Examples Of Good Resumes That Get Jobs

Climb The Corporate Ladder

Climbing The Corporate Ladder

With cashed up corporate balance sheets and strong earnings growth, employment levels continue to improve across America in 2014. The latest 2014 unemployment rate has declined to 6.1% as of 8/12/2014. Meanwhile, the number of long-term unemployed fell 300,000, the sharpest drop in 2½ years, to 3.5 million.

It’s in the first half where ideally all hiring shall be done because: 1) The best available people are still available. There is a bias against people looking in the 3rd and 4th quarter because rightly or wrongly, companies will be wondering what’s wrong with you for not having found something earlier; 2) Companies need to spend their budgets while they are still available. There’s no time like the present; 3) Hiring an employee at the start of the year gets the most out of the employee, especially if there is a guaranteed compensation package.

If you find yourself looking for a job in the second half of the year, it’s important to hustle a little more or prepare for activity to pick up in the spring. Don’t give up home. Use this time to plan more thoroughly.

I’ve seen over 7,000 resumes in my career and hopefully this article and subsequent articles linked within can help you out. An excellent resume should be standard.

THE IMPORTANCE OF AN UPDATED RESUME

Just the other week, I had breakfast with an old boss of mine who moved on to do different things last year.  What I thought was a friendly meet up turned out to be a soft sell on why I should join his firm. “We should talk more next week Sam,” he concluded.  “I think you’ll be amazed at what we’re doing here.” I proceeded to discuss my meeting with another old colleague of mine who then said, “Sam, actually we also have a 5 year runway to build something great. You should send me your resume.

No problem“, I said. Truth be told, my resume was one year old and needed some updating. But, that’s OK, given the changes were quite minor as I’ve been with the same firm for awhile now.

It never hurts to keep employment dialogues open, even if you don’t currently plan on leaving your company.  It’s a courtesy to them, and you never know when someone wants to pay you big bucks for a guaranteed length of time to join their organization!  It’s generally I who evaluate resumes, so it was kind of exciting to update my own to send to someone else.

IMPORTANT RESUME TIPS TO KNOW

* The 7 Seconds Rule. The average amount of time a reviewer spends on your resume is 7 seconds and that’s it!  It’s partly because we have so many resumes to look at, and it’s partly because we’re lazy. Make sure the top half of your resume pops and everything is clear.

* One Page Resume Or Bust. If you have a resume longer than one page, you just quadrupled your chances of having your resume crumpled and tossed in the bin. More is much less in this situation. Having a one page resume shows that you are concise, clear, and to the point. Again, we only spend roughly 7 seconds on your resume, so don’t bore us with irrelevant details.  It’s all about what you’ve done lately, your education, and an interesting fact about you.  Anything more and we’ll ask you during the interview.

* Don’t Over Think Design. Unless you are a graphic designer looking for a job, there’s no need to over think the design of your one-pager.  Contact info, latest two or three jobs with responsibilities, education, and hobbies done. Segment the page out in titles, use bullet points if you will, and make that one page as simple to read as possible. We really don’t care about what type of font you are using, whether the paper has a thicker weave, and all the nitty gritty details of your latest project.  Like blogging, content is king!

* Don’t Hide Obvious Things. If you’ve never had a real job before or are still within 5 years out of undergrad, you better not hide your GPA. Hiding your bad GPA is a 90% guarantee of getting your resume tossed because it shows that you think reviewers are stupid enough to not realize your grades are missing. We’ll start thinking the worst, so don’t hide your GPA!  Don’t hide any of your contact details either. That will surely piss off your reviewer if she wants to contact you.

* A Good Resume Is Standard, Nothing Special. A good or great resume doesn’t make the person. You and your interview make the person. A good resume should be standard, which means it’s all the important not to have a bad resume. A bad resume obliterates your chances, and a good resume is the absolute minimum. There is no one golden resume format.  It just has to be easy on the eyes. From the examples below, you’ll see that all are acceptable resumes.

* Customize Your Resume As Much As Possible. Don’t use a generic resume for all your applications. It’s important to highlight specific skills, attributes, and experiences you have that would be an asset to your new employer.

* Do The Not So Obvious. If you’ve sent out hundreds of resumes already, and aren’t getting any responses, do something different. Put a picture of yourself up on the top right hand corner. Change your resume color to a green back ground. Make your objective statement a prediction on who will win the Super Bowl and why?  Then parlay that with a follow up interview if your prediction holds true. If you aren’t getting any call backs, you have nothing to lose. I guarantee you that if you do any one of the following things above, you will stand out and get the recruiter’s attention.

EXAMPLES OF GOOD RESUMES THAT GET JOBS

I like how Adam states right up front his objectives and qualifications.  His resume is easy to read.  Unfortunately, there is no GPA, and his work experience isn’t much to write home about, depending on what job he’s looking for.  If he’s looking to apply as a restaurant manager, he looks like a perfect candidate.  Resume Rating: 8/10.

Edgar has a classically formatted resume which I like.  He must be just graduating from business school because he over emphasizes his education, and under emphasizes what makes Edgar the man.  We already know Edgar went to Darden b-school if I’m reading his resume, so putting his education at the very top is wasting valuable real estate.  Also, I know nothing about Edgar as a person, which doesn’t create any affinity.  Resume Rating: 7/10.
Pamela’s resume has almost everything I want to see. I like how she highlights a “Profile” portion up top, lists her experience, and then her education and activities.  I would love to know more about what makes Pamela tick.  Also, I would consider removing her earliest work experience and expand a little more on her interests. Resume Rating: 8.5/10.

CONCLUSION – A GOOD RESUME IS STANDARD!

A good resume is standard, which also means good resumes are everywhere.  If you have a badly formatted resume with glaring holes, your job seeking life is over. You might as well become an entrepreneur or lifestyle design blogger instead, because nobody will be willing to give you a chance since you can’t even present yourself properly on one sheet of paper. Beyond the basics of resume writing, it’s the content which really helps get you an interview and that job.

The economy is picking up and the power is now slowly shifting towards the employee. Good luck!

Recommendations For Job Seekers And Wealth Builders:

* If you’re looking to change jobs: It’s important to never quit a job, but try and negotiate a severance package instead. If you quit, you don’t get COBRA healthcare, you don’t get a severance, you won’t get deferred compensation, and you definitely will not get unemployment benefits. I managed to negotiate a severance package worth six years of living expenses (3 years of salary) after working at my firm for 11 years. I now live stress-free in retirement and enjoy working on my entrepreneurial endeavors. If you are going to quit anyway, you might as well engineer your layoff and see if you can walk away with a nice chunk of change. My book is 100 pages long and pack with information to empower the employee to walk a way with potentially a small fortune.

* Manage your finances in one place: The best way to build wealth is to get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 28 different accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to manage my finances. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing, how my net worth is progressing, and where I’m spending my money. The best feature is the 401K Fee Analyzer which is saving me more than $1,000 a year in portfolio fees I had no idea I was paying. There is no better tool online I’ve found that has helped me grow my finances. The sign up process takes less than a minute and it’s free.

Updated: 8/15/2014

Best,

Sam

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. Bob says

    Just a quick comment. I like almost all your points. The one thing I would caution is putting a picture on your resume. I helped with recruiting for a top 25 (revenues) company who 100% throws out any resume that has a picture and states in their postings to NOT include a picture for discrimination purposes.

    While you may be correct in stating that you have nothing to lose if you have sent out 100s of resumes, I would not ever advise someone to put a picture on their resume.

  2. Kev says

    Wow this is an interesting conversation especially about GPAs on resumes. I am a recent architecture graduate and have not put my GPA on my resume (3.4). It may be a little less relevant in my field because you need to have a portfolio to show your actual school work when applying for job opportunities. The other rule I always heard was to put your GPA on your resume only if it is 3.5 or higher. As of now I have put any awards and honors under my education field.

  3. Monica says

    This makes sense, more or less, but what would you expect of a resume for a year 9 high school student who has never worked before?

    • says

      Tough one Monica. Are you saying it has taken 9 years to complete high school? Or are you saying it’s been 9 years after high school? If the latter, then emphasize work experience over the past 9 years, and keep your GPA if it is above 3.0. If it is really bad, then leave it off.

      • Monica says

        When I say a year 9 high school student I mean the year level in high school, so basically a fourteen onto fifteen year old full-time student.

        • Say says

          Monica, all most employers (if they hire someone under 16 years of age) will just want to know you can put a resume together. Include your current school and GPA in education, list some special projects or sports that you’ve done. Anything will do, you can be creative as I don’t think anyone would expect much real job experience. Just follow a format, use professional language and try your best :D

  4. says

    Really liked your posts and wanted to pick up on just one thing. In almost all the resume examples that you have posted, the work experience is generally responsibility or activity based rather that output or achievement orientated. My simple point really is that employers are interested in what you can deliver for their organisation and not so much in what you did. If there is room, you can expand on what you did or how you did it to highlight skills or attributes.

    In the UK (and to an extent in Europe), we are now seeing heat map results showing that recruiters and employers are looking at CVs for less than 15 seconds before making that decision to shortlist or not. Having more information showing what you have delivered for employers in the past definitely gets you through that first sift more often than activity or responsibility focused CVs

  5. barbara morris says

    Dear Sirs
    I am a 52 year old woman in college for her bachelors degree in psychology. My employment history has been spotty and mostly factory work. I am worried about submitting my resume and terribly confused about how to go about creating a new one. Can you give me insight on what is essential to put on a resume for a person with this type of employment history. It is tough going to get into the human services field. I received an associates in 2008 and because it has not panned out in employment for that area. I am going back for more education.

  6. Dave says

    The one item I would say on your tips is the part regarding including a photo of themselves on a resume. As an HR professional, I cannot accept any resume with a photo due to the fact that it could be a discriminating factor and is against EO policy. It is important for them to tailor their resume to the specific skill sets when applying for a specific position and as a recruiter I have heard fro others anywhere form 7 to 15 seconds max. That is primarily dependent on what the hiring manager asks for us to find in key words and years of experience that sometimes are not that easy to find. Overall good article to provide a basic start. People need to remember that every company and every HR professional has an opinion and it is up to the individual to take the advice but, not treat it as gospel.

  7. Edward says

    The only thing anyone seems to agree on is that people that review resumes are arrogant and rude. All these articles online speak as if reviewing a resume makes you into some kind of king and should anyone dare to not precisily meet your style, they are stupid or offensive. Allow me to say to all of you, you are not special, you are not important, get over yourself.

  8. Bill says

    I’ve worked at engineering firms that will filter GPAs that are too high, as these people are seen as mindless robots who may be good at following instruction but lack creativity and make poor team players.

    Larger companies like Google that have previously filtered and tracked GPA scores have since used their ‘big data’ to discover no relationship between college GPA and work performance for anything other then new college grads (and even then the relationship is extremely small).

    In any case, my personal experience is that a company that filters GPA scores is most likely not going to be a good place to work. On the other side of the table (resume reviewing), I’ve heard plenty of ego filled rants (I’m funkin awesome because I got a 4.0 OR I’m funking awesome because I dropped out altogether, too busy actually building stuff and making money OR I’m funking awesome because blah blah blah) to describe why candidate X shouldn’t be hired because his GPA is too high or too low, but rarely have heard complaints about a missing GPA.

    The safer bet, therefore, is to leave it off unless you are right out of school.

    • says

      Never heard of a firm that filters GPAs that are too high. Doesn’t make sense if you have a million 4.0 applicants. Are you guys saying that all of them are robots?

      There are plenty of social, multi-talented 4.0 students. This is how elite firms retain their elite status, not by shunning out the best.

      Don’t hide your GPA.

  9. Chris D. says

    Financial Samurai,

    Basically to make a long story short, I need to make a resume’.. But unfortunately, I’m 23 & hadn’t gone to college yet cause I’m in a band & just partied since graduating High School.

    So I have no recent education.

    I’ve had like 9 jobs since I was 16, But I’ve gotten fired from every single one for being late/calling out due to drug addiction/legal issues.

    Fortunately, I’ve been clean for 7 months, but It’s hard to find work.
    I’m pretty positive that I’m automatically skipped over just because of so many job changes & really no good references.

    What is the best way I can do this, without completely lying about my past?

    What do you suggest?

  10. Enzo says

    Hi! I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering. Well basically, my degree gives me the privilege to apply to different areas of expertise. Some are: telecommunications, control systems (PLC programming), semiconductor, biomedical electronics, network systems, and even programming. My only work experience was in a telecommunications company (internship). So can I include it in my resume as my work experience even if I’m applying to different areas of expertise?

  11. KIRTI says

    Hi! I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering. I am currently working in telecommunications company and have less than a year experience. Can you please help me out by telling how can I make my resume more effective with this much experience only.And I have expertise in some skills which may not be helpful in the same sector ,so can I include it in my resume while searching out for a new job in the same or any other sector?

    • says

      Hard to say Kirti without seeing your resume. My recommendation for you is to stay at the job for at least one year, preferably two, to build experience and not be a job hobber so early on.

  12. Michael says

    I hired environmental professionals for a mid-sized environmental and engineering consulting firm for 6 years. I disagree with your “one-page” resume rule. I agree that the resume should not be overly-wordy, but I am getting paid to find the right person and therefore want to know as much as I can about a person before I decide to interview them without having to do the legwork myself. If you are hiring and cannot wade through more than one page of a resume without getting bored or tired, I would say you are not doing your job. I hire professionals who have varied and often accomplished histories – I want to know that. It may be different if you are hiring waiters or cashiers.

    • says

      You probably don’t have a flood of resumes as a mid-sized environmental and engineering consulting firm.

      If you are at a more high demand job like McKinsey, TPG, Goldman, etc, employers get inundated.

      If you’ve got 15+ years experience, a two-page resume is less egregious, and in fact, probably preferred.

  13. Amanda Martinez says

    You have a lot of good examples for people that have a lot of work experience already, but what would you recommend for a person fresh out of high school with no professional job experience yet?

  14. says

    Hi,

    I rencently completed my university transfer program in arts and social sciences at Fraser International College of Simon Fraser University with a GPA of 2.6. I have worked for Liberty Security/VoxCom as a sales agent and for Vancity HD and Cable installation- as an installer. I was working while I was still in college, I have done a few volunteering jobs withing my university, and played rugby for over 10years- 4years for my uni. Am supposed to continue university as an economist. In between my college study I developed interest in graphic designing while studying a graphic course. Which gave me great computer skills in most adobe programs, a creative mind, and great social networking skills. I took a break before continuing Uni n travelled back to Zambia Africa- through a connection, I chanced a data entry/sim registration job with airtel, then I got a better offer to do optic fibre cable (under-ground laying), as a social manager- for Zamtel, through an ICT consultant company, Mutech Zambia LTD (contractors & Consultants). N through the same company Mutech, I got appointed as Head of HR. To manage Optic Fibre aerial Deployment for C~Liquids Telecom. Am only 23 years old and my fear now is, if I lose this job with only a college certificate of a 2.6 GPA. While studying and wanting to work, will my education experience balance with the lucky work experience I have acquired on my resume till prensent? and what are the chances of me getting another good managerial job- indicated that am still meant to continue uni to attain my Bachelors Degree? Am I just been too scared or should I just focus on graduating first? This is a long comment but your reponse will be greatly appreciated.

  15. Jamila says

    Hello,I just stumbled upon this page searching for tips on resume writing. I LIKE IT!!I have NEVER left a comment in any type of forum or blog,but something is telling me to step out on faith ,that you may see this and ask, although there ain’t any gaps understand my employment history,I have 4 years if workimg at different staffing companies as a laborer first months only at a time. HOW do I list this without looking like a job Hopper? I have gained my best skills while employed as a temp.

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