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Rising Star Resumes
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Any one of these 5 #resumemistakes can derail your #jobsearch! Learn how to fix them.

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Think you're going to be subjected to another of my rants on how networking is THE way to get hired?

Not this time. For this post, I decided to share some actual, true, unadulterated, legitimate experiences both from my years running Human Resources departments as well as from the past few years helping clients with their job searches. The common theme here is that none of these people got hired simply by uploading a resume and hoping it got read by the decision maker.

#1 In 2007, a hiring manager in the Sales & Marketing team got approval to hire a Salesforce.com administrator for the new business development pipeline . "Get me a Salesforce ninja," he instructed. So I wrote up a job description and posted the opening on LinkedIn, and within an hour, I had about 50 resumes in my inbox from which I culled a short list of 8 candidates whose experience and/or skill set matched. But the hiring manager didn't like any of them, so I identified others. None of them clicked, even though the keywords on their resumes matched what he was looking for. Finally, I brought up Nick, one of my kids' friends who had just graduated college with a B.A. in Music - a suggestion met with derision as there was zero match between his experience and the job requirements.

"I can't make you hire him," I said. "But I can insist you interview him." I figured that while Nick didn't have a chance, at least he'd get experience interviewing.

So Nick came in, and walked out of the interview smiling. My heart sunk. Clearly he hadn't read the hiring manager's polite resistance. But he was was right to be excited; he got the job. Why? He was so obviously an outlier, yet my advocacy and his enthusiasm (he taught himself Salesforce in just a few days) made the difference. UPDATE: 10 years later, Nick has earned Salesforce certification (he's a ninja now), and has progressed in both responsibility and compensation.

#2 Angela is an experienced retail merchandiser - a buyer who excels at promoting and displaying home goods. In advance of her employer closing down, she spent 5 months uploading her resume and a customized cover letter for openings in Florida, where she and her husband hoped to relocate. Not one bite, despite her significant qualifications, and despite her resume seemingly having sufficient keywords to satisfy the ATS. Then I remembered that Dina, a former client in Florida, was a recruiter for a large retailer, so I forwarded Angela's resume to her with a personal note. Dina called Angela, and the following week, Angela flew to Jacksonville for an interview.

#3 On my way to Kripalu, my favorite yoga & meditation retreat, I got an email from Sharon, another former client, asking me to help her young friend Paul. I didn't see how I could help; Paul had a series of odd jobs and no training or certification in anything. "It's not clear to me what Paul does or is capable of doing based on his employment history," I pointed out. Sharon rattled off a list of professions that Paul might try to get into, and parenthetically noted that he loved jewelry design. Ok - duly noted, but snow ball's chance, right?

Within minutes of arriving at Kripalu, I met a lovely woman who happened to be a jewelry designer with a successful retail business. "Would you be open to hiring an intern?" I asked her. "I would," she replied. Fast forward a few weeks; she and Paul met and now he has an internship in a field he loves, with real experience to put on his resume, an opportunity he had zero chance of getting had he not been personally recommended (and had the karma not been perfectly aligned).

#4 My own story bears out how well it works for job candidates to have someone advocate on their behalf. Twice during a 2011 job search, I received almost immediate rejection emails from the ATS at companies where I had applied by uploading my resume. Fortunately, I knew enough to search for 2nd degree connections at every company where I applied, and while most of these virtual strangers tried to help, the strategy wasn't foolproof. Except in both these cases, I got a phone call from two hiring managers who got my resume not from the ATS, but from the 2nd degree connections who had forwarded it to them at my request. After interviewing at both companies, I accepted an offer at one.

Would you like help crafting your employee brand for a resume that earns you interviews? I'm Lynda Spiegel, founder of Rising Star Resumes, a job search and resume writing service. With 15+ years’ experience as a human resources professional, I leverage my experience to help professionals in a variety of industries achieve their career goals. Bragging rights earned as a Wall Street Journal Expert Panelist. Email Lynda@risingstarresumes.net or in the U.S. or Canada call (718) 897 – 5074.







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“I’d like you to write me a kind of generic resume so I can apply for a variety of jobs.” I hear this request at least once a week, which means the job seeker is stuck listening to me rant for 15 minutes about why a generic resume is a complete and total waste of your money.

And what do these folks mean by “a generic resume?” Are they asking me to write about their careers in generic terms? Should the resume itself be generic? The word “generic,” after all, means “non-specific.” Why do people think that non-specificity is the way to attract employers?
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