Tag Archives: creating a resume

Great Resume Advice From Lindsey Pollak

27 Jan

I am a huge fan of Lindsey Pollak. For those of you who don’t know her, she is a career expert, the global spokesperson for LinkedIn, and author of Getting From College To Career:  90 Things To Do Before You Join The Real World. Pollak’s book has some great advice for those of you looking for a job, but today I want to talk about her resume tips that she recently posted on her blog.

We all know that having the perfect resume is part of landing your dream job. I have read a lot of material on what exactly needs to be in your resume, what you cannot have in your resume, and how to make your resume sound better, but I tend to really like Pollak’s tips. Here are some of my favorites.

Keep it Traditional.

Pollak says that you cannot reinvent the wheel. I wholeheartedly agree, unless of course you are going into a marketing or social media type of career where the infogramic resume is appropriate. (What is an infogramic resume? See my blog post about it). When you are first starting out in your career, Pollak says that it is best to keep your resume traditional. Her first book (second edition is coming soon) has a lot of great resume examples for entry-level positions.

Use The Right Buzzwords.

When creating a resume, make sure to use the right buzzwords that will draw an employer’s attention. Pollak suggests that the best way to find the types of words you should be using is to look at online job postings of the type of job you want and look at LinkedIn profiles of people who have the job you want. Take from those listings and profiles the most prominent words and phrases. Pollak says that it is better to be more detailed than vague, and I agree. For example, Pollak suggests to say, ” Experience with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign through the production of 12 issues of on-campus magazine” rather than simply saying that you have “Design Experience.”

Tailor Your Resume.

Yes, I know how annoying it can be to create a new resume for each individual opportunity, but if you really want the job that is what you need to do. From what I read online and in career advice books, employers know when you are sending them a generic resume that is also being sent to tons of other employers. Pollak says that it is fine to have one generic resume, but you need to add certain accomplishment and emphasize certain experience depending upon the position that you are applying for. When I was looking for a job I took the time to do this. I had a resume for government jobs, a resume for corporate jobs, and a resume for law firm jobs. When I would apply to one of those types of jobs I would take the generic resume and make it better, emphasizing certain experience or accomplishments based upon what I could tell the employer was looking for.

Prioritize Your Bullet Points.

Pollak urges job seekers to prioritize the bullet points under each previous job they have held (and yes, you should ALWAYS have bullet points). When I applied for jobs I always assumed that I needed to put the most recent task under the first bullet point, but Pollak suggests that you put the most impressive accomplishment at the top. I think this is a really good idea just in case the employer doesn’t actually take the time to read all of the bullet points.

Don’t Include Something You Hated Doing.

I LOVE this advice. When we are all first starting out we feel the need to include every single job we have ever done on our resume. Pollak, however, suggests that if you ever had a job that you hated and never want to do again, then don’t advertise it on your resume. Pollak says that you can even leave entire jobs off of your resume if they are completely irrelevant to the job you are applying for. So, if you had that job at McDonald’s last summer and you are applying for a marketing job, maybe you should leave that experience off the list.

Get Professional Help.

If you are still in college or graduate school and you have career counselor resources, use them. If you are not still in school, but can afford to have a professional take a look at your resume, then let them. It can’t possibly hurt to have someone tell you what your strengths and weaknesses are in your resume. Having two pairs of eyes is always better than one.

Check, Check, and Check Again for Typos and Inconsistencies.

I went to a career fair once while I was still in law school and handed my resume to a woman at a table. We talked for a few minutes and then I moved on. About two days after the career fair I got an email from the lady pointing out certain inconsistencies in my resume. She noted that under one job my bullet points were round and under another job my bullet points were square. She also pointed out that some job titles were italicized and some were not. While these were VERY minor inconsistencies, it obviously caught her attention and irritated her enough to email me. I have now learned that it is very important to triple check your resume to make sure that there are not any inconsistencies or typos. No one hates typos more than an employer looking at your resume.

Keep it to One Page.

While I understand that Pollak suggests that all resumes should be kept to one page, I have a two page resume. Yes, I know, I don’t have years and years of experience, but I have a lot of education, honors, and certifications that need to be listed. I would suggest to look at people’s resumes in the field you are going into and see whether they are limited to one page or not. If they are, I would try to limit it. Pollak says that a one page resume shows the employer that you can censor yourself and present yourself concisely.

What do you think of Pollak’s tips? Is there anything she is missing? Have you ever been told great resume advice by someone before?