Category Archives for Resume

Why Does My Resume Need to be in Microsoft Word?

There are two kinds of recruiters and they ask for your resume in Microsft Word for two separate reasons:

  • One kind of recruiter works for an outside agency that gets paid by a client to find candidates for a particular position. This recruiter gets paid only when the position is filled. This type of recruiter may take off your contact information and send the resume to the client. This is to make sure the client doesn’t contact you directly. The recruiter wants to make sure he/she gets paid! That’s why these outside recruitment firms prefer an editable Word document.
  • The other recruiter works within a company, and is typically using an applicant tracking systems (ATS). These systems often don’t do well understanding the PDF format. If you submit your resume in Microsoft Word, the system lets the recruiter search your resume for keywords, and view them easily.


Presenting your work experience section in columns, or creating fancy text boxes and graphics and non-standard fonts.

Taleo and other ATS systems may mangle it so it may actually look hideous.

  • Bullet points are fine.
  • Don’t take your margins all the way to the edge. Leave some white space.


When you save the file, do File…Save As… Then from File Format dropdown, select Word 97-2004 Document (.doc)

This makes your resume “backward compatible” so if a recruiter is using an older version of Word, it still works.

How to Save a Word File, File, Save As...



If your resume is not in Microsoft Word right now, take a few minutes to create a simply formatted Word doc.

Best of luck!

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photo representing resume going down a black hole

How to 10x Your Job Prospects on ZipRecruiter and Indeed

Doesn’t it sometimes feel like your resume has gone down a black hole?

You spend all this time perfecting it, writing a cover letter tailored to the job posting, and then no response.

It can be so depressing… that’s why I wanted to shed some light on what happens on the other end.

A recruiter friend told me she was getting ready to sift through candidate applications. She recently posted a job on online job websites.

I brought pizza and went to her office to watch over her shoulder as she navigated the Recruiter’s version of ZipRecruiter and Indeed, two of the biggest job boards on the Internet.

What I learned was eye-opening:

  1. The first page of your resume is almost always the only thing she can view on the default screen when she clicks on your submission.
  2.  Her eyes went right to the work experience and she quickly scanned if the candidate had relevant accomplishments to the position she was hiring for.
  3. She gave each resume less than 2-3 seconds and if she saw a typo or a bad grammar, she didn’t even bother with the resume.

Here’s how she explained her process to me:

A posting on Indeed or ZipRecruiter can generate 100 – 500 resumes very quickly. I can only schedule 5-10 interviews so the hiring manager can make a final decision. That means I have to be very quick about identifying the right applicants. I’m typically hiring for 20 positions so I don’t have time to spend a whole day sifting through resumes.

Man playing chess

Source: Pexels

Here are some of the things she noticed on the resumes as we scrolled through them:

See this candidate here? He’s worked at this well known consulting firm. I know this is a good thing because I’ve hired others from this company before – they have an excellent training program and they only hire top-notch people. He will be a great candidate for us to consider.

This other candidate, she’s got a military background, and for this position, I need someone who has a very strong work ethic so I will shortlist her as well.



Nail the experience section of your website especially if you’re submitting it for jobs via Indeed and ZipRecruiter.

Action Step:

What is one improvement you can make to your resume based on this post? Send me a note as a way to hold yourself accountable for taking action:

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Cat looking surprised

7 Deadly Mistakes That Land Your Resume in the Trash Heap

Don’t want your resume to end up in the recycling bin?

Avoid these seven deadly mistakes.

They make recruiters want to punch their computer screens.

If you’re looking for a job, that’s not the reaction you want!

Photo of a resume, desk, laptop.

Source: Pexels

  1. Don’t use illustrations, charts or graphs. Here’s the deal: most job sites make your resume searchable so either the image disappears (making your resume look weird) or causes an error. Creative resumes are great when you’re meeting a potential employer in person. Otherwise, AVOID. See the SKILLS section in the picture above? Looks awesome, right? Don’t do it.
  2. Don’t use fancy, unreadable fonts. I see this a lot with designers and creative folks. If you use a fancy font that’s not standard, it’s likely that your resume will get scanned but not read. Keep it simple: your audience wants to know what you’ve accomplished, not whether you have good taste in fonts. Keep it Simple.
  3. Don’t add your photo to your resume. You think it makes you stand out from the competition. Sometimes it can cause someone to judge you based on your looks, not on your skills. The exception to this is if you are applying to be an actor or performer.
  4. Don’t put your education before your experience section. The only exception to this rule is if you’re still in college. Even then, I’m hoping you have worked in the summer or as a teaching assistant. Employers first want to know what you can do for them. Anyone can sit in a classroom and attend a lecture. Show them how you’ve applied your knowledge, skills, and expertise to get results.
  5. Don’t use passive words or passive voice. Use active verbs so the person reading your resume senses you get things done, you get results, and you make things happen. The best way to check this is to read out your resume like an actor reading lines on stage, and see if it feels energetic.
  6. Don’t take credit for everything. While you want to talk about your accomplishments, you want to do it in a way that shows you are a team player. The person reading your resume is judging that too.
  7. Don’t go on about your volunteering and personal interests. I recently saw a resume that had a longer section about a candidate’s volunteering work than her experience. While you may be very active in your community (and that’s great), only mention a few things you do outside of work. For example, “Organized the Special Olympics Gala and helped raise over $20,000 in donations” or “Cooked 244 meals at 6 local homeless shelters over 10 years”. This shows your skills — in a different context, and it’s impressive!


Best of luck – and remember if you have questions, ask below. 

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How to Get Hired in a New Industry (Even if You Have No Relevant Experience)

Applying for a job in a new industry where you don’t have any relevant work experience? 

I see you staring at your resume, worried how to make it stand out when other candidates have an edge on you. They have more experience.

Here’s a little secret: recruiters value work experience in the field, but they are also looking for someone with initiative.

Can you show them you have initiative?

Turn your lack of industry experience from a negative into a positive!

Here’s what I recommend to clients: Make your journey to learn this industry publicly available on the Internet. Share what you’re learning!

Nowadays you can find an online course on any topic imaginable. You can even find books, podcasts, and YouTube videos.

Step 1: Learn as much as you can.

Step 2: Create a blog about the industry, technology or skill you’re trying to break into.

By teaching what you are learning publicly, you’ll show hiring managers that you take initiative. They can see how you think, how you process information, and how you communicate.

Just do that ONE THING and you’ll be miles ahead of most of your peers. Even the ones who’ve worked in the industry!

  • Recruiters see that you learn fast, you’re self-directed, and you have a can-do attitude.
  • Hiring managers will see you as a creator, not a consumer of information.

Lots of people take courses. How many of them actually turn around and educate others on what they are learning?

– Hardly any.

Be that unicorn.

After consuming your content, your future employer should say, “Wow, even I learned something!”

You, as a newcomer sees their industry with new eyes. You bring new insights to the table.

Stand in that power and don’t apologize for it.


Don’t forget to distill what you’ve learned into a short bullet point for your resume. You can write about it in your cover letter too. This is a golden opportunity to share your perspective. Link to your blog or YouTube channel (or however you publish your content) so a recruiter can check it out to see more.


Find an influencer in the industry you’re trying to break into.  Tweet them to see if they’ll give you feedback on your content. (First retweet and comment on their content).

Get noticed and avoid getting lost in a sea of resumes. 

TURN YOUR NEGATIVE (Lack of Industry Experience) INTO A POSITIVE (Teaching You What I’m Learning Blog/Video Series/etc)!

Two people Shaking hands, sealing the deal.

Next Steps:

Send me a note! Let me know how you intend to make this idea your own and take action:

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