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. Again, do this if you haven’t been getting any love at all, especially if your more attractive than average. LinkedIn profiles with picture profiles get clicked on twice more often than those profiles that don’t have pictures. 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. 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.

Acting Resume Example

Lauren’s resume is unique because it is a classic example of an actor’s resume. The resume showcases her range as an actress in terms of tours, plays, commercials, and training. Lauren is obviously an attractive woman who has used a professionally shot picture in the top left hand corner to attract the casting director’s attention. Lauren’s phone is probably ringing off the hook. Resume rating: 9/10

Bad Resume Example

James’ resume is poorly constructed because it looks like there’s a huge four year gap between when he graduated in 2001 and his current job as an accountant. You have to look closely to see that he was an Accounting Intern from 2001-2005, which as an awfully long time. James should BOLD “Accounting Intern, 2001-2005″ and “Accountant, 2006 to Present” to make the resume more clear. James’ resume is severely lacking in personality and does nothing to differentiate itself from other resumes. Resume rating: 6/10

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 work a dead end job 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. If you ever plan to spend money hiring someone to help you with your resume and interview process, make sure you question the person’s background. You don’t want to hire some guy who took 12 years to graduate from McNeese State and who has never been an executive coaching you on your future. Best of luck to you all and never stop trying!

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.

* Check Your Credit Score: Take a moment to check your free TransUnion credit score through GoFreeCredit.com, a company I trust. 30% of credit reports have errors, which could put a serious hamper on your refinancing or new loan borrowing abilities. I had a $8 late payment I didn’t even know I owed crush my score by 100 points come up during my last refinance! Companies are doing credit checks more an more often now before hiring a candidate. You should know your credit score and make sure everything is OK before applying. This way, you can work to resolve issues and improve your credit score. Most companies won’t tell you why they reject someone. Just a generic “thanks but sorry.” There are plenty of times where a bad credit score results in a non-hire.

* 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: 12/1/2014

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. Money Beagle says

    I’ve heard that the one page rule is hard and fast when you’re out of college or don’t have enough professional experience, but after you’ve established yourself in the industry, that it’s OK to expand this into a maximum two page resume. If I’m a hiring manager looking to fill a senior level position, then I want to know up front who has what it takes to fill the job. Looking at Adam’s resume, I don’t think I’d get the amount of information needed to know that he might be a fit.

      • Resume Pointers By Jed says

        Financial Samurai,

        As a young 20-something year old who has never hired anybody, I respectfully disagree with every almost every point you made. Please let me explain.

        The standard time a recruiter will look at a resume is 15 seconds. That is the rule. However, some people may not be a thorough and spend only 7 seconds, as you have stated. Other than that you are spot on with this point.

        The one page resume is most certainly an industry preference. For any position above entry level a two page resume is standard and expected. This however, is no excuse for filler information.

        Standard design should be in reference to background and font colors, fonts, and anything other than text. The layout however, should never be cookie-cutter like you have described. I do not think that the information is wrong as much as I don’t want to see the exact same resume layo

        • h-bomb says

          Oh, since you’re a young 20 something year old, you know everything. You disagree with every almost every point. I hope you don’t use that grammar on your resume. Never hired anyone either huh? Geez, internet know-it-all’d.

        • Eric says

          I hear what you’re saying. I don’t understand the weird preferences that recruiters look for either so I disagree also from that perspective. But what he is saying is probably right. Will I ever understand why the plain and lame layouts stand out? No. Will I understand why the people that don’t know shit get hired but are good talkers over a person that could probably drastically increase companies worth? NO

          But the recruiters are hiring, not you…

  2. says

    Maybe you might have been talking mostly about the financial industry, but it seems to me that putting a GPA on a resume 5 years out of school looks a little petty. Shouldn’t you have something more impressive to put in its place by then?

    • says

      What do you have to hide? A GPA takes a total of 3 or 4 spaces in a line.

      The only people I’ve encountered who think not putting their GPA on their resume, which accounted for 4-5 years of people’s lives are people with bad GPAs. Hence, if you had a good score, why get lumped in with those who hide?

      Many firms have strict GPA cutoffs too ie 3.7/4.0 for management consulting. It’s important.

      • says

        I guess that goes both ways. At 26 years old, what do you have to hide in your previous jobs that you though a GPA to be that important?

        I’m sure it is important for management consulting, etc. I guess this might be a “good resumes for top-1% earning fields” instead of examples of good resumes that get jobs.

        • says

          JT, for some reason, I continue to have a very difficult time understanding you.

          You write, “At 26 years old, what do you have to hide in your previous jobs that you though a GPA to be that important?”

          Who is 26 years old? What is “you though a GPA to be that important”? I don’t understand.

          Are you saying putting a GPA and writing what you did in your job is mutually exclusive and can’t be done?

          Please share with me your experience in hiring people and what you look for. And also, what is your GPA so I have a better sense of where you come from, and whether my previous encounters holds true.

          Thx and sorry I can’t understand you.

        • says

          The reply doesn’t load correctly once a thread gets this long. I’m replying to myself in order to continue it.

          I used the age of 26 because you made mention to the idea that someone should mention their GPA all the way up to 5 years of experience or more. If we assume someone graduates at 22, then 26 would be four years out of school. The age doesn’t much matter. Ignore this point, since it seemed to have only complicated the discussion.

          “Though a GPA to be that important…” That was a typo, should have been “thought.” I am not saying that it is mutually exclusive, but just as many choose to layer over old experience/jobs with newer/likely more relevant experience, there has to be a point at which your college GPA becomes quite petty. (Another commenter below also said they had not seen a GPA on a resume in a long time.)

          I’ve hired people for my own business before I was legally able to work for someone else. These positions included anything from business development down to very basic office work, record keeping, etc. This business won me distinction at the national level from the largest entrepreneurial scholarship in the US.

          My main point is that while it may be standard to throw a GPA around in the financial sector, I don’t think it’s as standard as you may think elsewhere. In fact, it starts to seem rather trivial, almost as if someone were begging to mention it because their other history wasn’t up to par.

          My GPA sits at a rough 3.2 with still two years to go, and a 3.9 in classes related to my major. I expect that it will only rise in the future as I continue to break into the classes that “matter.” I won’t let you draw conclusions from what you’ve encountered and what you’ve seen, and frankly, I think you’ve lost connection with “average” the second you started calling your office a “firm.”

          I’ll repeat: this might be a “good examples for jobs/careers in the top-1%” instead of examples of good resumes that get jobs. There’s a big difference between those two. Top 1% is one thing, top XX% is another. I’m sure the firm at which you work needs to see top 5 schools and 4.0 GPAs, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the world cares all that much.

          • says

            There’s nothing wrong with being average. You will find that most manager’s, whatever firm they work at want to find the best people for the job not just the average people.

            Who says anything about the finance industry being the only industry with high expectations? Google has a cut off of 3.7/4.0, Management Consulting, Private Equity, getting into Med School, or Law Schoo all have at least 3.5/4.0 cutoffs.

            I understand your position now with a 3.2 GPA. It’s up to you whether you want to bring it up or not. That’s the beauty of the world. We have the power to do what we want. Nobody is more special or less special. If you are happy with your grades and the business or career it brings you, that’s all that matters.

      • Hanna says

        I find this debate rather interesting. I guess it depends a lot on the country – in Finland putting a GPA in a resume would seem very ridiculous, unless you are applying for a doctorate position someone. It’s just not done. I even read somewhere that certain firms avoid taking recent graduates and students looking for internshio places if they have a too good GPA, since that usually tells the recruiters they are more theoretical than practical workers. Unfortunately I can’t remember which field was in question.

        Anyhow, thank you for the tips! I’m making my first english resume and I’m finding it surprisingly different from the one I’m used to making, so I’m learning a lot!

    • Nancy says

      I used to call people petty and arrogant for putting their GPAs on their resume. I’d fight the system and say it wasn’t necessary. But, then I came to my senses and realized I was just making excuses for my mediocre GPA of 3.3 when I was having a tough time getting interviews.

      I should have studied harder in college and got it closer to a 4.0. Then, I think I would have got more chances. There’s nobody to blame but myself. I worked a couple jobs, and then I went back to grad school.

      It’s easier studying hard and getting good grades than fighting the system JT.

      • says

        Agreed on “it’s easier studying hard and getting good grades than fighting the system,” though I’ve only recently learned that lesson.

        My point was that there seems to be a level of careers/jobs/employers that would require/want to see a GPA, but below that level the GPA starts looking petty. Would you put a GPA for a mid-level management position in ordinary company A? How about at ABC small business?

        Sam’s examples of Google, PE/Finance firms, management consulting and law/med schools are probably loftier corporate goals than 99% of college graduates’ expectations. I’m not sure it’s wise to use these high-end employers as examples for everyone. Maybe that’s just me.

        According to Twitter, another blog post is forthcoming. :o

        • Nancy says

          Absolutely yes to your questions of putting your GPA on. You should have nothing to hide.

          If you’re looking for average, this is probably the wrong place to be. I’m surprised as a college Sophomore, you are telling Sam he’s wrong. It’s pretty disrespectful, am I’m shocked he has bothered to respond to you at all.

          Maybe it’s a generational thing where people your age think they know it all. Well guess what? You don’t, and if you go with that attitude when you try to find a job, you will never make it.

        • says

          It isn’t at all intended as any disrespect, I’m sorry you took it that way. If anything, it is nothing more than a compliment, albeit not as direct as most.

          Sam’s opinion on a resume is the equivalent to asking a Harvard math professor what math class he/she thinks a 6th grade student should take. Should we be surprised if that math professor replies to the question, “calculus at the very minimum?” Probably not, that’s consistent with their level.

          I don’t think I’ve told Sam he was wrong, nor do I think anything I said was offensive. While you might not accept my view from me, a college sophomore, maybe you’ll accept it from the several others with the same viewpoint who commented below. They are likely college graduates, since that distinction seems of most importance to you.

          If Sam takes what I said with offense, I apologize. I wasn’t aware that he did. I would think that if he had taken it offensively, he would say so as he has plenty times made mention of his own views. Frankly, Sam could come on here, tear me a new a**hole with all kinds of four letter words and his own viewpoint, and I wouldn’t leave offended. I’ve tough skin, and so does he, I’m sure.

          This is a blog comment section where we’re openly discussing an idea, for better or worse. What’s wrong with that?

        • Clayton says

          I fully agree with you JT. I manage a major title office in dallas and find GPA’s on resumes to be petty and irrelevant. I dont care if you can study and make good grades, that doesnt guarantee you to be a good employee. Ignore nancy as she is probably old and stuck in some low level job where she will unhappily retire from. Dont waste anymore of your time replying to these idiots. and good luck in school!

      • sam says

        I respectfully disagree to anyone who is a job applicant or HR personnel that is advocating the importance of GPA, particularly surrounding management, and financial career areas. Just because someone is textbook or academia expert, that does not mean that the person is capable of thinking out of the box. The real world made it proof that most giant and effective management corporations and financial industries have been founded by those who do not have higher GPA, even in some cases by those who are college drop-outs. I prefer to look at the matter of GPA surrounding technical careers such as engineering, biotech and medical fields.

        • says

          What is there to hide though? If you don’t put your GPA, many recruiters will automatically think the worst.

          So perhaps a good compromise is to not include your GPA if it is below 3.0, as that’s pretty bad.

  3. says

    I hate updating resumes, but I do know you need to always be prepared.

    I think the best way to ‘job hunt’ is to always being open minded when it comes to changing jobs. Most often, the best thing comes along when you aren’t even looking.

  4. says

    Great post! Except for MBA programs, many undergrad degrees are severly lacking in basic job skills like this. Classes on interview skills and networking should be required in college. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into the mind of a hiring manager!

      • says

        I think that’s a good thing. I’ve honestly been getting tired of all the sarcastic posts you’ve been doing. Furthermore when reading the comments of those sarcastic posts, I find half the people seem to be taking your seriously (or pretending to).

        I even find myself wondering if you are really being a clown or serious from time to time and it frustrates me as a reader, although I do get a good laugh out of it as well.

        Until about half way through this post I was still scrutinizing it heavily for sarcasm and falsehoods that you were throwing out there for entertainment or a wow factor. I’m probably alone in this though … so keep up the good work :D

        • says

          Cool! Maybe I will be very focused and follow your sight’s lead then. I can do a 30 part series on saving money in every aspect of one’s life ie Saving Money In The Shower, Saving Money On The Bus, Saving Money On Monday, Tues, etc. Could be interesting. I like the direct way of education too.

          BTW, where is your About page on your site so you can have some more personalization? Or is your site more a business first to make money?

          Cheers

  5. says

    Great post, Sam! I haven’t updated my resume in a while since I’ve been at the same company for some time now, but these are definitely great tips to keep in mind. I’m curious as to what you do out there in the real world?

  6. says

    P.S. What if someone had a REALLY long resume, like 9 or 10 pages? Wouldn’t that be a differentiator as well? I just remember some CV coach coming to our university once and his was that long…

    • says

      If you’re calling it a “CV” it could be that you do need a longer “Curriculum Vitae.” This is different than our typical “resume” in the U.S., but I know in other countries they use CVs and they tend to be longer. Here, the only people I know with CVs are professors, and their CVs are typically more than one page since they have to list out all of the papers they have written.

      Know the norm for the industry you are applying in before you decide whose advice to take on the resume/CV you should be using.

  7. says

    I agree with you with almost everything! I would add that the candidate’s accomplishments should have quantitative results. Everyone is looking for problem solvers! It is what may distinguish one from another resume. I once applied for a CFO position where they received 4,000 resumes, I was one of fifteen that was interviewed.

    I have used that kind of resume for a lot of years (20 years). I have two resumes, a one page and two page resume. I normally do not show more than the last fifteen or twenty years.

  8. says

    Hmm..I actually haven’t seen a GPA on a resume in a long time (not unless the person is fresh out of school). I haven’t had mine on my resume in over 10 years. The other stuff is spot on.

    My prediction is that you won’t see much movement until after February. Many candidates won’t move and/or change jobs until their bonus’s have been paid out and that doesn’t happen until Feb time for a lot of people.

    I’m bullish like you are. I think we’re going to have a good year, but I also see inflation coming as well. I’m starting to get regular headhunter calls again, so companies are finally loosening the headcount purse strings.

    • Nancy says

      Can you share what your reasons are for not having your GPA on? After 10 years of work experience, I think it’s fine too, but just curious to hear your reasons.

      • says

        I’ve actually done a lot of interviewing at my job and have seen hundreds of resumes.

        It seems like the standard protocol is that if you’ve been out in the workforce
        for 5 years, work experience is more relevant than grades and people no longer
        put GPA on their resume. I also used to put all the scholarships I received on
        my resume, and now those have been replaced by work awards.

        I personally think GPA is irrelevant and potentially harmful. People have prejudices
        about GPA’s. If it’s too low, they think you’re dumb, a slacker or partier. If it’s 4.0, they
        may assume you’re an egghead with no social skills. Why even open the door to
        that when clearly your job performance is most relevant once you are established
        in a career.

  9. says

    My company is hiring and I think many more are doing the same. Things are looking up!
    Good tips on resume. It’s always nice to see good examples. I need to update my resume for my job search later on this year. I like Pamela’s resume also. It’s good to emphasize accomplishments up front.

  10. says

    I’ve been out of the loop for a while now, but I never put my GPA on my resume before. Is the GPA still important if you’ve been out of school for a really long time? I can see how if a person is a 4.0 student, it gives them bragging rights, but I wonder if this would be relevant for all degrees or just the most recent one?

    As for hiring in the first half of the year, with teaching the new semester starts in August/September – the second half of the year. It’d be nice to see the CA budget resolved and more money spent on education; then I might actually get a job! ;)

    • says

      It has very little to do with “bragging rights”, it’s just standard practice. If you don’t put it on, your interviewer will think the worst of you as they will feel you are trying to hide something.

      If GPA wasn’t important in college, why do people work so hard for 4-5 years to get good grades?

      Don’t hide it.

  11. says

    Thank You! Resumes should be one page. Why have I heard lately the trend is multiple pages – to the point where I even adapted one of mine to reflect it. Every once and a while I have to toss a resume into a job bid for a consulting or coaching client or a new teaching gig and I really appreciate this post.

  12. spendaholic says

    Thanks for putting this article out there Sam – it’s refreshing and different from the million other “how to write a resume” articles online that just reuse the same old advice.

    I have a few questions:

    1. What do you think about adding logos of some top brands if you work in marketing? I tried it in the past with a lot of success.

    2. Is it really important to list personal interests? I was told to do the opposite and keep it professional (most interesting part of the article for me is when you wanted to know what made people tick).

    3. Has anyone impressed you with a more 2.0 resume? Meaning an online resume, one on a CD, a DVD, etc.

    • says

      1) If it’s working for you, keep on doing it!

      2) Yes, you need to create something on your resume that hooks the interviewer besides your education and work experience. If I love to fish for example, and so do you, you BET we will hit it off and you’ll be invited back for another round.

      3) Haven’t seen a resume 2.0 yet. But, I WOULD be impressed if there is some originality. For sure I would. If you aren’t getting any hits, there’s no downside to being unique and 2.0!

  13. says

    Sam, One thing I think is critical is to tailor your resume to a specific job. Rather than mass mailing 100 resumes, pick 5 companies you are interested in and research the crap out of them. If you’re applying to a specific job opening, make sure you line up your qualifications and experience into the specific categories they are looking for. This technique makes a huge impact.

    I also love reading about people’s offbeat interests (in a small section at the bottom). It’s not the standard advice, but this sorta thing really starts conversations with interviewers. If I had read a resume that had poker and basketball listed at the bottom you can bet I would want to talk to that person to find out more about them.

  14. says

    Terrific post. :) Will need to update my resume soon, too. Never thought GPA would be such a controversial topic! Great points from both sides. I haven’t used or seen GPA on resumes myself. I’m not the best student, but I’m not the worst as well. I understand your point about not hiding it, but what is wrong with showing off your best assets? Which would win a resume shootout? All things being equal. A one pager highlighting recent experience and projects or a two pager that shows the same, but also drills into more details?

  15. says

    Great tips Sam. It’s been too long since I’ve updated my resume and that’s something I fix ASAP. You never know when an opportunity will present itself.

    A buddy of mine works in the HR dept for a small company and he tells me most resumes he sees barely get a glance. It’s basically a process of elimination where 99 percent of them get tossed for one reason or another. If you’re not clear and concise you’ve got no chance at all.

  16. Charlie says

    Great post but OMG I can’t look at any more resumes. I have 8 interviews over two days this and it is exhausting. When you have to look at as many as I do, every little thing counts. And getting my attention on paper is only part of the picture. I’ve had so many candidates look amazing on paper and totally flop in person.

  17. says

    These are some great tips. I’ve seen a few in the past that made me pass right over them. Might have been decent workers but I had to figure if their resume was a mess, had typos, was set up poorly, I couldn’t prioritize them over other candidates. What are your thoughts on including a picture? People seem to have mixed feelings on this.

  18. says

    Thanks for the tips sam – they are really great. You can bet im going to go home and work on them tonight (I’ve got an interview tomorrow). It’s also interesting to learn stuff from the perspective of the resume reader – I always wonder what they are thinking and how to stand out – besides changing the paper color.
    I’d have to agree with buck about the GPA – never thought it was a big deal. One thing I was told when in school was to play a bit of slight of hand with my gpa. They told me if it was not over 3.0 (it was close, but I fooled around too much in undergrad), then I should put the gpa for my classes in my major (which was much, much higher – good even). that way there would still be something there, but it wouldnt make me look worse.

    • says

      No prob Jeff. Yes, at least put your GPA for your major if your overall GPA is below 3.0. The interviewer will get the idea and hopefully move past grades and finding out more about you as a person.

      Good luck tomorrow!!!!

  19. Mike says

    I’m glad I worked hard to get a good GPA. A few of my friends who slacked off are now worrying about finding a job with poor GPAs.

  20. says

    Sam,
    Nice post. I actually took business communications last semester, and I am apply to internships now so this topic is very relevant to me. You say, that you don’t necessarily like how Edgar lists his education at the top. By looking at the dates of his jobs/other activities it seems that Edgar’s education is the most recent of anything on his job resume. Therefore, I would say that Edgar is correct in listing his education at the top considering that he has done nothing else recently. Would you agree?

    • says

      That’s true, and that’s a good point. With this situation, I would say either or is fine, but I would still prefer education at the bottom, and him write an objective, intro, or something up top that jumps off the page.

  21. says

    Thanks for the information – interesting getting it from a recruiters point of view … as I’ve always believed the rule is 2 pages (not one) and in fact the inclusion of a cover page is a good plus also (taking it up to 3 I guess?) … however I’m in a technical field and while jobs definitely litter the 2nd page, it is more of a place to include all the different certifications that my potential candidates have acquired.

    • says

      Donno, perhaps it’s different in a technical field. I would think you just list your certifications in one line, and provide a link for further references. A cover page is always excellent. Short and sweet i.e. 2-3 paragraphs max.

  22. says

    Great post Sam, I really enjoyed your take on resumes! Where I work at, I’ve been part of the interview process once or twice, and since I’m in tech services area, practically all the resumes we receive are at least 2 pages long, but not longer. Most are filled with programming languages and operating systems that they person is familiar with…

    Thanks for the inside perspective though, I learn so much from your blog, especially from between the lines and even in the comments!

  23. says

    Just out of curiosity, what do you think about finding out the name of the hiring manager or human resources person, telling them you are going to apply for job XYZ, and asking them what kind of resume they prefer so you can tailor it for them?

    That’s bound to get you some attention, right?

    • says

      I guess so, or they may just ignore. Actually, I wouldn’t ask what type of resume you should have. They will think you should know.. and the truth is, you should know after reading this post!

  24. says

    This is really a very helpful post. I think I need to reconstruct my resume. I have two pages and none is really highlighted. I think I have to redo everything and get a job!

  25. says

    These are great tips.

    Just a note, some countries prefer 3-page resumes.
    And regarding doing the “not so obvious” – i once attached a photo of me grinning to a resume and got called in for an interview because they “wanted to meet someone crazy enough to do that”. I got the job :)

    What do you think of using your LinkedIn profile as your resume?

  26. Daniela says

    My boss just told me to write a resume to move up positions within the company. Any ideas? I was thinking of the accomplishments I made thusfar with the company and also what I can bring to the table moving foward. Any outline ideas would be helpful! Thank-You .

  27. Cory says

    If i went to college on and off for about 5 years but did not graduate, would I still want to put my college education on my resume?

  28. Hussain says

    I appreciate all comments that was posted. I’m just a little bit confused about whether putting a GPA is a good thing or not because I’m international student who is just finished ESL school (English Second Language).

    Thank you guys for these great tips.

  29. says

    Resumes are interesting.

    Once I came across a resume from a gentleman who worked in the purchasing department in two different companies. He had the same identical job duties in both companies. I was thinking something is off. You couldn’t possibly doing the EXACT same job every minute of the day for two different companies.

  30. says

    My favorite resume by far was one from an individual who forgot to replace “insert name here” with his actual name.

    To this day I have no idea if it was a joke since I have no idea who sent it.

  31. says

    In my life so far I did change two jobs, currently with third employer. Didn’t give too many interviews. But conducted numerous ones, I can tell you resume sets the first impression and I do try to imagine the character of the person by seeing through the resume, good post!

  32. Casey Harwood says

    i have a question… is it necessary to put an “about me” section on the resume? My career service counselor in college didnt have me put one in on mine. But is that important? thank you!!!! Im trying to get a job in the social service/work industry and not sure if that would be important.

    • says

      Hi Casey, it certainly doesn’t hurt. However, that’s the entire point of the resume… to tell the interviewer in 7 seconds everything they should read about you! Have a 2 or 3 sentence objective up top is fine.

  33. pichi says

    i am planning to apply for an internship for my ojt this summer and i was looking for some sample resumes for a college student like me.is it okay if i ask some advice regarding this? thanks.

  34. Victoria says

    What would you say for updating resumes when you’re applying for a new position in the same company? I started at my bank as a teller before I had even finished college. Six months after I started I was offered my first promotion, and only 15 months after my original hire date, not only had I finished school, but I was working as the branch assistant manager.

    Now, three years later, I’m applying for the head manager position of one of our larger branches. They know me, they know me well. They already know my strengths and weaknesses, and they know how I handle the work. Due the importance of the position though, its open internally and externally simultaneously. I have to submit a new resume this time. (I did not have to for the previous two promotions.) I know there is some stiff competition out there and I’m wondering if there’s anything different you would recommend for this type of situation?

  35. says

    Yes, you are really right because one page resume really matters and that does not irritate the interviewer in reading the resume and taking a quick decision about your recruitment.

  36. Brittany says

    I’m about to graduate, so this article was really helpful! I do have a question though. Because of some disastrous economics classes I was required take, my GPA is not looking good. So, if not including it on my resume is bad, does that mean I should include it and just expect to never be employed?

    I guess my question is more about the relevance of the GPA. Will my bad GPA be overlooked if my experience and skills look good? Or will a bad GPA mean I’m done for?

  37. says

    Sam,

    I graduated from college about 12 years ago and bartended for the first 5 years right out of college. My current job speak volumes about my ability, but my work history can seem limited. Do you have any advice? Should I dive back to my bartending experience? And of course 3.40 GPA, should I post that?

    • says

      Devin,

      I’d definitely list your 3.4 GPA. That’s a good one. Don’t let your prospective employer think you’re hiding something.

      For experience, focus on filling out your latest one with detail. Your prospective employer cares about what you’ve done last, especially since you’ve been out for 12 years.

      Good luck!

  38. Su says

    Hi Sam!

    I’m a veteran teacher, graduated about 15 years ago from college with 2.8 but 3.2 in major (at a top 20 liberal arts college) and Grad school about 13 years ago (local university, not top tier) with a 3.7.

    Do I include both GPAs in a resume?

    I have been teaching in one school for over 13 years now. It’s the sum total of my life, career, and accomplishments. Should I just focus on the many accomplishments in my career should I add the GPA too? Or is it less important?

    I am looking to change to distance learning because in an interesting twist- I am now physically disabled. I’m as brilliant, dedicated, and driven as always- and successful with students- but the physical limitations has led me to be more creative in teaching options. Online teaching will use my brain and abilities and not take its physical toll.

    Figuring out resume writing after 15 years? Not easy.

    Tips? Suggestions?

    Teachers have interesting resumes… But I just don’t know how to convey the complexity of my career achievements,

  39. Frustrated says

    WHY?? WHY did my teachers in our ‘careers’ class not tell us this stuff?? We were just given a computer with a Word Document open and the words “Go for it kids!”. As a result I even got rejected by Maccas… :[ I’m sure now, I’ll have a killer resume to help me get a WAY better part-time job to help me get through uni…

  40. Clayton says

    I fully agree with you JT. I manage a major title office in dallas and find GPA’s on resumes to be petty and irrelevant. I dont care if you can study and make good grades, that doesnt guarantee you to be a good employee. Ignore nancy as she is probably old and stuck in some low level job where she will unhappily retire from. Dont waste anymore of your time replying to these idiots. and good luck in school!

  41. Charlize says

    I have a two page resume. I wanted to know how to shorten it. I have held many different jobs, while searching to find the right one for me. How many jobs should I have posted on my resume.

  42. Aaron says

    I have a 2.8 GPA in my undergrad and a 3.9 in my grad school. I am trying to get into the marketing world because that’s my dream job/career category. Also, do you have any examples of a decent marketing style resume?

    • says

      Good job raising that GPA to 3.9! Makes your grad school that much more valuable. I don’t have a marketing style resume, but it should follow my guidelines in the post. Definitely include writing, advertising, creative ad samples in your portfolio!

  43. noey says

    hi,

    i am in the job market right now and looking to put the best resume possible out there but i have a very random and varied selection of work history. if i tailor a resume for a specific job will the gaps in time be looked at poorly if i leave out certain jobs? for instance, i taught english abroad in japan for a year which doesn’t have much relevance to what i am looking for now (marketing/events/communications/social media). any tips on how to deal with this? very interesting article and comments.

    thanks!

    • says

      Noey,

      I’d focus on the two or three most RELEVANT job experiences and expound on them in the Work Section.

      For the less relevant stuff like teaching english in Japan, I’d put them under Extracurricular.

      Good luck!

      Sam

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