Why to leave your address off your resume

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In the past, including your home address on your resume was a formality that readers expected to see. But today, it’s no longer necessary, at least in the U.S.

There are good reasons you might want to leave your home address off your resume.

Your commute could be a concern

Having your address on your resume could  cause you to be discriminated against based on your commute.

If you live 75 minutes away from the company, and an equally qualified candidate lives 5 minutes away, who do you think has the edge?

This isn’t as big of a deal for an executive candidate as it is for an entry-level candidate, but nevertheless it can still be at least somewhat of a factor at all levels.

After all, companies love employees who will arrive early and stay late–and workers who live farther away might have a harder time doing that since they’re spending so much time commuting.

Most executive roles necessitate a significant time commitment, and having to spend an extra 2+ hours in a day on a round-trip commute is a drain on both time and energy.

Even with the advent of hybrid work, where you might be remote a couple days a week, commute time still might be a consideration.

Additionally, a candidate who lives further away is more of a flight risk; employers will worry you’re going to leave the company and take a job closer to home as soon as you find the right opportunity.

Privacy is a greater concern now

Your address provides personal information that you might not want hundreds or thousands of strangers to have; these days, it’s easy to look up your address online and find out the value of your home, what the residence looks like, who else lives there, when it was purchased, and many other details.

Chances are, they wouldn’t look it up right away, but if you did become a finalist, you never know.

Do you want your prospective employer to make judgements about you based on their perception of your primary residence?

The perception could be “oh, that’s an expensive house–he’s going to want more money than we want to pay!” Or, “ugh, look at that shack!”

It puts you at risk for identity theft

These days, you can never be too careful about protecting yourself against identity theft.

Your home address is one of many pieces of information cybercriminals would like to find about you as they put together all the puzzle pieces they need to steal your identity.

Sure, your address is one of the less sensitive pieces, but still – why make it any easier for them?

Even if you trust the recruiter or company you’re giving the resume to, you simply never know whose hands it could end up in, whether it’s an unscrupulous temp worker, a janitor who likes to snoop, or a criminal who hacks into something.

It takes up valuable space

The space devoted to your address could otherwise be used for something more useful, like a link to your LinkedIn profile.

A link to your LinkedIn profile makes it fast and easy for a recruiter or hiring manager to access your profile with no searching required. That’s a huge plus, because a search for someone’s name often pulls up many results, which can be confusing.

What should be included instead?

Instead of having your full address, you might want to put a metro area.

For example, you could put “Los Angeles Area” instead of putting “Studio City” or whatever specific part of the metro area you’re in.

This is unless you’re seeking jobs that are right there in your town or neighborhood, in which case being local would be a selling point.

If the location of your current job is an accurate reflection of the metro area you’re in, you could theoretically omit any mention of the metro area in the contact information. However, some recruiters would prefer the clarity of knowing your location.

No matter what, your email and phone number should always be on there (only ONE phone number–the best one to reach you at).

When you DO need to provide your address

It’s also worth noting that the address still needs to be provided sometimes.

If you apply for a position on a company’s website, 99% of the time you’ll have to fill out a form that prompts you for your address, and it’s probably a required field.

For an executive, an online application might not be part of your journey, but you might provide your address later in the hiring process, like when it’s time for a background check.

This article first appeared on KellyDonovan.com

When is it a bad idea to share your executive resume?

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sharing-your-executive-resume-written-by-executive-resume-writer

A colleague you’ve been friends with for years is ready to move up in his career. Or, he’s scared because of a looming layoff. Whatever the scenario might be, you want to help.

In that vein, you share some tips, offer to serve as a reference, and even send him the shiny new executive resume you just paid a professional to write.

“Maybe my new resume will give you some ideas!” you tell him.

I speak from experience when I say that it might be more than just some “ideas.”

What I’ve seen

I’ve seen it happen multiple times now over the years. Someone books an initial consultation with me to discuss the possibility of becoming a client; they say they were referred by one of my past clients.

Before the call, they send me their resume. I open it up, and WOW! Boy, does it look and sound familiar.

Not only have they used the same format that I created for their friend’s resume, but they have, ahem, “borrowed” a lot of the wording.

What’s the problem?

You might be thinking that this is no big deal. You want to help your friend, and you shared your resume with the hope that it would be helpful to them.

However, if you’re in the same industry or profession as someone, there’s a decent chance that:

  • Some of the same recruiters might be looking at both of you.
  • You might be applying at some of the same companies.
  • You might end up interviewing for some of the same jobs.

If your friend’s resume looks and sounds the same as yours, this could lead to confusion. Let’s say you send your resume to a recruiter and she opens it, then mistakenly confuses it with your friend’s resume that she looked at several weeks ago. “Oh, that guy again?” she thinks to herself. “He wasn’t the right fit for that EVP search I’m doing, so no need to waste my time talking to him again.”

The bottom line

Standing out from the pack is critical when you’re competing for sought-after executive roles. If you invested in professional help with your executive resume and LinkedIn profile, one of the primary reasons was probably so you could differentiate yourself. Think carefully before doing anything that would negate the time, effort, and money you spent on differentiation.

 

This article first appeared on www.KellyDonovan.com

How to: CAR stories for your resume and interviews

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CAR-stories-for-executive-resume-writing

One of the things I always ask clients to brainstorm at the start of our process is CAR stories–which have nothing to do with any type of automobile!

CAR is an acronym for a type of success story; it stands for:

C – Challenge
A – Action
R – Result

When thinking about a CAR story, the idea is to describe a Challenge or situation you were faced with; the Action you took; and the Result that was achieved. There are also other acronyms, like STAR (Situation – Task – Action – Result), that refer to essentially the same concept.

Let’s use a really easy made-up example.

  • Challenge: Our vendor for widgets was raising prices significantly.
  • Action: I obtained quotes from other vendors and assembled a cross-functional team to analyze whether it was feasible to make widgets in-house.
  • Result: We were able to transition widget production in-house at a 23% savings compared to the vendor’s prices.

When you’re compiling CAR stories, you’ll want to quickly jot them down without regard for complete sentences, grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc.

So the above example would look like this Shorthand Example:

  • C – widget vendor raising prices
  • A – got quotes; put together team to analyze
  • R – moved widget-making in-house. 23% savings

I advise compiling your CAR stories in a simple, abbreviated way just like the shorthand example above. Believing that you need to create prose worthy of the Nobel Prize in literature will slow you down unnecessarily, and you’ll waste too much of your time.

Compiling CAR stories does not require writing ability, and if you have the data available, it only takes 60 seconds or less to jot down each CAR story on a notepad (or even a napkin or your smartphone) using shorthand. You could compile 15 CAR stories in 15 minutes or less if you have the data handy. Even if you don’t have the data handy, you can use X% or $X as a place-holder until you’re able to find the missing number.

I don’t advise writing long, detailed CAR stories that are a whole paragraph long (or a paragraph for each letter!). It’s not helpful for my resume writing process, and your interview answers shouldn’t be scripted, so it’s better if you practice your CAR stories for interviews without a precise script.

The CAR format is only for purposes of organizing your thoughts. The above example would be consolidated into a succinct bullet point on your resume that would mostly focus on the result portion. In an interview, you might take a couple minutes to tell the story.

Don’t Be Intimidated by CAR Stories

I find that clients often put CAR stories on a pedestal and tend to over-think them. They’ll come up with numerous metrics related to their performance and then say “I was only able to think of two CAR stories.” There’s a BIG disconnect here.

If they have 10 different examples of metrics that are measurements of various improvements, then each of those 10 metrics would be considered a Result, which could only have been possible by taking some sort of Action, which probably was prompted by a Challenge or a situation. So in reality they probably have 10 CAR stories, not two.

One problem seems to be that some job seekers perceive a CAR story as having to be a really BIG deal. In reality, any result you’ve ever gotten has a CAR story. Some of them aren’t necessarily going to be super impressive, and that’s fine. If you’ve had a 20-year career, you might have a couple dozen CAR stories. We don’t necessarily need to spend time delving into all of them, you don’t need to share all of them on interviews, and not all of them need to be included on your resume. Only the most impressive and relevant ones are worth including.

Compiling CAR stories should be a brainstorming exercise. Compile as many as you can recall, especially from the past decade, and then they can be prioritized in terms of relevance (for your target employers/clients) and impact. You’re better off compiling, say, 15 CAR stories, and only 10 of them are worth using, rather than only compiling five and missing out on the other five that would have also been helpful.

Literally any result achieved in your work likely has a CAR story tied to it. For example: an increase in EBITDA, an increase in top-line revenue, increased efficiency, a cost reduction, time savings, or any metrics that are specific to marketing, supply chain, finance, or any other area of the business.

What is a “Challenge?”

Another issue is the word “Challenge.” I like saying “CAR” because it’s easy to say, and along with STAR, it’s one of the more common acronyms that refers to success stories. However, don’t assume that “Challenge” means a problem. I would encourage you to think of it as “Challenge or situation.” Bear in mind that the word “challenge” often refers to a goal in everyday parlance. For example, “My challenge was to get my marathon time under 3 hours.” So the “Challenge” could be a goal, a desire to improve something, a management directive… and yes, it could also be a problem that needed to be solved!

Keep Track of Your CAR Stories

Updating your resume is a great time to compile CAR stories. If it’s been a while, you’ll probably have a lot! Moving forward, I recommend that at the end of each year you jot down your accomplishments for that year in the form of CAR stories, with numbers when applicable. Keep all of that info handy so you’ll have it handy when it comes time to interview or update your resume. If you’ll be going through an annual performance review process, that’s the perfect time to jot down your abbreviated CAR stories for that year.

This article first appeared on KellyDonovan.com

Your trusted resume expert… a robot?

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is truly woven into the fabrics of our lives, including job search. Most mid-sized to large employers are using technology and AI tools in the recruiting and hiring processes, and there are also tools that job seekers can take advantage of, as well.

For example, one such tool that I introduce my clients to is Job Scan, which will compare your resume to a job description you’re going to apply for. This helps you tailor your resume to that specific job posting. Even if you’re working with a recruiter on a job not publicly advertised anywhere, this can still be handy.

In a future post I can explore the nuances of how this tool works and why tailoring is preferable to using the exact same document every time without any changes.

There are also other AI and technology tools that are more questionable and less helpful, of course. (Also worth exploring in future posts!)

For now, what I want to address is how to handle a robot’s advice. While AI is an amazing advancement, it also has its limitations.

Here’s the problem: software is only as good as the people who created it, and most robots we deal with in everyday life don’t excel at everything we throw at them.

For example, if you’re having a complicated marital problem, would Siri be a good source of advice? Probably not. She can find information on the Internet for you, but don’t expect her to give the kind of advice you could get from a marriage counselor or a friend who’s been married for 35 years.

Robots are lacking when it comes to analysis that requires common sense, empathy, and emotional intelligence.

Limitations of resume software

One of my executive clients ran her resume through Job Scan to tailor it for a job posting. A recommendation popped up saying that her resume was over the recommended length; however, what she didn’t notice was that it said “unless you are applying to executive jobs.”

Not only did the software not recognize that she was an executive-level candidate based on VP titles in her resume, but the software is simplistic with determining if the length is acceptable. If you’re one word over the software’s recommended word count, the robot says it’s too long; one word under, you’re good to go! Seriously? Bear in mind that there is no universal rule among employers for resume length, so this recommended word count is an opinion.

Let me be clear: the difference of a couple words isn’t going to disqualify your application when you apply for a job.

Sure, I see resumes all the time that are too long; executives will send me three-page and four-page resumes they’ve developed on their own, and these are almost always too verbose to be effective–nobody wants to read that much in an era of short attention spans. Guidance about keeping the length reasonable is certainly needed, but deleting an important bullet point to get a resume under the “magical” number a robot recommends is just silly.

These types of guidelines from an AI tool are usually based on best practices that are applicable to the lowest common denominator of people. Your needs might be slightly different, depending on your industry, level of seniority, target employer, target job, career history, and unique career situations.

You could think of it like government dietary guidelines. They’re based on what will probably work best for most people, but your needs might be slightly different if you’re an athlete, diabetic, celiac patient, or have a food allergy. In those instances, you could work with your physician, dietician, or trainer to determine what will be best for you.

Another odd glitch I’ve seen with this software is that in some cases it may say that the formatting of dates isn’t acceptable, even though in other instances it found the exact same date formatting to be fine (and I’ve tested the same date formatting in the most popular applicant tracking systems used by employers–Workday and Taleo–and it was fine, in addition to being consistent with best practices in my industry).

Handling a robot’s advice

At this point, advice from robots needs to be taken with a grain of salt. This is one reason it makes sense to work with a professional on your  resume. You can get input from a human based on their experience helping other clients land positions.

Speaking of humans, that’s actually how most people land great jobs–not by applying online for an advertised opening. I’ve written in the past about navigating networking introductions (as a relationship-based job search approach) and problems with advertised openings.

It’s usually relationships that lead to the best opportunities–particularly at an executive level–and relationships help you get beyond the herd of 100+ other applicants who will likely be applying for those advertised openings along with you. Having a referral from an employee helps you snag an interview in these competitive situations.

The bottom line: AI job search tools range from useless to helpful, but even when they’re helpful (like Job Scan), you also need to balance their advice with the opinions of human experts and your own common sense. Oh, and while you’re at it, please don’t replace your marriage counselor with Siri. 😉

This article first appeared on www.KellyDonovan.com

How to list job promotions on LinkedIn

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About one-third of my clients come to me with LinkedIn profiles and resumes that don’t list all the job titles they’ve held at a particular company.

For example: John was hired as Sr. Director – Supply Chain Management at a $5B multi-national company. After only 4 months, he was promoted to VP – Supply Chain Management.

In the example above, I’ve discovered that A LOT of people will simply list VP – Supply Chain Management on their resume and LinkedIn rather than listing both titles. Or they have both on the resume, but only VP on LinkedIn.

Sometimes the inclination to do this is simplicity–not wanting to clutter things up. Sometimes it’s a concern about perception–not wanting anything to mar your status as an exec.

Whatever the rationale, not including the original title poses a problem when a prospective employer goes through the vetting process. Employers have become much more vigilant about employment verification and background checks in recent years.

Any discrepancy between the title on your documents and what they get from HR (and any other sources) could be disqualifying. It’s seen as dishonest. Likewise, any discrepancy between the resume and LinkedIn is a deal-killer for some companies and recruiters.

What I recommend

If the first job was a short duration and then you were promoted, and the two jobs have substantially similar duties, it makes sense to combine them into a single description–but the initial job title must be acknowledged.

On LinkedIn you would put:

Job title field: Vice President – Supply Chain Management

Job description: (Promoted from Sr. Director after first 4 months.) And then your description of the job goes right here…

On your resume you have a couple options:

Acme Company
Vice President – Supply Chain Management (Month 20XX to Present)
Sr. Director – Supply Chain Management (Month 20XX to Month 20XX)

And then your description of the job goes right here…

Acme Company
Vice President – Supply Chain Management (Month 20XX to Present)

(Promoted from Sr. Director after first 4 months.) And then your description of the job goes right here…

Either of the above examples would be acceptable to most decision-makers and gatekeepers. The second example is more ATS-friendly if you’re applying online.

What the heck is a CV?

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Executive CV Writing

Many of the clients I work with aren’t sure what a CV is, or aren’t sure of the difference between an executive resume (or any resume) and a CV. It can be a thorny issue, so let’s delve in!

First, let’s get one thing out of the way: a CV is not a cover letter! I’ve had people reach out to me in writing saying they want a ” resume and CV,” and I soon learned that they meant a resume and cover letter. (They got confused after seeing countless websites promoting “resumes and CVs,” and assumed it was an abbreviation for “cover letter!”)

A CV is a document similar to a resume that describes your professional qualifications. “CV” is an abbreviation for “curriculum vitae,” which comes from Latin and roughly translates to “course of life.” In other words, it’s a summary of your life’s work.

Two flavors of CV

After more than a decade of working with people on their resumes and CVs, I’ve found that the term “CV” is used in these two situations:

  • A document that is longer and more detailed than a resume.
  • A document that’s not really different from a resume, but is referred to as a CV for reasons I’ll discuss more in a bit.

Use of CVs in the United States

In the US, CVs are often required for job seekers in the fields of academia, medicine, and science. On the shorter side, a CV could be 3-7 pages long, but distinguished scientists and professors who have many scholarly publications to list might need 10 or 20 pages. There are also some senior-level attorneys who use CVs, although most attorneys only need a resume.

Use of CVs outside the United States

In countries outside the US, I’ve found it’s more common for the document a job seeker uses to be called a CV rather than a resume. In some countries, such as Ireland and the UK, it ends up being pretty much the same as what a resume would be in the US.

Meanwhile, in some countries, CVs are expected to be slightly longer, like 3-5 pages, and they might be expected to include a personal photo, marital status, place of birth, citizenship, languages spoken, and date of birth.

When I create a CV for a client who is seeking jobs in countries with different requirements, I simply create different versions. You don’t want to put your marital status and photo on a document for the US or UK, but you’ll want it on there for many other European countries.

CV confusion

Sometimes an American will talk about a “CV” when they’re really just talking about a resume. For example, I knew someone who was interested in an internal opportunity, and the hiring manager was encouraging anyone interested to submit a CV. I questioned whether a CV was truly needed since this wasn’t a scientific, medical, or academic position. She followed up with the hiring manager and sure enough, the hiring manager was just using the term indiscriminately and merely wanted a resume.

I suspect this type of confusion can occur when people hear foreigners, physicians, scientists, and professors using the term “CV” and they start using it synonymously with “resume.” Then other people might pick it up from them.

Using a resume and CV

Depending on the nature of your career, you might benefit from BOTH a resume AND a CV, or you might need one or the other. Having both can be a good idea for some professionals, like physician executives and nursing leaders, who might be asked for either one or both.

 

This article first appeared on www.KellyDonovan.com

The 3 types of resume feedback you’ll get

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While putting the finishing touches on a resume or LinkedIn profile, some of my clients get feedback on the documents–some of it solicited, some of it unsolicited.

Over the years, I’ve found that this feedback runs the gamut; some is helpful, some is “happy to glad,” and some is out-of-touch.

“Happy-to-glad” feedback

Some of the feedback you’ll receive is fairly benign, yet inconsequential. You could adopt these suggested changes, but it probably isn’t going to make much of a difference.

Here are some examples:

  • Use Helvetica instead of Calibri for the font.
  • Say “developed” instead of “formulated.”
  • Use “decreased” instead of “reduced.”

Ask yourself if any of those changes would matter to you as a reader. Probably not! They’re as meaningless as the classic example of changing “happy” to “glad.” Yet, many of my clients have received these types of suggestions.

You might be wondering why someone would even bother with a happy-to-glad suggestion. It’s actually very simple: it makes them feel important to provide feedback, and if they don’t see anything substantial to change, they’ll find something… anything.

Out-of-touch feedback

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of outdated resume advice circulating. Self-anointed experts share this advice on LinkedIn and in articles on various websites (some of them otherwise trustworthy). Then, people who don’t know that much about current resume trends and best practices read these tips and articles, believe them to be reliable, and share them with friends and family members.

Then there’s the folks who presumably have some expertise–someone who worked in HR a decade ago, for example. This can be tricky. Hiring trends change a lot, and LinkedIn and resume best practices are constantly evolving.

Then there are the executives, managers, HR people, college career counselors, and even resume writers whose understanding of resume best practices is based on what they learned many years ago–some of which may have been flawed advice even for the time.

So they might think that all resumes should be one page, have an objective at the top, and be black and white only.

There’s also flawed advice circulating about how to make a resume ATS-friendly (for employers’ applicant tracking software). Some of it is based on what was needed back when companies were scanning paper resumes using OCR and primitive ATS, circa 2001.

Also, executives targeting senior leadership team positions and board seats don’t need to worry about ATS, so ATS advice for these candidates isn’t necessary.

On the other hand, there are some people giving advice on resume formatting that actually is problematic for ATS. For a candidate who needs to apply online, this could cause glitches. I often receive resumes that contain formatting that would be unreadable in an ATS.

Helpful feedback

Sometimes we get resume feedback that is truly helpful. A suggestion about a bullet that might be added, for example. Some of the best advice often comes from people who have hired for the roles you’re seeking. In other words, someone at the level of your would-be boss. It might even be a former boss of yours. Just bear in mind that these folks often give a mix of helpful, “happy-to-glad,” and out-of-touch feedback! So you’ll need to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff–that’s something I help my clients do.

In fact, more often than not I find that advice coming from a particular person doesn’t ALL fall under one category. That’s what can make it so tricky–if one suggestion is solid, it’s easy to assume the rest are, too.

This article first appeared on www.KellyDonovan.com

Why you shouldn’t use an objective on your resume

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Ah, the resume objective. They were once a requirement for the top of your resume.

Now, those who are savvy about modern resume trends know that objectives are considered outdated and ineffective in today’s job market.

A couple of the key reasons objectives have fallen out of favor are:

  • The objective statement focuses heavily on what you are seeking rather than what you have to offer.
  • Most job seekers end up writing cliche-filled objective statements that are likely to result in readers rolling their eyes.

Here are a couple examples of objective statements people might have used in the past:

  • “Objective: A rewarding position within a dynamic, growing company”
  • “Objective: A software sales executive position with unlimited growth opportunities”

Doesn’t everyone want a rewarding position? Does anyone want to be in a shrinking company? What does this tell the employer, other than the fact that the person wants a marketing position (which is way too vague–there are so many flavors of marketing)?

The objective statement was intended to inform potential employers about what type of positions you are seeking and suitable for, but there are other ways to accomplish this.
What to do Instead of an Objective

You can use a summary, and possibly a headline, to convey your qualifications and the type of position you’re seeking.

Examples of headlines:

  • “Award-winning digital marketer with history of boosting website traffic, increasing conversions, and growing e-commerce revenue”
  • “Senior-level software sales executive fueling profitable growth through strategic partnerships”

Does that tell the employer more right off the bat compared to the objective statement example above? Of course it does! It hits on exactly the types of things an employer would want in a digital marketer. And there isn’t any question about what type of jobs you’re seeking–you’re obviously seeking digital marketing jobs; no confusion there, and no objective needed.

Your sizzling headline can then be followed by a summary consisting of a few bullet points, or a paragraph, or a short paragraph followed by a few bullet points. You can also include a core competencies section (a list of skills) if you want.

Nails in the coffin of the objective statement

Resume experts started using headlines and summaries instead of objectives about a decade ago, but it takes a VERY long time for every professional, executive, and career counselor to hear about the latest trends in resume writing. So there are still a fair number of folks who are using objectives and recommending objectives.

If you have a resume book that recommends the use of an objective, check to see when the book was published. Any book published more than a decade ago is likely to contain a lot of outdated information.

Here are a couple relatively recent books that emphasize the use of a summary instead of an objective:

  • Resumes for Dummies, 8th Ed. (Wiley, 2019) [I was a contributor to this book]
  • Modernize Your Resume (Emerald Career Publishing, 2016)

This article first appeared on KellyDonovan.com

Introduction to “resume speak”

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Resumes are a little weird, whether we’re talking about an executive resume or a resume for an individual contributor.

You might wonder if the wording you see on professionally written resumes is grammatically correct. It’s correct (sort of).

Welcome to the world of “resume speak!”

“Resume speak” is the unique style that has become the standard for resume writing. Decision makers, executive recruiters, and HR executives usually expect and appreciate resumes written in this style.

With that being said, there is really no right or wrong in resume writing, and 10 different “experts” will give you 10 different opinions about a resume.

How resume speak is different from standard writing

1. Writing in “first person implied,” omitting personal pronouns.

Resumes should be written in first person, which means it’s written as though you’re writing about yourself. However, the standard, accepted practice is to leave out personal pronouns like “I,” “my,” and “me.” This style is referred to as “first person implied.”

Examples for present tense — for your current job:
– First person (normal writing): I develop marketing campaigns…
– First person implied (resume speak): Develop marketing campaigns…

Examples for past tense — for previous jobs:
– First person (normal writing): I launched a marketing campaign…
– First person implied (resume speak): Launched a marketing campaign…

What about third person?

Some people, when writing their resumes, use phrases like “develops marketing campaigns.” That means they’re essentially writing in third person implied, since third person with a pronoun would be “she develops marketing campaigns,” “he develops marketing campaigns,” etc.

Ultimately, it’s your resume and your choice. But the standard among professional resume writers (and my preference) is to use first person implied rather than third person implied. A reader is assuming that you wrote your resume yourself, so why would it be in any form of third person?

Are personal pronouns ever acceptable?

The occasional, thoughtful use of a personal pronoun or two on a resume can be perfectly fine — innovative, even. HR guru Liz Ryan advocates “human” language with personal pronouns in a resume, although this has yet to catch on.

In some cases, I’ve opted to use “my” or “I” on an executive resume if it allowed me to elegantly express a thought in one or two lines rather than writing a long, confusing, and nearly incomprehensible bullet.

While “first person implied” is a wonderful invention, you should not fear the occasional pronoun when there is a good reason for it. The Pronoun Police will not come to arrest you and shatter any chance you had of landing a new position.

2. Omitting articles

In resume speak, we usually don’t include as many articles as normal writing. Articles are “the,” “a,” and “an.”

It doesn’t hurt to include them, but resume statements can sometimes be more powerful when we limit unnecessary use of articles — and limiting them also conserves the limited real estate we have to work with on a typical two-page executive resume (or the even more limited space on a one-page professional resume).

Sometimes articles are necessary to ensure that the meaning of something is understandable, so I do include some articles–just not all the articles that I would include if I were writing a different type of document, like an essay for an English class.

Examples:

– Normal writing: I drove a 23% increase in EBITDA by…

– Resume speak with limited articles: Drove 23% increase in EBITDA by…

The resume speak example omits the “a” before the number, as it’s not necessary in resume speak. However, if you prefer a more natural-sounding style, it’s fine to include more articles than typical resume speak.

Additonal resources on resume speak:

http://career-advice.monster.com/resumes-cover-letters/resume-writing-tips/resume-critique-checklist/article.aspx

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/five-tips-for-better-resume-writing.html

How does resume speak translate on LinkedIn? Is there LinkedIn speak?

Best practices for LinkedIn profiles have evolved to be different from best practices for resumes. Here are some points to consider when evaluating the use of resume speak on your LinkedIn profile.

  • The “About” section works best when it’s in regular first person, not resume speak. I incorporate plenty of pronouns into an About section and write it in a conversational style.
  • For the job descriptions in your experience section, the choice is up to you. You could stick with the resume speak approach, or throw in more articles to make it sound more natural. And yes, you could even use pronouns (gasp!) if you want, although I usually don’t.

Other style considerations: one space or two after a period?

I put only one space after a period on resumes and LinkedIn profiles, which has become the preferred practice in modern times — even though you probably learned to use two spaces back when you were in school.

One space is now the standard for many types of writing, and most style guides support this. Only the American Psychological Association’s style guide continues to recommend two spaces.

Some under-40 readers will perceive two spaces as an indication that you follow outdated practices, especially if you’re over 40.

In 2020, Microsoft announced that MS Word would begin flagging two spaces as an error–a clear harbinger that the extra space is on its way out.

This article first appeared on KellyDonovan.com

 

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