What the heck are you doing to your resume?


Trick-or-treating isn’t only for youngsters. Many executives are, unintentionally, scaring away job opportunities.

Just imagine: I’m at my desk, I open a new e-mail with subject line “My Resume For Your Review.”  Here is what I see far too often…


Top ‘not-so-well-played’ resume tricks


Old e-mail addresses. Your e-mail domain is disclosing your age and not at all in a magnificent way (that was coincidentally rhythmic).

Nothing—well almost nothing—screams, “I am antiquated” than an e-mail address that ends with @aol.com, @hotmail.com, @juno.com, or any others formed in the 90s. Replace those e-mail accounts ASAP. Possible replacements include @gmail.com or better yet @yourowndomain.com.

Photos on your resume. Yes. I know. I’ve said this before. Just in case you missed the memo —no photos on resumes.

International careerist: If you must have one, please choose a high-resolution image.

Scary resumes

Reason for leaving your last job. Yikes. Really? Why? TMI (Too Much Information). This sensitive topic should not be disclosed on your resume—even if it was due to a restructuring. Please wait for that interview.

Salary history. Boo! See above.

Missing LinkedIn address. Don’t make them Google you and wind up on the wrong profile. I’ve done it and found very disappointing profiles. You never know who else has a similar name and what on earth they are doing with it. Control your online brand.

Death by bullets. The number of bullets, while unpleasant, isn’t the biggest problem. The weakness here is that a sea bullets usually means you have shared too much; that you are desperately attempting to appear qualified; and that you didn’t take the time to distill, prioritize, and position.

No cape? Whether you like it or not, and even if it makes you uncomfortable—your leadership resume is a marketing tool. Therefore, you are the ‘hero’ of your career tale. So, own it!

What?! Have you ever read a resume that sounds amazing at first, but as you keep reading you realize you have no idea if this person delivered anything?

Qualitative writing is essential. Sure you must ‘sell yourself’ and market your candidacy, but it cannot be fluff. What specific and quantifiable examples would show them that you are the real deal? Which of those substantiated accomplishments is unlikely to be matched by another?

Move beyond accomplishments. Your executive resume should be evolving along with the shifts in our job search market. Your resume must reveal triumphs amid changes, conflicts, restructurings, globalizations, crises, consolidations.

A backdrop intensifies the value of your accomplishments.

Political affiliations. I applaud you for standing behind what you believe. I caution that this is risky. Whenever you ask others to pick a side—they usually will—the side they choose may not be yours.

The only time I would recommend political affiliations listed on an executive resume is when it’s relevant and instrumental to the job.

Focus. Where are you going and what do you want? I can always tell when a job seeker is trying to widen the net. This is very tricky, and if not pulled off well, your executive resume will leave hiring authorities confused and with more questions than they care to present.

Family e-mail. I love my family. I really do, but you need to have your own e-mail account. Employers need to know your partner is not the one making decisions for you; and that you can be trusted with confidential information.  Don’t hate me. I am just direct.

Formatting inconsistencies. This one really scares me; perhaps because I am so designed focused. However, I don’t think I am alone on this one. Inconsistencies in fonts, colors, dividers, and text boxes all exude sloppiness, haste, and neglect.  If you are computer challenged, stick to a simple and clean layout.

There are many resume revamping strategies to turn your executive resume into a real treat, carving a path toward a new and fulfilling career.

Resumes don’t have to be boring—and certainly not scary.



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