Resume Roulette – Is Yours Ready for 2011?

There have been lots of blog posts in 2010 about resumes. What recruiters like, what they don’t like. What should be on it, what shouldn’t  be.  Building a resume is the initial freak-out moment of a job search for almost everyone.  They have to document their career… succinctly and with the right words… to garner the attention of a future employer.

And while FOT isn’t normally focused on job seeker advice, heck, it’s almost the new year, and some of you out there may be thinking about what’s in store for you career wise in 2011, so let me talk to you from the front lines of resume reviewing as a sourcer.  You don’t want to know how many profiles and resumes I review on a daily basis, it’s obscene… but what you need to know is:

  • Use a good font.  Calibri, Arial – something clean that will scan or upload well and not convert into wingdings.  Sounds silly, but you wouldn’t believe how many people try to use some odd or archaic font.
  • Structure? Use something organized.  If you’ve been out of school for a while, say three years, move your education to the bottom.  If you’ve got a security clearance, like a full-scope poly? Keep it at the top and prominent.  Bullets are good.  Objectives are old news.
  • Document what you’ve done that is significant at your previous employers.  If you’re in a results/number driven arena, please show me the numbers.  I want to see your success.  I want to know if you’ve been working for an $80 million versus a $150 million company.  I want to know if the department you supervised was 15 people versus 5.
  • Assume recruiters are stupid.  If the job description asks for experience X, Y or Z, make sure that experience is documented on your resume.  Don’t expect me to imply that you have that experience because you applied to the job and it’s not on your resume.  This is your first step into my world, make it count and show me the experience you have in words.
  • Tweak your resume.  20 years ago, it was a pain to tweak a resume.  But these days? It’s easy. If you have the experience written in the job post, then tweak your resume to reflect it so it’s obvious to the recruiter reviewing it.  But as I write this, know that I do not want you to lie.  Do not embellish.  If you don’t have the experience, don’t say you do.  I will catch you on that in the screening.  And if you make it to the hiring manager and they catch you? You’re done at my company.
  • Put your resume online.  I don’t care where or how you do it.  A Google profile is a great idea and, of course, a public LinkedIn profile will definitely get you into the top of most search engine results.  Let me find you.  Many, many companies have strayed away from posting on the big boards and those that still do are so flooded with results that they may miss yours.  Want to see if you come up in my results?  Search Google for yourself.  Or Bing.
  • And lastly, spell check and proof read.  Please use spell check.  So many resumes get tossed out by hiring managers because they have typos.  But after you spell check, print your resume and read it aloud.  Does it make sense? Did you miss anything?  Now send it to someone to proof. If you’ve got a recruiter friend like me, of course I’ll look at it.  But send it to someone who will give you honest feedback and really read it.

Whatever you do, don’t agonize over your resume.  Think of it as a work in progress.  Sure you want to be as close to perfect as possible, but be ready to finesse it and correct it as you need to.  And get it online!

FOT Background Check

Kelly Dingee
Kelly Dingee is a Senior Manager, Global Talent Acquisition for Marriott International. She has extensive sourcing experience having worked for Staffing Advisors (retained search), AIRS (training!) and Thales Communications, Inc., (cleared/telecom) and got her start in the profession while a full life cycle recruiter at Acterna (now known as Viavi). Lucky for Kelly, she had a boss who could see the potential of sourcing candidates from the web, and in 1998, she stepped into a newly created sourcing role. No truth to the rumor that she has a side business to help you push your resume to the top of Google search results…


  1. Lee K. Candiotti says:

    Kelly, Good article. Too many people forget that the purpose of a resume is to get you in front of a hiring authority, not to get you the job. So they wind up going in to detail that is either trivial or not relevant to the job/company they’re applying for/to. Keep it simple, tell the truth and spell check – all make a big difference.

  2. Gah, I’m so bad.. I still haven’t put my Resume on Linkedin …. Next week ok??

  3. RonHRKatz says:

    Kelly, good advice. Can’t say I agree with all of it but when do HR people completely agree? Your thoughts on font, structure, use of numbers, and tweaking to insure the resume is up-to-date are 100% on target and invaluable reminders. Maybe we can say recruiters are simple-minded instead of stupid? 😉
    Happy happy new year, Ron

  4. Kelly Dingee says:

    Lee, Michael & Ron…Thanks for the comments.
    It’s so easy to have a presence online – geez – candidates should just pop their resume on to slideshare or posterous if they don’t want to look like their looking on a site like LinkedIn.
    I get concerned that I see too many recruiters making it hard…saying resumes need this, this and this instead of looking at the document for what it is…an introduction to a candidate. And it usually should be the kind of introduction that brings on continued conversation because it has the facts, and documents the experience. I don’t want to get caught up in the bs of pretty words……
    And recruiters can be stupid…not so much simple minded….recruiting is a sport (I know, I know, some say art, some say science…but it’s a sport)…and quite often a subjective sport because we’re human. I think we owe it jobseekers to tell them the hows….how to write a resume that communicates, how to use social media to find a job, how to follow-up, how to pay it forward.
    Happy New Year…

  5. Beth_TYBRIN says:

    Great advice, Kelly! Completely agree…especially regarding the clearance. I’m looking through resumes right now and need someone w/ a TS/SCI. I hate it when it’s buried in the middle or all the way at the bottom of their resume. It’s a great selling point… put it at the top!
    BTW, love reading your posts! Happy New Year & keep it coming in 2011.

  6. Chris Walker says:

    I’d make Tweak #1. It’s the best way to stand out. Read the job description, then customize your resume accordingly. Often companies have different titles for the same job. One calls their warehouse staff ‘inventory specialists’, another ‘warehouse associates’. If I’m responding to a posting for an ‘inventory specialist’, that term is certainly going to be in my objective or summary statement (and cover letter). And make sure it’s as close to the top of the resume as possible. Nick Corcodilos ( recommends ‘Fold your resume in half’. If there’s nothing in first half to make the reviewer read the rest, you’re done. Save the resume under your and the name of the company. Print copies of each resume and cover letter to keep near the phone. The telephone screener who calls 6 months later has those documents in front of them, you should too. (I once received a call 11 months after applying. I almost said ‘Why are you calling me? I’m on the Do Not Call list!)

  7. Danielle P. says:

    Thank you for this great post – it’s easy to forget that the simplest things are often the most critical. I agree that an Objectives heading is old news, but I was wondering…how you feel about having a Qualifications heading at the very top? I think they are a good way to draw attention to skills particularly relevant to specific positions, but to HR recruiters it could seem like a rehash of the cover letter (or vice versa). What do you recommend?

  8. Paul M. Pearson says:

    There is another type of resume, one used in a proposal. Do you have any “Tips” for that type of resume?
    Paul M P

  9. Rick Sincere says:

    Is it just me, or does anyone else find it ironic that a writer who emphasizes the need to “spell check and proof read” appears not to understand the difference between “imply” and “infer”? (See paragraph beginning with “Assume recruiters are stupid.”)

  10. Hi Kelly,
    Great post!
    I agree that job seekers need to increase their web presence to stand out among the competition — it creates an opportunity for recruiters and job seekers to connect and converse.
    In addition to a LinkedIn profile, there are many other professional networking sites and talent communities (like Cachinko) that offer job seekers an opportunity to post their resume, build networks within their industry, and gain insight into a company’s job posts not advertised on job boards or marketed on search engines.
    Have a great new year!

  11. Kbaumann says:

    Excellent post with succinct points! “Bullets are good. Objectives are old news.” I love that point. It’s great to hear it from a recruiter!! I’m definitely going to share this with my network of job seekers.
    Here’s a post that I did a while back that has relevance to your article: Resume Essentials I’d love to know your thoughts!
    Keep up the great work!
    Kirk Baumann

  12. John Connor says:

    I feel that the Objectives section is obsolete also.
    The resume I created at allowed me to skip the Objectives section. Thanks for the article.

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