Category Archives: Blog

Resume FAQ

Have questions about your resume? Read through our FAQ. If you would like to discuss any of these please submit your information for a Free Resume Review.

Q: How do I handle gaps in employment on my resume?

A – Head on and with Honesty

Q: How long should my resume be?

A – Length is not as much a concern as clarity, content and organization, but I’d say no longer than 2 pages for most people.

Q: How many years back should my resume go?

A – I say as far back as your profession represents, but if you decide to shorten, note that on your resume. The key is clarity.

Q: Where do I put my education?

A – At the top, beneath your summary for 5 years from graduation.

Q: Should I include my GPA?

A- I say keep your GPA on your resume if you are proud of it.

Q: Why am I not getting a response to my resume?

A – The biggest reason for not getting a response is that your resume doesn’t properly represent who you truly are. It could be the content, but often times it’s a simple tweak to the formatting and a better/lack of a summary.

Q: How quickly can you turn things around?

A – I have been on the phone with a prospective client who decided to order immediately and we turned the resume around within an hour. Quick turnaround is the nature of our business, and we never have a rush charge like some services…it’s the nature of our business. Can you imagine a restaurant serving you food, then charging extra for utensils? Because we work quickly, we want folks to know we will be there to support them, so we always offer 30 days of follow up support.

Q: Where do I put certifications on my resume?

A- Within education.

Q: How do I make my resume stand out?

A – Organized and clear content on a resume that’s submitted to a job you qualify for will usually get a response.

Q: How should I format my resume?

A – Reverse chronologically.

Q: What font and size should I use on my resume?

A – The font you use is a personal preference, but also should correlate to your profession. Artistic types can take more liberties. We tend to use more professional looking fonts and 10-12 pts high is best, depending on the font.

Q: What are some words I should use in my resume?

A – Positive words!

Q: What words or phrases should I avoid using in my resume?

A – Negative words and phrases that don’t set you apart.

Q: How long should a cover letter be?

A – Not long at all. If it’s too long, it’s not going to be read. Think of your cover letter as an elevator pitch. Brevity is bliss.

Q: What should a cover letter say?

A – I found this role posted on XX, I’m a great fit because: This, That and Maybe another thing. Thank you for your consideration…and here is my contact information.

 

 

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One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Spoke with a fellow recruiter recently who I had never spoken with, and who didn’t know my background very well. He had an older resume of mine and made some very thoughtful, not malicious, broad brush suggestions. I thanked him for his opinion and continued with our conversation. After another 20 minutes he realized what he suggested earlier about my resume might not be the best approach because of the extent of my experience. Again, I thanked him and continued our conversation.

After another 10 minutes or so of ridiculously casual and enjoyable conversation, I came clean and told him that for the past 5 years, I have helped nearly 1,000 people write their resume with a business that was not on my resume. He chuckled, took my retort in good stride and agreed that maybe a 1 page resume for a guy with 30 something years of experience was not reasonable. Wow, didn’t I just toss my mortar board in the air a few years ago? Wow, time flies…heck, so did that mortar board, but I tracked it down…but I digress.

This was a great conversation from start to finish and I’m hoping to work with him further because I appreciated his opinion and thought, but the reason for my little story…everyone will have an opinion on your resume and why you should do it their way. Don’t over-react and start making changes without discussing with someone else, or at least sitting on the ideas. Can’t tell you how many clients say “I don’t even recognize my own resume!”

There are rights and wrongs for a resume, but mostly what you get are opinions. For 2 guys who look at hundreds of resumes a day, we did agree that organized, clean and concise is always best.

For our professional opinion, please send us your resume for a Free Resume Review.

Best,

Wayne

Co-Founder/COO – Night and Day Resume

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Recent Grads – 5 Things to consider now that “real life” is upon you.

5 Things to consider now that “real life” is upon you.Carefree rope swing female

1-      Stick with your dream! Whether the economy is good or bad, it’s not always going to be so easy to break into the career path you might have chosen, but stick with it. My first career out of school was as a broadcast journalist and it took me 20 months to get my first “real” job. Sure, I remember putting .47c worth of gasoline in my car to get to my minimum wage job to scrape by (gas was only about $1 per gallon so it actually got me to work and it was payday, so I could survive another week!), but those were great months that I got to try lots of new things and meet some great people. Yes, I had loans and relative to today’s economy they would be about $500/month, so I understand the pressure to get something stable, but you have your entire life to work. Find your passion and make that work!

2-      Thank your support system. You might have already moved out, you might have moved back home or be couch surfing across the country, but say thank you to whomever has supported you, both financially and emotionally. It’s a small thing that goes a long way.

3-      Enjoy this time. I know, I know, it’s kind of like telling someone who got laid off to enjoy their time off because you are stressed to find work, an apartment, “the one”, but if you take a deep breath and try to enjoy this time in your young life you will realize that stressing about it won’t help and it might keep you from enjoying a time that should be carefree and joyous. You will look back in 5 years and appreciate the freedom and latitude you had to enjoy life.

4-      Eat something your parents have been pushing on you for years. Mushrooms, steamer clams, brussel sprouts….you will give in eventually. My wife and I both eat things our parents tried to get us to eat for years when we were growing up and we enjoy them so much now that we wish we started earlier.

5-      Keep your eyes wide open and don’t try so hard when it comes to finding “the one”. The aforementioned wife, who I met in the summer after I graduated college, was not in my plan. You see, my plan was to move around the country and work my way up in TV and Radio. I didn’t totally abandon my career, but instead worked in local TV and Radio for 10 years, but we met at one of those part time jobs that kept me going.  I wasn’t looking for love, but wasn’t so laser focused on my career that I wasn’t open to it either. The love of my life and I have been together for nearly 29 years and married for more than 26. Life is unpredictable, and relationships can be rocky, but when you have passion for something, you find a way to make it work.

Here’s hoping you find your passion, your dream and your “one” and have a fun time in the process.

Best, Wayne

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You Don’t Need a New Engine, Just Change the Oil!

I had the most amazing weekend. Normally I would say this because it was spent time with my family and loved ones, but this past weekend was spent with a different family, a brotherhood, if you will.Bran Drift

You see, I’m a very proud graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and I was asked to be a presenter at their annual alumni weekend. I had great conversations, wonderful company and lots of ideas and opinions were flowing. During an “Ask the Experts” session, which was a one on one scenario, I blurted out an analogy that made so much sense to me, I had to share.

Night and Day Resume services are reasonably priced because we realize that most clients don’t need a new engine, they just need some new oil to make things better. This particular alum was a few years my junior, very professional and said he was approached by someone to work on his resume who charges nearly $1,000. I said “yikes, your resume is very good….that’s like going to a mechanic who tells you to buy a new engine when all you really need is an oil change”. That’s exactly what we do.

You see, there are some people who need lots of hand holding and guidance and hours upon hours of resume assistance, but the majority of people just need a professional to lay eyes on their resume, help them to better organize it, while confirming much of what they already know they want to say, but helping to make it clear. That’s us. We never re-write the entire resume in our words, we educate our clients on how to make a better resume then deliver the changes in their words and in a couple of hours. We expect people to want their resume turned around quickly which is why we never add a rush charge. On the other side, we do realize you might have follow up questions, and this is why we support you for 30 days after you get your resume back.

If our “oil change of professional resume writing” doesn’t help, then you can come back for an upgrade or for additional support, but why start with a new engine?

I’m not knocking what my counterparts do, or what they charge, but from the feedback I got, we are on the inexpensive side, but we like it that way. Our services get results, base on all the great, unsolicited testimonials, and we like it that way, too!

More people need an oil change than an engine swap and we want to help as many people as possible.  We hope you consider our services should your resume need a check-up.

Best, Wayne

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The Power of Networking, the Motivation to Ask!

Golden golf shot....enjoy

It’s a crazy economy we are living in these days. I know more than a handful of people who are gainfully employed, outwardly seem to be doing well, but they don’t feel secure in their jobs. It’s the new normal. Many people feel this way, but they don’t know what to do. Much like the person out of work who is a bit embarrassed to tell neighbors and friends that they are out of work and they could use some job leads.

I’m here to let you know that it’s OK to ask for help.  It’s now called “networking” and it’s appropriate.  Not that it was ever inappropriate, but now there is a term for it that makes it less uneasy.

Sure, you may be a bit embarrassed or uneasy at first, but it opens up good dialogue, and you will be surprised at how many people will then turn to you and ask for help in some way.

Let your guard down, let some folks in and “network”, or “ask” for some help with interviewing, tips on job leads, some salary direction or just directly ask who they know who might have a job for you. “Hey, I’m looking for my next job opportunity…do you know someone who could use my skills and experience?”  It’s simple, straight forward and opens up the conversation. Poolside, courtside, next to a ball field or a soccer field and yes, even on the golf course…take your shot…ask away, because you never know who you might be socializing with.

Of course, you don’t want to have your resume ready to whip out, but a pen and paper to write down their email address, phone number and a few notes is perfectly appropriate.

Some might ask if they should make up some business cards. I’d say no and here’s why. Because you are literally putting your search in their hands and asking that person to initiate the action. As a job seeker, you must drive the bus, so getting their information and sending along a resume is best left up to you. Plus, you can call them every few weeks to check in and see if anything has changed.

Go ahead, ask, network and drive the bus….you will be surprised at how much activity a few extra conversations and connections will generate.

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Work life balance is back!

I’m hearing it more from candidates and clients these days “I’m taking the afternoon off to enjoy some time for myself”, or “I’m going to enjoy some time with the family”. “I’m taking the day to enjoy with a friend”. It seems that with the modest bounce back in the economy, folks are trying to get their work/life balance back in order.Carefree female swimmer

Well, I hope they are, but all indications seem to say yes. You see, years ago, when the economy was extremely strong, many people put their foot on the gas full throttle (metaphorically speaking) and just didn’t let up. They burned out. Of course they were talented, so they got back on their feet after not too long a time, but imagine how much more enjoyable things would be if we could take some time and enjoy our efforts?

It’s difficult to take, and enjoy, time when things are not going well because the stress builds up. When things are going so well, you don’t want to ease up for fear that they will drop off.

I’m telling you first hand that “this too, shall pass” pertains to both scenarios, so try to enjoy when you can.

Now that I’ve convinced everyone to take some time to enjoy, I’m going to take my own advice and take my first days off in nearly a year and work on my golf swing in sunny (I hope) Florida next week.

Best, Wayne

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What’s a Summary to do without the right message?

hands are tiedOf the thousands of resume reviews Night and Day Resume has provided over the past couple of years I can say, confidently, that the summary section is the most important and most neglected.

With the wrong message, you might as well not even send your resume.

The top section of your resume should be titled “Summary”. It’s an introduction to your personality, your background, your passion and it should include an objective to provide the reader an understanding of your intended career direction, but be careful of how you phrase it.

A summary that offers “desire to grow within your distinguished company” or “opportunity to grow” or my personal favorite “ability to learn and grow in your fast growing organization”. Can you see why these statements are limiting? Can you tell why, as a reader of resumes, I cringe?

As a recruiter, I disqualify someone if they send me a summary that’s not relevant to the company I’m recruiting for. What if this stable, flat organization has the most awesome opportunity for you to hit the ground running on the first day and make a difference, but there is no growth opportunity at this time?

Do you still want the job, or should I go onto the next resume? Of course you want the job, but you limit your appeal with a canned summary that might keep your resume from getting read beyond the first section. It shows you haven’t really looked into the company you are asking to hire you.

You need to do your homework!

Spend 5-10 minutes to look into the company and read the job description before you write your summary. Read it thoroughly. Tailor your summary to that job. If it doesn’t seem right, then don’t send your resume and find another job to submit to. If you aren’t jumping through your computer to crank out an email to the person that posted the role, or ran that ad, then it probably isn’t the job for you.

The economy is coming back in certain markets, in certain sectors and in dribs and drabs, but don’t get discouraged. Quite the opposite, get encouraged that the right role is out there for you and when you see it, take the time to write a great summary for your resume before you send your resume. You might send fewer resumes, but quality over quantity will work better every time!

Best, Wayne
Co-Founder
Night and Day Resume

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8 of 10 job seekers know what the issue is, so don’t fight it.

8 out of 10 job seekers know what the issue is with their resume, so why fight it?Dont struggle male

One of our senior writers made a great suggestion last year for our website and the Free Resume Review that we offer and the interaction with people who have asked for our help. She suggested we ask people what they feel is wrong with their resume. Great idea, so we did just that.

Of the 100 or so requests for reviews we do each week, 95% of the people will fill in this open field question and 8 of 10 will know exactly what the issue is with their resume.

For job seekers out there my question is this…if you know what the issue is, then why not change it? The simple answer is, you don’t know how or you aren’t sure if you are making it better or worse. Don’t feel badly about it because sometimes we are too close to the issue to see what the problem actually is.

Oh, don’t I know it! Since turning 50, I’ve questioned everything from my personality traits, our website content, my entire wardrobe and even my resume, which I use for consulting and speaking engagements.

After a while, you aren’t sure where to turn, and this is where a professional comes in. That extra set of eyes on a resume can give you the confidence you need to feel good about sending it along. It more than likely needs just minor changes, but they will make a big impact.

Resume professionals are professionals who have a trained eye, a listening ear, and Writing/HR/Recruiting chops to back up their advice. If you get what you feel is bad advice, then push back a bit. You will get an education and an understanding of why the changes are being made.

So go ahead, 8 out of 10 know you need it! For the record, my resume was fine, my personality is still “direct” and my wardrobe now consists of fewer clothes of better quality, thanks to my generosity (to myself) around the Holidays.

Stay Warm,
Wayne

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What’s wrong with my resume having TMC?

What the heck is TMC and why doesn’t my resume need it?female questioning

When you look at resumes for a living you tend to come up with some terminology of your own.  I’ve coined some terms that you might be interested to understand. As a candidate, these are going to help you write a better resume. As a resume writer/job coach…feel free to share and use to help you explain to candidates why they need help with their resume.

TMC – Too Much Content. This is pretty self explanatory, but if you have volunteer experience from when you were in junior high still on your resume and you are already out of college…TMC! Also, for those of you who feel being the lead cookie baker and organizer for the company cookie swap is relevant….not so much, that’s TMC  (unless you’re looking for a social director/cookie swap taster role).

Front Loading. This is for the folks who feel that if they don’t get all of their accolades on the front page they will get passed over. This is you if it takes 3 sections for me to read before getting to your experience. Think about it…the more you front load, the less your resume will impress if the receiver continues to read. It’s like having a great first half and not showing up for the second half of a game. Solution… share a good amount, but leave something for the conversation. That will impress!

Buzzword Density. This is usually specific to those who have a technical summary on top of their resume. Make sure that technology trickles down into the body of your resume so I know where you have used it, for how long and how recent. This is like SEO for resumes. The more it is on there, the higher you will come up in a search by gatekeepers. Just make sure you don’t go “buzzword crazy” and that you can support your resume when it comes time to discuss with the hiring manager or recruiter.

Hope everyone is having a great January.
Best for a wonderful and prosperous 2014!
Wayne, Co-Founder/COO
Night and Day Resume

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Don’t let the “New Year” change the “Old You”

There are plenty of “New Year, New You” and “Out with the old, in with the New” type motivational blogs and articles, but I’m suggesting you don’t let the New Year change the “Old You”.

Old SchoolThis isn’t a reference to age, or “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” kind of message, but what I’m suggesting is you embrace who you are and what you stand for.

You see, over the years in recruiting I find that people try to re-invent themselves when they come to a crossroads. They could be out of work, unhappy with their current job, or relocating and they feel it’s a great time to re-invent themselves. For some, this is great, but for most, you want to stick with your strength and what you know. This way, you will get back on your feet and on track sooner.

Disillusioned job seekers over the past few years have been sending emails and pounding the phones to find a great job. That economy is behind us, but the sense of frustration still resonates.

This year, put in that same amount of effort, think like the “old you” and those efforts should pay off with the better economy and your great background. Of course make sure you are sending out a great resume and cover/intro letter because even though the market is better, you still need to portray the most professional you that you can.

We are happy to provide you a no-obligation FREE Resume Review so the “old you” can feel great about your job search in the New Year.

Best, Wayne

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