiters are so terribly mediocre.  I am not alone.  When senior search consultants assemble, the state of the resume is a frequent subject of conversation.   There is general agreement — most resumes are the same old same old, just a different name, different town.

resumeYou can break down poor resumes into two categories:  content inadequacies and style/design mistakes.

Here is a list, in no particular order, of those mistakes and content deficiencies.

  1. Incomplete contact information in the “stack” — name, address, telephone numbers, personal email address and LinkedIn profile URL is the standard.
  2. The “stack” is placed in a header.  When the resume is opened for the first time, the name is “grayed out” — there is no crisp initial impression of the candidate’s name.
  3. There is no name and page number on subsequent pages.
  4. Resume writers, or the candidate’s themselves, use incredibly small fonts so they can cram 30 years of professional life on two pages. I do not know who came up with the two-page rule, but they are sadly misguided.  The length of the resume should be proportional to the number of years of experience and relevant quantifiable accomplishments.
  5. Use dot points to emphasize scope of responsibility, not quantifiable accomplishments.  The latter is more important.
  6. Color and boxes with career highlights on the front page will make the resume more attractive for recruiters. No it won’t.  We want an easy-to-read format, not something approaching the front page of the National Enquirer
  7. Use of the functional resumes versus a chronological resume.  Functional resumes are typically used by executives with a series of short tenures or some other issue they wish to de-emphasize.
  8. Use of a curriculum vitae as a resume — a blunder from physicians seeking to move from clinical practice to executive leadership. Unless it is an academic or related position, most recruiters will request a chronological resume.
  9. Listing all jobs held with the same company as separate entries.  Unless you want to be seen as a job hopper it is better to use the  current name of the corporate or health system entity and then indent each title, a summary scope of responsibility and dot points with the quantifiable achievements.
  10. Eliminating short tenure positions.  If the recruiter is someone more than a resume checker you are going to be asked, so you might as well list it.

ask the recruiter


If you have career management questions, from your resume to interviewing, let us know and we will respond.  Just email John  AskTheRecruiter@JohnGSelf.Com