Does Your Resume STINK? Is that the problem?

Holding your nose because your resume stinks

Did you know that the number one reason most candidates don’t get called for an interview after submitting a resume is that their resume and cover letter STINKS?

Reminder – LAST CHANCE to take Advantage of our Special One-Time Resume and Cover Letter Webinar tomorrow — Friday – January 29th – Special Appreciation Rate and Bonus Materials

If you’re not getting a high number of “bites” on your resume when you forward it to networking contacts and submit it to employers for their job postings, perhaps the problem is not so much with the economy – but rather in the document you’ve created to market yourself.

Can you afford to have a resume and cover letter that STINKS?

No wonder the average time for a manager or executive to find a job is creeping beyond 6 months into the 12-18 month plus time period.

How many months will you continue to deplete your savings account and base your job search on hope and luck by using a resume and cover that STINKS?

We’ve put together a very special webinar for the members of our job search community. One hour is all it takes to learn how to create a powerful marketing document that grabs employer’s attention and makes them want to pick up the phone and call you.

The best news is that we’ve cut the price in half for our loyal readers and followers and we’ve thrown in a few HOT items that will help your job search. You’ll NOT find a less expensive webinar packed with as many ideas – tactics – and helpful advice anywhere on the Internet.

Learn the inside secrets of creating and leveraging a power marketing document to get interviews and finish your job search quickly.

Join us for this webinar (probably will only be offered ONCE this year) which is special appreciation webinar for our job search community of loyal readers and followers.

Click the link below to take advantage of this unique private offer to our job search community reducing the normal fee for the webinar from $89.95 to $39.95 and the inclusion of two of our HOT audio programs – a total value of over $150.00.
Last chance to sign up TODAY. Click this link to register now:


Join me on Friday January 29th at 9 AM to start conducting an effective job search NOW!

Barry Deutsch

Photo courtesy of megngarnett

Cover Letters Are Worthless And Outdated

I started recruiting in 1980, and in that thirty years I have either run or owned executive search firms. IMPACT Hiring Solutions is a very active executive search firm. For the first fifteen years I worked mainly in the finance and accounting field and most of the searches were contingent, meaning I got paid when the company hired a candidate that I presented to them. Until then I worked for free.

In the last fifteen years I have shifted to a retained recruiter and now my searches cover just about every functional area from HR, Sales, Finance,Operations and so on. Now as a retained recruiter I get paid when I start the search and as the search progresses.

This is only relevant to demonstrate that I have had a lot of opportunities over the last thirty years to see how recruiting and the hiring process has changed. I have been able to interact with just about every functional area in a company with literally thousands of hiring executives, HR professionals and CEOs to observe their practices. I’ve watched them screen resumes, I’ve asked if they want or read cover letters, what grabs their attention and what turns them off, what resume format they prefer and how long a resume should be.

The plain fact is that one can’t do anything for thirty years and not learn something.


With the invention of the Internet hiring changed. It continues to evolve even today with the explosion of social media and sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. When I started thirty years ago we hadn’t heard of a fax machine. Resumes and cover letters were all sent via snail mail. If that wasn’t bad enough, they were typed one at a time on a typewriter (for those of you too young to know what a typewriter is Google it for a picture or the Smithsonian has them to view). Every tiny change meant you had to retype the complete resume. Cut and paste didn’t exist.

Hence the need for the “cover letter.” Back then customizing a resume meant you had to retype it yourself (and most people back then didn’t type) or paying someone to type it which wasn’t practical or affordable. So instead, candidates added a cover letter to highlight areas in their background to match the position. Some cover letters were even handwritten and that was acceptable. Back then, the cover letter served a valuable and practical purpose.

Fast forward to the 21st century. With laptops being as common as toasters, the invention of word processing, email, social media and the fact that everyone can type, the ability to customize a resume to a specific position can be done in a matter of minutes. Hence, the traditional cover letter lost its purpose and value.

But just like a government program, once it starts it rarely goes away, so the cover letter continues to live even though it is no longer useful (just like many government programs).


All of the controversy today about cover letters lingers because so many candidates don’t know what to do or how to do it. As a result, they rely on outdated information, that is how we have always done it or that is the way we did it thirty years ago. Yeah, and my dad walked thirteen blocks everyday to school in the snow, sleet, pouring rain and without boots. Well, my kids didn’t do that because times have changed and some things just out live their usefulness e.g. 5.25 floppy disks, 8-track cassettes and DOS programming and the cover letter!!!


Cover letters can serve a purpose even today. They can still be used to highlight how your experience and skills align with the job. But that is it.

Candidates still use cover letters as a way to update their resume instead of rewriting it. They put information in the cover letter that should be in the resume and figure that it’s acceptable. WELL, IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

A cover letter today should be used like a sound bite in a commercial. It should grab the reader’s attention and get them interested enough to read your resume. Then, when they read your resume, they should find not only everything listed in the cover letter, but additional points of interest that distinguish you from all of the other candidates.

Your cover letter is simply a short advertisement about how you align with the open position, so that the reader is compelled to read your newly rewritten, focused and targeted resume for their specific position.


Should you have a cover letter or not is another point. I say “YES.” Only because over the years many HR professionals, CEOs and hiring managers have told me that they want one. They believe it is polite and a professional introduction. It is true that many don’t care if you have one or not, but it is better to have one for those that want one, and those that don’t care will just ignore it and move on.

One more way we can help you is to speak directly with you utilizing our webinars. Our time and knowledge is valuable so YES, we do charge a nominal fee for the webinar. To balance that, we also offer a lot more tools and resources for FREE than what we charge for.

We’ve DEEPLY DISCOUNTED THE WEBINAR FOR THOSE JOB SEEKERS WITHIN OUR JOB SEARCH COMMUNITY – loyal followers on Twitter, readers of our blog, and members of our LinkedIn Job Search Discussion Group.

In a lively one-hour presentation, I’ll show you the inside secrets (from a retained executive recruiter’s perspective) of how to get your resume reviewed every single time and boost your resume acceptance rate (the number of times you get called for an interview from submitting your resume) from a dismal level of less than 10% to well into the 50% PLUS RANGE. If you’re reading this blog, when you sign up for the webinar use the coupon code IMPROVEMYRESUME.

If the small, inconsequential, almost non-existent fee for the webinar is too much to bear to boost your resume acceptance rate and cut your job search time dramatically, please feel free to download our many FREE resources for job seekers, including our radio show broadcasts, cover letter sample, and other tools.

You can download for free a sample cover letter that aligns your background with the position and is not a substitute for the resume. CLICK HERE to download your sample cover letter.

Join our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group for vibrant discussions, articles and much more information to help you in your job search. CLICK HERE to join the 3600+ LinkedIn members that already have.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

HELP, Resumes Keep Coming In. What Should We Do?

I received 347 resumes just this week. On a weekly basis this is about average. Some weeks I get more, some weeks less, but over time 300 or so is not unusual.

Many of these resumes were received for a search directly via email, about 10% via snail mail, another 15% from referrals and another 15% completely unsolicited with candidates just introducing themselves.

Of these, maybe half to two-thirds had cover letters. Of those with cover letters, about 80% were worthless and I didn’t even take the time to read them. Why, because they all were almost exactly the same. As they say in the movies, “Only the names had been changed.” The other 20% I did take the time to at least scan them looking for points that might align with a current search or that at least piqued my interest.  These 20% were different in that they were not long paragraphs that simply regurgitated the resume,  but instead most were either bullet points or the two column type we recommend using and have a free sample available for all to download. (CLICK HERE to download). They were easy to scan to pick up the highlights and decide how to properly handle the resume.

Although I really don’t care one way or the other if a resume has a cover letter or not, but if a candidate is going to include one it should add value by intriguing the reader enough to look at the resume. If not, why include it?

I believe this is why most cover letters are ignored. They all look alike and do nothing to make the reader want to take a look at your resume, so the recruiter, HR, or hiring manager completely skips over them.

Of the 347 resumes, most were a complete waste of time to even review. Sorry, I know candidates don’t want to hear this, but sometimes the truth hurts.  Sending me a resume when I don’t have an active search is not going to help you. As a retained recruiter, I work the searches I have and that is my focus.  If your resume doesn’t match my clients needs then I rarely save it. Not because you aren’t a qualified person, not because you don’t have great experience, but because after 30 years of this I know the profile of candidates that I place.  If you don’t meet that profile, I don’t need your resume regardless of your experiences and abilities.

This is true of most recruiters.

I recently heard from a candidate complaining that he had sent out over 200 resumes and had heard back from only 5. Actually that isn’t bad. Mass mailing resumes is a waste of time and money. It is a complete crap shoot that anything will stick. I advise all candidates to never do this.

The best way to get your cover letter and resume noticed is to be very targeted and focused, especially with recruiters. We want to fill the position as badly as you want the position.  From my perspective, if your background is consistent with my client’s needs and you meet the basic criteria I outlined in the article, How Recruiters Read Resumes In 10 Seconds (CLICK HERE to read), you will get a call from me usually within an hour.

Those 10% that were referred to me I responded to. I always respond when a person is referred to me, even if I can’t help them. I appreciate referrals and want to respect the person that made the referral. In my opinion this is the best way to get a recruiter that you don’t know to engage you.

The unsolicited resumes were put into a file that when time permits I will review. If they meet the profile of the type of candidate that I have a high probability of placing in the future, I will add them to our database.

My partner Barry and I have written extensively on what we believe is the best way to get your resume noticed by recruiters, HR, and hiring managers.  These recommendations come from over 30 years of experience as recruiters, from asking hundreds in HR what they use as screening criteria, and from thousands of hiring managers, CEOs and key executives telling us how they review resumes. Barry and I try to pass this information along to all so it will be helpful and reduce your level of frustration by knowing what to expect when you send out a resume.

One more way we can help you is to speak directly with you utilizing our webinars.  Our time and knowledge is valuable so YES, we do charge a nominal fee for the webinar. To balance that, we also offer a lot more tools and resources for FREE than what we charge for.

We’ve DEEPLY DISCOUNTED THE WEBINAR FOR THOSE JOB SEEKERS WITHIN OUR JOB SEARCH COMMUNITY – loyal followers on Twitter, readers of our blog, and members of our LinkedIn Job Search Discussion Group.

In a lively one-hour presentation, I’ll show you the inside secrets (from a retained executive recruiter’s perspective) of how to get your resume reviewed every single time and boost your resume acceptance rate (the number of times you get called for an interview from submitting your resume) from a dismal level of less than 10% to well into the 50% PLUS RANGE. If you’re reading this blog, when you sign up for the Webinar use the coupon code of IMPROVEMYRESUME.

If the small, inconsequential, almost non-existent fee for the webinar is too much to bear to boost your resume acceptance rate and cut your job search time dramatically, please feel free to download our many FREE resources for job seekers, including our radio show broadcasts, cover letter sample, and other tools.

I welcome your thought and comments.

Brad Remillard


Major Controversy – Why Bother Sending a Cover Letter?

Do let box checking your resume prevent you from getting interviews

There is a raging debate in many LinkedIn Professional and Networking Groups, on our own LinkedIn Job Search Discussion Group, hundreds of emails we’ve been sent, numerous blog comments, and an overwhelming number of tweets – all related to our last blog posting – “Pet Peeve – Your Resume and Cover Letter.”

Obviously, a few people have strong opinions on this subject.

Let’s review the debate:

We recommend you customize both your resume and cover letter for the specific job you are applying for.

Arguments for doing a cover letter and/or custom resume:

  • Employers and recruiters consider it disrespectful if you do not include a cover letter or resume
  • Employers and recruiters are looking for a reason to exclude you from consideration if you do not match up with their criteria. The custom resume or letter specifically addresses the key points in the job posting.
  • Employers and recruiters are overwhelmed in this poor job market with hundreds, if not thousands, of job applications per opening. They want to see an “extra effort” by applicants rather than a cookie-cutter shotgun scattered approach to applying for jobs.
  • Vast majority of job responses fall into the “Hot Potato” Method of applying for an opening.
  • The bland generic information in most resumes DO NOT give a recruiter or hiring manager enough information to decide whether or NOT to extend an interview invitation.

Arguments for NOT doing a cover letter and/or custom resume:

  • Low response rate from recruiters and employers – what’s the use. Even if I did one, the investment of time wouldn’t justify an improved outcome.
  • It takes too much time, is way too hard, and requires far too much effort.
  • Recruiters and Employers don’t read resumes or cover letters deeply enough, so why even bother?
  • It’s all a numbers game – the goal is to broadcast as many resumes to jobs I’m remotely qualified for, and maybe something will stick. I’m overwhelmed applying to jobs – no time to customize my response to each job posting.
  • Recruiters and Employers don’t provide enough information in their job postings to customize the cover letter and resume. They don’t list the important elements of the job or they have a laundry list of criteria that superman/superwoman couldn’t meet.
  • Recruiters and Employers are doing nothing more than box-checking resumes – a custom cover letter and resume will not help in this process of asking for everything under the sun and eliminating candidates if they don’t have one little inconsequential element checked-off.
  • Recruiters and Employers are using low level unskilled and untrained clerical staff to review resumes. Not possible for this level of person to accurately judge the resume of a managerial or executive candidate. Custom cover letters and resumes will NOT help (see bullet point about box-checking above).

Have I missed any of the arguments from each side? These would comprise over 90% of the responses to our last blog posting.

So, what to do from this point forward?

In my ever so humble opinion, I am going to stick by the perspective that for management and executive positions, a detailed cover letter should be written specifically addressing the top 3 points identified in the job posting and a custom resume should be submitted. If you don’t have the time to customize your resume, then at least have 3-4 versions of it and submit the one that matches up most closely with comparable accomplishments for the level of the job, the industry segment, or the common core success factor of that position.

We’re open to hearing from you as to your experience in this job market if you’ve really tried the custom approach. If you’ve not tried it yet, please don’t knock it. Test it and play with it. This strategy is but one of the many we recommend in our Career Success Methodology®. We’ve discovered that most job seekers at a managerial and executive level DO NOT conduct an effective job search. Implementing a few best practices in a structured framework can make an enormous difference in reducing the time it takes to find a great opportunity.

As a special offer to our job search community which includes:

Managerial and executive candidates who read our blog

Following us on Twitter

Participating in our LinkedIn Job Search Discussion Group

Following us through our discussions in a variety of LinkedIn Groups

You’ve downloaded our FREE Job Search tools and content

You’ve attended one of our webinars

You’ve bought one of our job search products

You’ve engaged us in one of our Job Search Coaching Services

We are offering a deep appreciation discount on our upcoming Webinar about resumes and cover letters this Friday January 29th, titled:



This offer of over 50% off the public quoted fee is a special one-time appreciation offer for our job search community and is available only to a selected group – such as our loyal blog readers.

Click here to join the webinar

Please don’t be mad at us for making this offer.

We also have to make a living. It’s very hard to be successful by constantly giving away free tools, templates, audio programs, examples, illustrations, responding to requests for help, and responding to hundreds of comments on our blog and within LinkedIn. We are both trying to build a successful business around effective job search and hiring top talent.

Sometimes, we’re going to make special offers to our job search community for products, services, subscriptions, and webinars. Don’t hold it against us.

If the content was crap – then you can complain. However, Brad and I believe we provide some of the very best content on the Internet for job search and hiring. As many of you know, we give away an extraordinary amount of information in solid tactical tools to improve your job search – maybe to a fault.

We believe the best way to build a loyal following is to give away a lot of our content and as a consequence many job seekers or hiring managers who have found the information useful will move to investing a few dollars in our professional products or services.

Brad and I would like to extend a big thank you of appreciation to all our loyal fans and readers.

Barry Deutsch

PS – The coupon discount you’ll find on the webinar page is only good for the first 50 who register. After that, the price reverts back to our standard pricing for this webinar. Oops – I forgot to mention – the special offer webinar for you includes a number of EXTRA items that doubles the value of the webinar. You couldn’t find this much content about cover letters and resumes in one place if you searched for days.

Job Search Networking Using LinkedIn

Using social media in your job search can be the key to your success. Recruiters, HR and hiring managers are using social media sites like LinkedIn more and more every day.  As a job seeker you should be using LinkedIn daily. This program outlines 5 or 6 techniques you can use that don’t take a lot of time but will have tremendous impact on your job search. These few things will make you findable, will set you aside from others, will ensure your network expands, will guide you through the maze of social media traps and most importantly help you move rapidly down the path to your next job.

While listening to the radio program be sure and download our 8 Point LinkedIn  Profile Assessment guide so you can follow along.

All our radio show recordings are in our audio library for you to download and listen to anytime. CLICK HERE to review the programs by title.

Pet Peeve – Your Resume and Cover Letter

Screaming at Job Seekers for the mistakes they make in responding to job postings

I’m very frustrated today. I’m ready to explode at the candidates responding to my job postings.

On the outside I’d like to call candidates on the phone and invite them in for an interview – one the inside I’d like to call candidates and scream at them for their stupidity in the way they responded to my job postings.

Here’s a real-life current case study in how NOT to apply for a job. It’s one of my greatest pet peeves as a Retained Executive Recruiter:

Throwing out a resume without a custom cover letter and customizing the resume to fit the job spec described in the job posting.

There – that’s simply it – Finally, I got it off my chest!

I just put 3 new job postings up on LinkedIn. I posted the job on LinkedIn’s Paid Job Board Service and in the FREE Job Boards within various discussion groups (the results were no different for either approach). The jobs I posted were HR Manager, Construction Project Executive, and Senior Sales Executive.

I have received just through LinkedIn (referrals, recommendations, ad responses) over 1000 resumes so far. Approximately 90% did not have a cover letter. Less than 10 customized their resume for the specific job posting. Every one of these jobs is $100K and above. You’d think folks with that expensive parchment called a college diploma would know better.

Some of you may be familiar with a few of my earlier blog postings on this syndrome which I titled “The Hot Potato Method of Responding to a Job Posting”.

I don’t get it.

I’m confused.

I’m almost stunned past the point of words.

More than 75% of the candidates who replied to these jobs have been out of work for over 6 months. Over 50% have been out of work for over 9 months. Why would you RUIN your chances of being interviewed by tossing out your resume as if you don’t give a darn what I do with it?

The responses went something like:

“Here’s my resume”

“Please review my resume”

Some just emailed the resume as an attachment WITHOUT a single comment – as if the resume “spoke for itself”. It’s sad to the point of making me want to cry – or laugh hysterically.

I’d be very interested to hear from your perspective as a candidate why you don’t care enough to write a cover letter describing how your background and accomplishments fit the job spec posted? I’d be interested to hear why you would submit a resume that doesn’t specifically and precisely address the expectations listed in the job posting?

As a recruiter (and I’m sure I’m speaking on behalf of the vast majority of recruiters, HR professionals, and hiring managers), why should I bother to open your resume or consider you as a viable candidate, when it’s obvious you could care less whether you are granted an interview.




What motivates candidates to respond to job postings with the “Hot Potato Method”? Are they burnt out on their job search? Have they reached a point of apathy and indifference in their job search?

Do they (YOU) care if you get a job next month or in 18 months?

If you would like to STOP THIS JOB RESPONSE Posting NONSENSE right now, I’d like to recommend you join me for our upcoming webinar on

Get Interviews with

Effective Resumes and Cover Letters

We’ve DEEPLY DISCOUNTED THE WEBINAR FOR THOSE JOB SEEKERS WITHIN OUR JOB SEARCH COMMUNITY – loyal followers on Twitter, readers of our blog, members of our LinkedIn Job Search Discussion Group.

In a lively one-hour presentation, I’ll show you the inside secrets (from a Retained Executive Recruiter perspective) of how to get your resume reviewed every single time and boost your resume acceptance rate (number of times you get called for an interview from submitting your resume) from a dismal level of less than 10% well into the 50% PLUS RANGE.80-90%. If you’re reading this blog, when you sign up for the Webinar use the coupon code of IMPROVEMYRESUME.

If the small, inconsequential, almost non-existent fee for the webinar is too much to bear to boost your resume acceptance rate and cut your job search time dramatically, please feel free to download our many FREE resources for job seekers, including our radio show broadcasts, cover letter sample, and other tools.

Don’t forget about our LinkedIn Job Search Discussion Group, one of the most vibrant and rapidly growing groups on LinkedIn. You can learn about best practices in writing resumes and cover letters.

I’m stunned that most candidates will not take advantage of great content, webinars, workshops, tools, audio programs, Youtube videos, blog posting advice, and other tools that range in price from small investments to FREE.

Don’t be the one to conduct a job search that takes 6-9-18 months when you could have done it in half the time by improving your resume and cover letter to raise your resume acceptance rate.

Thanks for letting my rank about one of my greatest pet peeves in job search.

I look forward to seeing you at the webinar on January 29th and transforming your ability to write effective resumes and cover letters to immediately boost your resume acceptance rate.

Barry Deutsch

How to Get the Interview and Not Get “Deleted”

This is about your “digital first impression” and six ways to screw it up. Every recruiter has his pet peeves about resumes and I’m no exception. Like it or not, in this digital, email, on-line world, your first impression as a candidate is often the resume and cover letter you send. (OK, I admit, I don’t read cover letters much. I cut to the resume first. Sometimes I come back and read them, but the resume is what I’m interested in.)

I’m not going to write about all the strategies and methods of creating a resume and cover letter, I’m just going to tell you the things that will irk most recruiters (or at least this one) so you should avoid them. In no particular order:

• Size matters: Look at the whole first page of your resume. Would you want to read it or does it look like the fine print on your credit card statement? Don’t cram so much information into it or make the type font so small that people will strain their eyes to read it. I know, we can enlarge it, but it just shows you aren’t thinking about your reader.

• I won’t believe you can walk on water: A summary of your experience in terms of function, industry and accomplishments is fine, but skip the flowery descriptions. I see “hands-on”, “profit driven”, “strong leader”, “dynamic”, “visionary” in summaries all the time. I don’t read them because I know the candidate wrote them. I’ll decide how “dynamic” someone is when I interview them, not when I read their resume. Save the space for more accomplishments.

• Attendance doesn’t count: Companies don’t pay you just to do things; they pay you to accomplish things. Resumes that are long on responsibilities and short on accomplishments indicate someone who just ‘showed up’ and are not the top quartile talent that companies are looking for.

• Osmosis is not my strong suit: Probably the best way to get your resume tossed is to list the name of a company with no description of what it does. This is especially true of middle market companies. (Even if a company is a household name, include what your division, group, etc does!) The reader has no context from which to assess your accomplishments until they know what the company does and its relative size. I automatically toss these resumes. How can you present an executive to a client if they don’t demonstrate this simple piece of common sense?

• Chronological or functional? No contest here in my book, make it chronological. I want to know what you accomplished and where. If you just list a bunch of accomplishments and a list of jobs, I can’t tell where you did what. You may have the exact accomplishment I’m looking for, but if you’ve worked in different industries or different sized companies, I can’t tell how relevant the experience is.

• Goldilocks syndrome: Resumes can be too short or too long, and there is a “just right” length. In general, I find one page resumes to be too short to be meaningful, and they don’t “peak my interest”. I don’t want to ask you for more information. Give me what I need to assess your background against my requirements. Three page resumes or more are usually too long. There’s either too much detail or you’ve gone back beyond 10-15 years in your career. Put those older jobs under Prior Experience. The last 10 to 15 years of experience is usually the most relevant to what we’re looking for.

OK, I got that off my chest. These tips aren’t going to guarantee you get the job, but they should help keep you from being eliminated before the game starts.

When you land that next job, and start to build your team, check your hiring process first.

For more, join our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group. CLICK HERE to join.

View our 5 minute video, Vital Information Missing From Many Resumes. CLICK HERE to view.

Download a FREE sample cover letter to go with a great resume. CLICK HERE to download.

For information on how to arrange for Hagerthy & Co’s complimentary Hiring Process Assessment go to  Mike Hagerthy is the founder of Hagerthy & Co, an executive search, training and consulting firm.

Resumes Are About Substance Over Form

Most of my ideas for articles come directly from interaction with clients and candidates. Either they have an issue they are dealing with or they ask for advice on a particular topic. I then take those issues and topics and write an article.

Recently a candidate mentioned that she was on her third or fourth revision of her resume. She said, “Every time I meet with someone they have a different recommendation.” She would then change her resume. After reviewing all three side-by-side, the content wasn’t dramatically different but the format was. It seems that most of the comments were on format. The people talking to her all gave her advice on the format they preferred. Few discussed the content, beyond wordsmithing it or moving a bullet point from A to B.

They were all concerned about the wrong thing. A resume is not FORM OVER SUBSTANCE. It is  SUBSTANCE OVER FORM. Granted, there are some basics to a resume form that need to be adhered to. I have written other articles on this, and our job search workbook (This Is NOT The Position I Accepted) goes into great detail, including 5 examples of problem resumes, illustrating why they are poor and probably ended up in the trash.

I believe there is only one unacceptable resume and that is the functional resume. I advise all candidates to never use one. For me, and many other recruiters, it screams out “I’m hiding something.” Other than that, stick to the basics in the book or what I have discussed and you will be fine.

As a recruiter, I am looking at the content not the form. I’m interested in my client and finding that exceptional person for the position. For me, that gets to the content or substance of the resume.

I’m looking for:

1) Are the basic box checking kind of things my client insists on present? For example, location, function, industry, size of company, scope or responsibility, education, span of control etc.  (For more read, How Recruiters Read Resumes In Less Than 10 Seconds).

2) Is the  vital information included on the resume enough for me to make a decision? (CLICK HERE to watch a 4 minute video on Vital Information Missing From Most Resumes).

3) How does the person’s background align with my company’s needs?

4) Does this person’s bullet points or accomplishments dovetail, or at least focus around, what my client is seeking?

5) Does the candidate’s track record of accomplishments show growth and increase with their increase in responsibility?

These are all substantive issues. As long as I can easily read the resume and quickly capture these points I don’t care about the format.

I wish more candidates would spend less time on format and more time on accomplishments and provide the vital information recruiters, HR, and hiring managers need to make a decision about their qualifications for a position.

If this article was helpful to you, please pass it along so others can benefit as you did. Consider adding the link on Facebook or your LinkedIn status,  write a tweet on Twitter, email it to friends or to your network. Helping others is the key to networking.

Our LinkedIn Job Search Networking group is FREE to join and has over 3,500 members. There is a wealth of excellent information there to help you in your job search. CLICK HERE to join.

I welcome your thoughts and comment on this article.

Brad Remillard

How Recruiters Read Resumes In 10 Seconds or Less

The 10 or 20 seconds it takes to read a resume seems to always generate a lot of controversy. Candidates comment on how disrespectful it is, how one can’t possibly read a resume in that time and some get angry at recruiters when we talk about this. I hope this article will help everyone understand how we do this. I realize that some still may not like it and will still be angry, but at least you can understand how it works.

First, let me say I’ve been a recruiter for 30 years.  I’m sure I have reviewed over 500,000 resumes. I can’t prove this but I’m reasonably confident that this is the case, as this is only an average of about 46 a day. I know many days I have reviewed hundreds of resumes and most in less than 20 seconds. I would say the average is probably around 5 to 7 seconds.

So for the record when you hear or read about, “reading a resume in 20 seconds,” that isn’t completely true. It is more than likely, “reviewed the resume in 20 seconds.”

Here is my process for getting through 100’s of resumes in a short period of time. Others may have different ways and I welcome your comments.

I set up a hierarchy of certain “must haves” or you’re out, so at first I’m really just box checking. Generally, 80% of the time these are my knock out blows. There are exceptions to each of these, but I’m dealing with the 80/20 rule. These are not cumulative times.  This is box checking, if I see any one of these as I scan your resume you will be excluded.

1. Location. If the client is in Los Angeles, CA and you aren’t – goodbye. Few if any clients want to relocate anyone in this economy, and I believe most shouldn’t have to. Especially in a huge metropolitan area like Los Angeles. If they do have to consider relocation the position has to require some very unique experience that few jobs do. I can do this in about 1 second.

2. Industry. If my client is in banking and your background is primarily manufacturing – goodbye.  These two often are so different that the client isn’t open to considering such different industries. This works both ways, if you have a manufacturing background I’m not going to consider someone with banking. 2-3  seconds to determine this.

3. Function. If I’m doing a sales search and your background isn’t sales – goodbye. Generally companies are paying recruiters to find them a perfect fit. We never do find a perfect fit, but we have to be very close. They don’t need a recruiter to find them someone in a completely different function. 2 seconds to figure this one out.

4. Level. If I’m doing a VP level search and your title is “manager” and you have never been a VP – goodbye. There are exceptions to this, but again it is the 80/20 rule. Again, clients pay me to find them the perfect fit. It is generally way too big of a jump from manager level to VP level, all other things being equal. It works the other way too. If  I’m looking for a manager and you are a VP – goodbye. I know you are qualified to do a manager level role, but it is clear you have grown past. Most clients and recruiters aren’t willing to take the chance that when a VP level position comes along that you won’t be gone. Less than 5 seconds to figure out.

5. Recent Experience. There is some overlap on this one. If I’m searching for someone with international sales experience in the aerospace industry and the last time you held an international sales position in this industry was 20 years ago and since then you have been in retail – goodbye.  I can find people with more relevant experience and that is what my client expects me to do. 5 seconds to do this.

6. Education Like it or not, I will only work with people that have a college education and most of the time a master’s degree. This is mainly because, as I indicated before, I need to find the very best for my clients. I realize an education doesn’t mean by itself that the candidate is the best, but it is one qualifier of many. Also all of my clients require at least a BA.

7. Turnover. If you have had 6 jobs in the last 4 years, or have a track record of high turnover – goodbye. I realize there are good reasons for turnover and that falls into the 20% of the 80/20 rule. I can’t define high turnover, but I know it when I see it. 3 – 5 seconds.

8. Functional resume. I don’t read them. It is obvious when one has a functional resume they are trying to hide something and I’m rarely going to take the time to attempt to figure it out. 1 second.

9. Obvious things such as, spelling errors, poor format, errors in grammar, too long, verbose and rambling. If after reading it I still can’t figure out what you do, goodbye. 5 – 10 seconds

After all this, 80 – 100% have been eliminated. If there are any left, then I will take the time to actually read  them in detail.

Here are some FREE downloads to help you get your resume past the 10 second screen.

Download our free Job Search Scorecard. Use this scorecard to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your job search. Then work on the weaknesses. CLICK HERE to download.

Download our free LinkedIn Profile Scorecard. Is your LinkedIn profile compelling? Use this tool to help you build a great profile so people contact you. CLICK HERE to download.

Join our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group for a lot more discussions, information and articles on your job search. CLICK HERE to join.

Download a sample cover letter proven to work with recruiters and get your resume noticed. CLICK HERE to download yours. Over 2,000 people have done this.

If this was helpful to you, please pass it along to help others in  your network. Consider adding it to your status on LinkedIn, posting on Twitter, or emailing the link to your network. Please help others if this helped you.

I welcome your thought and comments.

Brad Remillard


You can’t interview yourself out of a wet paper bag

Interviewing Failure in your job search represented by your inability to interview yourself out of a wet paper bag

The vast majority of candidates Brad and I meet are horrific at interviewing. It’s bordering on embarrassing and humiliating. WHY? (Here’s a little hint to keep your interest – it has nothing to do with the actual interview presentation)

Before we get into the WHY – let’s establish our credentials for making this bold and outrageous claim:

Job Search and Interviewing Expert Credentials

Brad and I each have over 25 years of executive search experience. We’ve interviewed hundreds of thousands of candidates.  We’ve worked on over a 1000 executive searches, trained over 30,000 CEOs, Presidents, and Senior Executives in how to make better hiring decisions. We’ve written THE definitive guide for executives on hiring top talent called “You’re NOT the Person I Hired”, have over 10,000 copies of our book in print, and have been awarded Speaker of the Year by one of the most prestigious CEO organizations in the world, Vistage International.

On top of those credentials, we’ve developed an award-winning job search process called the Career Success Methodology, which we’ve been teaching to candidates for a quarter of a century. We wrote a book on this Methodology called “This is NOT the Position I Accepted”. The Methodology is based on our extensive background as recruiters interviewing candidates every day of the week for real world assignments. We’ve researched it, field tested it, and validated it as a methodology to reduce the time it takes for you to find a great job by at least 50%.

I felt it necessary to pull out the proverbial brag sheet and first establish our bona fides before I jump up on my soapbox and lay on you one of the biggest contrarian pieces of research you’ve probably ever heard.

Interviewing Mistakes and Failure

Most candidates stink when it comes to preparing for interviews. I’ll bet that’s shocking to most of you.

Everybody thinks they do a great job preparing for an upcoming interview and then they wonder why their “hit rate” – the percentage of offers to interviews is below 1-2%.

The ability to screw up the interview becomes obvious minutes into the discussion. Most of you lack a command of details, specifics, and quantification for your claims. Brad and I eliminate over 90% of all executive search candidates in the very first question within the first 5 minutes on a phone call.

Here’s how it goes:

Please share with me your most significant example of taking initiative in your last job – where you went above and beyond the call of duty to deliver a significant result to your (company, team, department, function, office, group).

Deafening silence.

Let’s ask it a different way: How about sharing with me your most significant example of where you were proactive – where you achieved a great result for something you thought needed to be done but you were not forced or required to do it.

I helped to create a new process.

More silence.

Tell me about the process. For example, why did it need to be created. When did it start. Who else was on the team. What was your contribution? What was the quantifiable outcome of creating the process – what business result was achieved? Did you win any rewards or recognition for it? What would your boss tell me about your achievement? Would they consider it a significant example of initiative?

5 minutes later it’s obvious you’re trying to make up the answers OR you really didn’t drive the project results OR it’s an insignificant example – but it was the first thing that popped into your mind.

If you’re not prepared at a management or executive level to delve into the depths of your most significant accomplishments  – scope, pace, size, outcomes, timeframe, problems, issues, conflict, people, resources, budget, changes, learning – then prepared to be blown out after a couple of minutes.

The vast majority of candidates we meet at a managerial and executive level treat interviewing like “I’ll just waltz in and take the questions as they come – my background speaks for itself.” I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I’ve seen candidates look down at their resume and try to remember what the details were behind a bullet point they listed.

You  might be able to fool a few ignorant and ineffective executives with this form of interviewing, but the vast majority of sophisticated and capable hiring managers and executives will cut you off at the knees after a few minutes. Here’s the sad part – they’ll give you hope by granting a courtesy interview and then telling you at the end “we’ll get back to you” – yet your phone never rings. 90% of the reason you never got asked back was that you FAILED to prepare properly.

Your ability to ACE an interview is not how you do in the interview, it’s what you did to prepare before you ever got to the interview.

Action Steps to Correct Interviewing Failure

Take a few minutes and listen to our archived audio programs on interviewing from our Internet Radio Talk Show or join our LinkedIn Job Search Discussion Group to learn more about effective interviewing. Have you downloaded for FREE our most popular chapter on the phone interview from our workbook? Finally, a significant element of our Home Study Job Search Kit is focused on how to prepare for an interview.

Have you gone through the chapters in our Job Search Workbook that take you painstakingly step-by-step through how to effectively prepare for an interview. Exercise and exercise, template after template, writing down your accomplishments using a structured response approach, practicing it until your head is ready to explode.

You could be the world’s most introverted and shy individual, and still perfectly ACE an interview. Success in the interview IS NOT about making a great presentation – it’s about the preparation required before sitting down with a hiring executive or manager.

Your effective preparation gives you the confidence, content, and capability to ACE most of your interviews and get a high percentage of call-backs for additional interviewing.

Barry Deutsch

PS – Remember the key to effective interviewing is preparation, preparation, preparation!

photo courtesy of NickySmith