Final Update Thank you so much to the entire Reddit community that engaged with us here! Awesome questions! We really enjoyed the conversations and we hope we helped many of you. We're sorry that we couldn't address every single post.

For those that signed up for the resume review - bear with us. We have several emails with tech support requests for the file upload, and we'll get back to you ASAP too. We'll be working extremely hard over the next week to get a reviewed product back in your hands.

Best of luck to ALL of you that are on this journey. Stay positive, stand out, and think like the employer.

We're thinking of compiling and addressing a lot of these posts (including the ones we didn't answer) a little deeper. If this interests you, click here to let us know. We're not doing a spammy newletter thing with this - just trying to gauge interest to see if it's worth it, because it'll be a lot of work!

Take care all,

Peter and Jenny

Update 2- Amazing response here Reddit. Thanks for all the awesome questions. We're trying hard to keep up but we are falling behind...sorry. We'll keep working on the most upvoted comments for a couple more hours!!!

Hey Reddit! This is Peter Denbigh proof and Jenny Harvey. We're a diverse duo that help people land interviews, and as part of that, help these folks create great resumes. More about us here.
We're doing an IAmA for the next 12 hours, and want to help as many people as we can. Ask us anything that relates to resumes, and we'll help. Need your resume reviewed? See #3, below.

Here are a few things that will help this go smoothly:

  1. We're going to be candid and not necessarily give you the Politically Correct answer. Don't be insulted.

  2. We're expressing our opinions based on many years of experience, research, and being in this craft. If you're another HR person that differs with our opinion, you are of course welcome to say so. But we're not going to get into a long, public debate with you.

  3. We are accepting resume review requests, but please understand we can't do this for free. We set up a special page just for this IAmA, where we'll review your resume for $30, and we're limiting that to the first 50 people. Click here to go there and read more about what's included. The purpose of this IAmA is not to make money, hopefully as evidenced by the price.

  4. We'll get to as many questions as we can and we won't dodge any that have been upvoted (as long as they pertain to the topic at hand)

  5. We'll try to keep our answers short, for your benefit and ours.

  6. I (Peter) am the author of 20 Minute Resume, which has been an Amazon Kindle best seller and is used in many colleges and universities as the career offices guide for students (hence the "published" part in the title).

  7. Let's have fun at this. It's a serious topic that could use a little personality, don't you think?

UPDATE Woah, we sold out of all $30 reviews really fast. So, we're going to add 40 more slots, but we can't promise those in 5-7 days. It'll be more like 10-12 days. So, if you are signing up after ~1:30pm EDT, know that the timeframe will be longer. After these 40 are gone, we can't open up any more, sorry. Just don't want to over promise. Thanks for the understanding.

Comments: 1875 • Responses: 67  • Date: 

gwig9971 karma

I served for 8 years in the military but don't want to keep doing what I did in the service out in the civilian world. Aside from the military training and certifications I received I have very little in the way of experience in a traditional workplace and have been stuck working dead end jobs while I try to make a switch to a career that I might enjoy. Do you have any advice on things I should highlight that would make me stand out from the crowd? How best to highlight the things I learned in the military that might serve me in the current job market?

TRBPrint401 karma

I'm here! GREAT question, and first let me say, don't discount yourself or your skills. Your military experience is absolutely enticing to most fact, I can't think of a single HR professional or CEO, Plant Manager, President or Hiring Manager who wouldn't want to look at you very closely.

TRBPrint324 karma's what I propose: take a blank sheet of paper and draw 6 big boxes: Logistics, Management, Communications, IT, Certifications/Awards and Other Within each box, write several brief entries of the work that you had done while enlisted. Think in specific terms, and don't worry if you use jargon that's unrecognizable to the rest of us (What the hell is a CB1015A Certification???) Just jot it down. This should take an hour or more - don't be shy, and gather any discharge info you need to do it thoroughly.

TRBPrint288 karma

Next, have someone who you admire that works in a professional capacity - especially in the line of work you WANT to be in (have you decided what that is? Totally separate conversation, but important. Crucial.) Have that person (or people, maybe 2-3) look at your "boxes". Have them identify which of these entries are similar enough to the civilian world to be useful, and which are simply too military (ask them to help you re-phrase these if possible. If you were a sharpshooter, first of all, remind me not to tick you off. Secondly, unless you're aiming [ha, ha, little career humor there] for a Secret Service position, that's not going to be re-worked into a skill most offices need...EXCEPT it could be used as "attention to detail". Not a lie - you were very attentive to every detail!!

TRBPrint237 karma

Finally, once your entries have been extrapolated to your new intended career target, you can begin the work of crafting a resume that's practical for many applications in the civilian world. I have no doubt that you have plenty of background to fill an entire resume, you simply need to decide which of your skill areas you want to highlight - if you want to get into marketing, emphasize communication. If warehousing is a good fit (great career, excellent money) your logistics training and the structure you served under is priceless. See how it works? You just need to approach this as someone with YEARS of successful employment and skills that are portable to all kinds of sectors. BEST WISHES - and thank you, sincerely, for keeping my family and me safe. You guys and girls do the things I'm too afraid to even consider, and you do it every day with little pay and a whole lot of challenges. Thank you for writing!! You've got a bright future ahead - let me know how it turns out!

TRBPrint179 karma

This is Peter - I'll add some thoughts here too.

We had a NCAA D1 Athlete below ask a similar question, and my approach is similar to that. In addition to what Jenny wrote above, let's also think outside of the technical aspects. What else are you good at? Handling stress, chaos, teams, leadership, problem solving, high work loads, discipline, and a whole, whole lot more.

How you organize this info depends greatly on the amount and type of info, and the job opp at hand. Maybe chronological, maybe skills - there again is where your friends might help. Our reddit stash has some samples and templates for each of these.

You're in a better position than most career switchers, in that you have a highly respected, diverse, and proven background backing you up. The hard part, though, is crafting that into civilian terms.

I am not an expert on this part, but I do know there are both programs AND specific companies that have great programs to hire military. *Maybe some other Redditors can chime in here? *

Thank you, sincerely, for your service and for keeping my family safe.

gwig9156 karma

Wow. This is fantastic information. You've definitely given me some ideas on how to tweak my resume. I can't thank you enough. On another note my question looks to have helped out some other vets which makes me even happier. Thank you again and I'll probably be looking to your company to take a look at my resume once I've had a chance to apply your advice.

TRBPrint92 karma

Please do! I'll be glad to help - and mention that you're our vet from Reddit when you do, ok? I want to know more and show you my gratitude.

TRBPrint131 karma

This is a great question and one we'll both be at risk of going too deep on. Jenny is getting back from lunch in just a few minutes, and I'd like for her to take first dibs on this. I'll (Peter) chime in shortly thereafter. So hang tight for just a few more minutes.

lifehole962 karma

Why jenny, why must you be 15 minutes late to people on the INTERNET!?

TRBPrint95 karma

It was my 15 minutes of I'm just a regular Jenny again. sigh

TRBPrint43 karma

Just spoke to Jenny and she's back from lunch. Reply coming soon.

arctic929 karma

Perhaps go back to school if you haven't been to college yet. I know dozens of people taking advantage of the GI Bill. My oldest friend taking advantage of that has got to be in his forties.

Harry_Seaward23 karma

BTW, you have 10 years to use your benefits.

TRBPrint24 karma

Most colleges will have a Veteran's representative. Our state has a program specifically for Veteran's issues upon transition (Virginia Values Veterans - V3.

I hope other states have similar resources, too!

Xcasinonightzone542 karma

Say there's a city that I want to move to that is 1,000 miles away. Do you think it would be easier to move to that city without a job (with enough money saved to survive for a while of course) and then start applying for jobs, or is it easier to try to find a job from afar and move once you get hired?

I guess I'm asking which is more desirable to an employer, and if it's the latter, how do you express your financial abilities and desires to move in a cover letter, and if it's the former, how do you express that you really wanted to move to that city and had to do so without a job.

TRBPrint972 karma

From an employer's perspective, I'll offer this: 1. If you already live here but don't yet have a job, I know you need me more than I need you, so your $ offer will be less. 2. If you don't already live here, I'm having two thoughts: a. Is this person going to ask for relocation $? b. Damn, if it doesn't work out, I'll feel bad that they up and moved just for this (not everyone's this nice though).

The best way I've seen others avoid this is to apply for jobs BEFORE you move, and set up phone interviews. Indicate that you're moving regardless, and you're "really pleased with the response you've gotten from employers there!". Hopefully you can say this genuinely.

This does two things - 1. Disarms the relocation $ question a little, because you're going to move anyhow. 2. Still keeps the carrot dangling a little, since you're desired by others.

I'll end with this - start the job hunt now, before you move. Do tele interviews, and schedule in-person interviews to coincide with a trip that way. In this job market, you don't want to leap before you look.

That help? Let me know any followup questions.

Bekabam148 karma

Hopefully I can tag on a supplemntal question along the same lines.

Many people now are leaving their physical address off of their resume, mainly for 2 reasons:

  1. We live in a digital age where email and telephone are the main ways to communicate with employers, and so physical address doesn't really apply.

  2. Geographic discrimination, as you pointed out, is still very prevalent in the job market.

Thoughts on this? Good/bad idea to leave off your physical address?

I can see that relocation $ may still be in their mind if they have no idea where you're from, but if you can catch a phone interview then you can dismiss the ideas.

TRBPrint138 karma

Yeah, I generally don't like recommending anything subversive. If folks want to try to focus attention away from their physical location, it's their choice...but I know most of the resumes I reviewed I would wonder and when I sat/chaired committees it was always discussed if left off. People are naturally nosy, they're looking to make a connection with you - a picture in their mind if you will - and part of that is formed based on where you live. It's not PC, but it's true. I meant politically correct there, maybe I should have used "kind" instead.

TRBPrint51 karma

This is Peter - I'll add that a cover letter is a good way to address geographic concerns. "I live a long way away BUT I'm moving there", etc. (not that phrase but you get the point)

TRBPrint58 karma

Personally, I'm a planner and though a wild and crazy girl (Peter, chime in here) I couldn't be comfy in a city where I have few connections and no job. I would prefer to apply, find out what the market is like, and then make a move based on the foundation I'd created ahead of time (how much money is enough to survive for a while? Are you sure??). That's just the old geezer in me. If I was 20 (I know, you're shocked as I am. Where did 20 go??) I would have answered that differently. With a family, I need security. By yourself, you might be fine with moving first... From an employer's viewpoint, most people are a bit (tad here, not hugely) biased toward folks they can picture living down the road or in the next suburb over. When I receive a resume from afar, I expect that the applicant will address this in the cover letter. Why do you want to move here? What appeals to you? Be honest, but not gushing. It's a little uncommon but not unheard of. In the interview you can get into a bit more detail and say really flattering (but TRUE!) things about the company...however, it's even more reason to have a firecracker of a resume and cover letter to get in the door.

ArmadilloZero374 karma

Do you ever feel like you are helping incompetent people get jobs they are not qualified for?

TRBPrint379 karma

Ha, well, sometimes. I'm (Peter) a pretty candid guy though, so I tend to be honest with the person. When we start looking at what I call "Work impacts" (aka - what did you do to benifit the last place) we often come to the "mutual" realization that they might be aiming a bit high. We also talk about honesty and ensure what they're putting down is true.

There's also a degree of separation too - a good resume will get you an interview, not a job. They'd have to bluff the interview process to actually get hired.

The gray zone is when we're helping folks with stretch goals - those they aren't necessarily 100% ready for but want to go for it anyhow.

TRBPrint113 karma

I love that question. This is Jenny now - I can pretty honestly assess how well someone who comes to me for help on a resume might do during an interview - and I try to share that information when appropriate. For instance, if their soft skills (speech patterns, comfort with strangers, ability to make small talk, handshake, eye contact) are poor, I'll try to give them a few tips and recommend a longer meeting to practice, as in a mock interview format. If they're stellar and really personable, I share that as well. But I echo what Peter said, too - if they're truly not ready for a job that they want to write a resume for, it's clear. I'm NEVER going to help someone lie or puff themselves up - it's wrong and simply a waste of time for them and the company.

Hautamaki78 karma


Sorry, I'm an English teacher. Just can't let that slide.

Thanks to eatsleepshit.

TRBPrint208 karma


TRBPrint70 karma

Guess who edits Peter??? :) Sorry, man, you opened that door.
Couldn't help myself.

eatsleepshit18 karma

Comma splice!

TRBPrint5 karma

I really, really, totally love the comma splice. It's such a cute little way to make people halt, then halt again! Thanks for your comment - I smiled. Favorite book: Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Genius!! I would have titled it Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, however. And there goes the whole joke!!

BigPainterGuy290 karma

I have an interesting problem:

I have a Master's, and I need to hide it from my job history to get interviews where I live. (Yes, it's a MFA; as seen in my username) How can I do this and not be a total pants-burning liar?

TRBPrint368 karma

As in Liar, liar, pants on fire? Love it. Yeah, you definitely don't want that. On an application you're normally obligated to list ALL experience, educational pursuits, etc. so they've got you there...but on the resume, you choose what you want to highlight. Just put "Related Education" and leave that MFA off there.

TTTaToo101 karma

Why do you need to leave it off?

ballshazzer316 karma


TRBPrint385 karma

Yep, resumes need to be tailored to the job at hand. Sometimes, life's turns require seeking a job that might be a departure from your history. (this is sometimes a great thing, BTW).

So, don't "forget" about your experience, just spin it differently.

I will caution you though - that when you leave something off but it comes up in an interview, be prepared to back up why you left it off, ya know? "So you say you have a MFA, but you don't list it here. What else are you hiding?" Don't act cornered, act confident. "If I listed everything I've done in my life, I'd fill up 5 pages, and I know you don't have time for that!" (Then, quickly change the subject). Sound fair?

ryken122 karma

If I'm hiring a new admin assistant and some Joe with 6 years in the local orchestra and an MFA applies, I'm not hiring him because he's going to leave as soon as his next audition lands him a gig.

TRBPrint71 karma

Ryken brings up a great point, and something that speaks to "put yourself in the shoes of the job". This is a total real, and very legit concern.

So speak to that in the interview. Since you tailored your resume for the job, you'll get the interview, right? RIGHT?!

SgCaudata285 karma

  • What is the worst error someone can make on their resume? (besides the obvious, like outright lying)
  • What is the most common error you see?

TRBPrint969 karma

Just thought of another big one, confusing job responsibilities with what I call "Work Impacts."

For example: Cashier Responsibilities: take payment from customers. Don't put that on your resume. Work Impacts: Coordinated 45 transactions/day, served as customer point-of-contact, balanced money drawer at end of shift, etc.

TL;DR: Don't list your job description - list how you (positively) impacted the job

TRBPrint267 karma

Worst error: not proofreading effectively, or not asking someone with a really strong grasp of spelling, grammar, tone, etc. to read it through and be honest. It's got to be error-free and it's got to read smoothly. You want to ensure your margins are aligned, it's "clean" and "crisp" and it shows an accurate reflection of who you are.

Most common: Not personalizing (or making specific, since it's not human!) to each job at each company where you apply. Too many people use the same resume for every job...this is bad juju!!

TRBPrint222 karma

The other worst error that immediately destines the doc for File 13: forgetting to change something that was tailored for another company. Company name is the usual WTF moment.

Also, if you're a smoker, don't let that smell get on your resume.

Elranzer227 karma

How do I make my .docx files smell like smoke??

TRBPrint406 karma

Just type really, really fast!

JoeyJoJoJrShabbadoo60 karma

I have been out of work for over a year. Is there anything I can do to still be considered for a job? I cant find employment anywhere and sending out 20 resumes a day with zero results will be the reason I eventually throw myself off a bridge.

TRBPrint163 karma

Please avoid the bridge.

Look into a Skills base resume - it's great for covering employment gaps. I'll post a quick sample and template in our Reddit dropbox stash

Also, have someone you trust, but that's honest, look at your resumes. 20/day is a huge # and there's more to the story.

HooRaeForHops52 karma

When you are young, you tend to get glossed over. Everybody wants 4 years min of experience in a specialty trade. How am I supposed to obtain the experience if you won't hire me!? I have easily sent 10 resumes a day 3 times a week for the past 4 months, so it is definitely possible.

TRBPrint41 karma

Absolutely - spend more time customizing your resume so it's not general and speaks to the person reviewing it that you created it just for this opportunity. Also consider volunteering or finding an internship in your field (unpaid is far more common) and networking: who do you know that does what you'd like to and you could ask some questions, get some real ideas on where to begin?

TRBPrint18 karma

Networking gives some opportunity here. Get in front of the people that either make or influence the decision. This can include LinkedIn (where references are easy to have).

Also, remember that "experience" can be somewhat relative. While staying honest, consider things you did in school that might have given you some experience. Experience also doesn't have to be paid experience. If you're a programmer and have been programming for fun since you were 13, you have experience my friend!

T_at50 karma

You might get better results sending out 1 resume per day if it has been specifically tailored to reflect your match to the requirements of the job you're applying for. If you just have one 'generic' resume, you probably won't get far.

Also, be realistic about the roles you would be suitable for.

TRBPrint63 karma

Agreed. Look into what is called the 80/20 rule. 80% of your results will usually come from 20% of your effort. T_at's reply is speaking exactly to this.

So think to yourself - "if it takes 1 hr to send out 20 resumes, what would it look like if I sent out 2 but spent 30 minutes on each ensuring they were 100% spot on to the respective job opportunity?"

Worth a try for sure.

imnotthatkindoforc108 karma

As someone who spends the majority of their work day reviewing resumes and hiring people I can't emphasize how important it is to proof read, then have someone else check it over as well.

All too often I see people spend way too much time on fancy formatting, only to find the actual content of the resume to be a catastrophe.

Another little pet peeve of mine I notice quite a bit: oddly switching tenses in the middle of a resume. A lot of people tend to describe their old jobs in the past tense, and their current or most recent work in the present. Then that person reuses their resume when they go job hunting again, add some new work experience, but change tenses again without fixing the old one. The whole thing ends up reading rather awkwardly. Better to just stick with past tense for the whole thing.

TRBPrint102 karma

Sage advice! We insist that people have someone else read their resume, because that other person will read what was "actually" written vs. what they think was written.

A quick tip with Word - if you "Crtl-a" or "Opt-a" your resume, the font selection in the dropdown list will remain the same if all the font in the resume is the same. If the selection window goes blank, you have a different font sneaking in there somewhere.

whatsmydickdoinghere25 karma

What if I am not "clean" and "crisp"

TRBPrint78 karma

Serious answer?
Even if you're not C&C, you can still create an excellent resume though, right? (if they don't need to "see" you when you submit the resume). Then, come interview time, you can sacrifice for one day and clean yourself up. Then, see if the job is right for you. Boring answer, I know, but it's mostly reality.

Now, we could get into a whole discussion about what's the right job for you here. C&C isn't for everyone, and not every job needs C&C. It becomes a question to you of which is most important to you - your lifestyle or your future earning potential.

Not Serious Answer? Join a rock band or crew. Any other suggestions for this person?

ThrowMeAway4Another251 karma

I have been a stay at home mom for the last few years, but am now looking for a job, what is a positive spin I can put on that so they don't focus on the fact that I haven't had a job in 4 years?

TRBPrint128 karma

This is Peter - and Jenny may have more to offer here soon.

First, look to a Skills resume. Chronological might not be the best fit (but you be the judge based on your situation).

SAH moms usually do a lot of volunteer work and have other projects on the side. Be sure to remember these. Also, think about some things you could do at home, such as contribute articles to some blogs or websites, persue education, etc. (all that said, trust me that I know SAH does NOT equal "home on the couch!"

Here's an article you might find interesting. Anything to add here Jenny?

speedy621199 karma

I am a 5th year chemical engineering student with a substantial amount of experience and I used to have "home brewing" as an interest on my resume. I had a chief engineer at company tell me that people might get the wrong idea from that. However, every interview I had the people seemed to really get excited about it and start asking me tons of questions. What are your thoughts on including interests/hobbies on a resume, no matter how professional it is?

TRBPrint263 karma

They key phrase in your question is "no matter how professional it is".

MY thoughts (this is Peter): I like a little personality in a resume. It helps you stand out. When you call me to follow up, or you come into an interview, I'll say "Oh hey, that's Gary, the homebrew guy."

It's a tough call, especially over Reddit, as to which way you go there. Is the HR person super conservative and totally against alcohol? Or are they super down to earth and share that common interest with you?

Look to the culture of the business, if possible. You might find out pretty quickly if it's a place where that'd be cool vs. taboo.

TL;DR: Personality is great in a resume, it helps you stand out. It's also a fine line. Avoid controversial topics until you meet the interviewer face to face.

TRBPrint17 karma

Most folks will be fine with it, if it relates somewhat and fleshes you out as a human being with verve. I agree with Peter...and as for folks who would be offended, would you want to work with teetotalers? Maybe not. Of course, that could just be the hiring person whom you'd never have to deal with, but...

kishbish154 karma

In school, teachers and professors always stressed including an "objective" at the top of your resume, I.e., "Objective: To utilize my skills in [field] in [company environment.]" Even at the time, I thought it was dumb - obviously my objective is to work in the field I'm qualified for in the job I'm applying to - it seemed redundant to include it. I've never included an objective, and lo, I've never had any trouble. I have done some hiring, and whenever I see "objective" on a resume, to me it makes it sound like either the person is really young and inexperienced and is just doing what the teachers taught them, or else they found something online and ran with it. It's never kept me from interviewing someone but my hunch about them usually turns out to be correct.

My question is - how do you guys feel about including an objective?

TRBPrint142 karma

Alright, I hear what you and some of the replies below are saying, but I'm going to challenge your thinking a bit.

Look at this from the employer's perspective, not yours. If you're an IT contractor, then I bet the jobs you typically apply to have 100 other openings concurrently, yes? So, somehow, you must note with job ID or # your're applying to. This is, essentially, your objective. No (ok, that's a strong word) HR manager appreciates a resume being plopped down on their desk, sans objective, with the expectation that THEY find the best spot for YOU. It's YOUR obligation to research the company and the opportunities, and know where you fit. Not theirs.

So I'm going to go against the grain on this one and say that YES, an objective IS REQUIRED. Now, I'm not necessarily saying a traditional objective is required ("PHP programmer working on XYZ") (though that's ok...), but some indication of where you should be is required. An Admin Assistant might have something like, "Seeking a support position requiring excellent business management skills in an office environment." That is specific enough w/o getting too broad.

The key to a well-crafted objective is that it not only describes what the person WANTS to do, it also gives a feeling of what the person CAN do.

Greenee135 karma

What's the etiquette for following-up after sending in a resume?

Is it different for different situations? (Say, responding to an online posting vs. sending a resume to someone you have already met.)

TRBPrint126 karma

It's fine to attempt to contact the hiring manager, though most places make it difficult and your email won't be responded to or your phone call demoted to a message for the admin. assistant....however, you have every right to try to contact the company so long as you're not being a jerk. If you've not heard back in 2-3 weeks, consider trying to contact and asking if there is any feedback the company might be able to provide about your application materials. Some places will do so, especially if they're smaller. I don't see a difference for different situations, except that you might have better luck if you attempt phone contact. Email is really easy to ignore.

Soudie2398 karma

After I got out of the military I had about 4 crappy jobs that lasted about 4 to 6 months each, then I started the career I wanted to be in and am now looking a different job. I have been in my current job for 3 years and the one before that for 5 years. I want the military listed on my resume plus the 2 good jobs but I hate listing the 4 useless jobs on there because they are irrelevant, but I don't want gaps either. How should I format it? Is ok to list relevant jobs and length of time you had them and not use dates?

TRBPrint86 karma

Honestly, if you're currently employed and there won't be a gap before your next job, I'd just leave the irrelevant ones out completely. That gap will be in the past and shouldn't (shouldn't!) affect you.

Unfortunately, dates are usually "required". Sends up a red flag if dates are omitted.

edit - remember, the purpose of a resume isn't to get you the job, it's to get you the interview. The interview is your opportunity to explain the gap. As an employer, I'd be fine with that gap for the reasons you listed, especially given that you have 8 years SINCE then of steady employment.

henderman86 karma

Should you write your resume in third or first person.

TRBPrint151 karma

Jenny is more of the grammar girl, so she might correct me on the right term of this - but I'm going to say "neither"

You don't say "I raised profits 45%" - you say "Raised profits 45%" Check out the chronological resume sample from our reddit stash of files on Dropbox - click here. This will show you much better than I can tell you.

TRBPrint9 karma

Grammar Girl to the rescue!! Peter, you're right on track. Remove pronouns when you can - this is business, it's not personal :)

cecysnyder67 karma

Customizing resumes for each interview is very time consuming. Do you have any tips on how to streamline the process?

TRBPrint111 karma

Sure - let's take a Chronological resume for example here:

  1. Have two Word docs. One is your resume, the other is for "Scrap"
  2. Preformat all of your jobs to the same format, so each could be pasted into the resume as needed
  3. Cut and paste into the resume as needed. If it doesnt' apply, cut from teh resume and put over in your scrap doc. Chances are you've hand fewer than 5-6 jobs in the past 5 years, so you won't have a lot of moving to do.

Next approach - say you're looking for something in either Management OR finanance. You're applying to 10 jobs, 5 in each. So, you'd need 2 resumes - one that focuses on Management, one on Finanace. Right?

Last, you SHOULD take the time to research each company to which you are applying, if only for 5 minutes. Then, do a touch of tailoring to your resume to fit their company. Some terms, some acronyms, some specific topics you know will catch there eye.

WHY? Simple - invest 8-10 minutes into a job that you might be with for YEARS. It's a good payoff.

J_B_Grenouille56 karma

Hi Guys, thanks for doing this AMA.

1.My first name is slightly long tricky to pronounce... I saw on the Freakonomics documentary that CVs with ethnic names statistically have lower odds of getting picked. In my day to day life I use a similar, shorter and more common version of my own name, because its just more practical and easier for people to remember. Can I use this name on my CV instead?

2.I'm an Architect. Is there a specific format for architectural CVs?, should I just mention the Studios I've work on, or should I include the buildings I've been involved with? The jobs I've found in the past I just kind of landed on account of recommendations, so I'm kind of a CV virgin.


TRBPrint34 karma

Use the shorter name. It's a shame, but that's reality. Same reason that overseas tech support folks have very western names.

An architect resume is going to be a mix of a standard resume and a design portfolio. 1-2 page resume, and a portfolio of whatever length and format that works for you.

trowawayatwork55 karma

Hi Peter and Jenny,

I feel this will be more as sort of a consultancy than an actual AMA, but you stated that you are here to help. I am assuming that you are the founders of you business since you created a book on it that is widely used. Did you guys start off as HR oriented professionals and then found a gap in the market and decided to cater to that?

Secondly, I am struggling to land my dream job in the finance industry, and have never seen a truly successful formula for such a CV. Do you have a link to template that would satisfy most HR professionals?

TRBPrint65 karma

This is Peter, and I'll let Jenny reply separately. I wrote 20 Minute Resume because I knew there had to be a more systemized way to craft a resume. So I did a bunch of research, worked with several HR people, found the "best practices" of what I call "winning" resumes, and filtered that info down to a framework. So, that's how I got into this. Then, I found it fun and fascinating, so that's why I stayed around!

I'll pop a 2-page chronological resume template in our shared resource dropbox you - just click here.

And a quick clarification for you - A CV is typically for academic and research pursuits, and typically is 3+ pages long. It sounds like you want a traditional resume 2 pages MAX, with a solid cover letter to back it up.

Jenny may have more to add in a moment. Hope that helps!

TTTaToo61 karma

Point of order. In the UK, we usually use CV and almost never use resume, so the academic distinction is likely only true in the US.

TRBPrint33 karma

Fair enough. One reason we put "US" in the title. There are cultural differences anywhere we look, so thanks to TTTaToo for bringing that one up.

The best way to keep this right is to look at the job description. Does it say "Submit a Resume" or "Submit a CV"? Here's your sign ;-).

TRBPrint38 karma

Jenny here - I LOVE helping people achieve their dreams - that brings me great satisfaction. I'll never build medical devices that save lives, but I can have honest conversations about folks' goals and how to get from here to here - that's my finest hour. I actually began my career in counseling but soon found that I wanted to help people before they faced the kinds of challenges I saw...I wanted to give them hope through obtaining a career they could excel in.

As for your question, I concur with Peter - a CV is generally advisable for Education and Literature/Journalism sectors. Unless you've published or taught extensively, I would go with a traditional resume. And the template he shared should be a real help. Good luck to you!

orangejulius50 karma

How do you feel about the 1 page rule for resumes?

What's a common mistake made when creating curriculum vitaes?

What do you use to make resumes? Do you use latex at all?

TRBPrint63 karma

I personally like a one-pager. No more than 2, ever, for sure. Mine is only one page and I've been working for a while.

Common mistake for CV's? Too verbose, too lengthy and too much bragging. People want to know what you've done, but leave enough mystery so they actually want to meet you.

I use my keyboard :)

herdofkittens37 karma

What is the easiest way to cut down a resume that is too long? Is it advisable to leave short term 'filler' jobs out? (for example, I lost my job and worked fast food for two months to have an income while searching for something more worthwhile)

TRBPrint47 karma

Yes, only include relevant and positive job entries on the resume. You'll have to list all jobs on the application, but most folks understand and will admire that when times were tough, you took work that was available - hopefully that's the case here. Be honest, but don't give them a reason to wonder if you're a job hopper!!

squirtgunheadphones33 karma

I'm a former NCAA D1 athlete, how can I utilize that on my resume?

TRBPrint42 karma

This is Peter - Being an athlete is a demanding job! Think about how that'll translate to your goal. Schedule, team work, demands, goals, pressure, competition, etc.

Another great use for your cover letter.

I'll also add that, depending on your sport, how important the people skills are, and that's likely something you've worked on more than most. Working with a team in a stressful situation, motivation, leadership - all that will really help you stand out. I think it's a great advantage for you. That help? If not, give us some specifics and we'll try to dig deeper.

TRBPrint11 karma

This depends on your goal - are you looking to apply for a job that would connect with collegiate-level athletics in some way? If not, I would include it for sure but push it down a bit, to the sections you've reserved for "Activities". If the job you're applying for is, say, coaching or as an Athletic Director, I'd include it more prominently in your "Related Experience" section. It might not have been paid, but all relevant experience can go there, if it's legitimately connected.

jasonscsm26 karma

I am having an extremely hard time getting interviews in new positions that feature jobs I am completely qualified for or even jobs I currently do. Most of my applications have been through applying online. I feel that my resume is solid and my CLs are good.. Do you know if there is more of an inherent difficulty to getting an interview from an online application as opposed to in person?

TRBPrint44 karma

If it's online, think like a search engine - keywords. Most online submissions will get dumped to a database, and then automatically scanned for keywords. Those that rank high will get passed to a human.

For example, say you're looking to be an inventory control manager for a manufacturing firm. Be sure to include lots of keywords and jargon to "Show" the computer you're legit. JIT, FIFO, FILO, QC, Efficiency, etc etc. (just examples, I'm not a manuf inventory person)

Next, and this isn't a plug, but I would suggest that you find some HR folks that will give you some candid feedback - and just have them give it a quick look.

hoopharder23 karma

My boyfriend is concerned about listing our address on my resume, and I keep telling him he's nuts, and it should be on there. Thoughts? Thank you!

TRBPrint40 karma

If he's applying to the mobb, might be cautious.

Kidding aside, and saying that I don't know anything about your situation, it IS standard practice, so I'd side with your "nuts" comment. Hiding it could raise all sorts of speculation from the HR person.

lunchwithandy16 karma

I'm looking to get a job in a different state.
What's the best way to approach this so a hiring manager doesn't just think, "this guy is two states away. Not worth my time."?

TRBPrint24 karma

Mention in your cover letter that you'll be visiting the area on ____date, and you'd like to set up a meeting to discuss your interest in the position. Follow up with a personal phone call a few days after the Hiring Manager has reviewed your resume. Be tenacious, not whiny. It works!

nothanksdrugs6 karma

What can you put on a resume to make you stand out from other applicants

TRBPrint4 karma

Blood stains and burn marks usually help it stand out pretty well.

I'd argue that it's more of a combination of many things vs. just one thing. Check out some of the samples in our Reddit stash. Some go so far as to include a tasteful quote. (some people are scared to death of this approach - I (Peter) like it personally). You can include those horizontal bullet points at the top - catch the readers' eyes. A well written objective has a similar effect.

Any HR person worth their salt will at least give your resume a quick once-over. Herein lies your opportunity to stand out with content - think of your impacts* at your jobs, not your **job responsibilities. ("increased business 50%" vs. "sales") That help?

ArmadilloZero3 karma

Why do you not put the "é" in résumé?

TRBPrint5 karma

This is a matter of preference. Some people use it, some don't. Generally, the younger you are, the less likely you are to use it.

StoopKidsStoop2 karma

Hi all,

I'm graduating college in a few weeks and I have a question about how to put something on my resume. I've worked at Menards from august 2011-june 2012, worked for a friends company during the summer of 2012 when I was home. From August 2012-June2013 I had a job for the last 6 months. Left that job for a management internship over the summer 2013. After summer 2013, I returned to Menards until April 2014. In order to keep my resume to one page, I've had Menards as August 2011-april 2014, and then listing the summer jobs seperately. Is there a better way to do this?

sorry if it is confusing, let me know if you need details

TRBPrint8 karma

Only list Menards 08-11 to 06-12 and whenever until 04-14 - otherwise, it's not honest. You might also consider a skills-based resume where the dates are not listed (or not prominently) and your job duties take center stage. Since you're a student (or have been), this is common enough - but please know that once you find a career, you should devote yourself to staying on longer in your positions. That's a red flag for HR folks for sure. Good luck!

TRBPrint2 karma

Keep Menards as 2011-2014 but separate the dates (keep it on the same line, under 1 title), and if asked in an interview, explain the situation.
For the other jobs, just list the ones that are relevant to the potential job. The Internship for sure, just because it says "internship."
That help?