Frequently asked questions

How long should my resume be?


Most HR professionals, recruiters, and hiring managers agree that 2 pages is a standard resume length for someome 5 or more years into their career. For a new graduate or someone early in their career, 1 page is recommended. For an exectutive level professional, there are strategic cases for both 1 and 2-page resumes. If someone has a technical background or one that is project-based, it is acceptable to include a 1-page technical summary and/or project list in addition to their 1 or 2-page resume. Every situation is different though. Someone whose background is design may choose to demonstrate their skills through a creative 1-page version, even if they have more than 5 years of experience. In our free phone consultation, we cover the most appropriate - and effective - page length and formatting choices based on your specific goals and your target audience.




What if I need more than 2 pages to cover my entire background?


The real question is: Who is going to read 3, 4, or more pages of your resume? Consider:

  • Resumes do not need to go back further than 20 years unless it is beneficial for you to show specific experience you gained more than 2 decades in the past. An example would be if you have worked for bank software companies for the past 20 years, and prior to that you worked directly for a bank. That is information that may work in your favor.
  • Resumes should have as little repetition as possible. There is seldom a valid reason to list the same or nearly identical experience under more than one job.
  • Highly detailed descriptions of the projects you worked on will make the reader's eyes glaze over. The important details are your projects' successes and your success in contributing to the effort.
  • There is rarely a need to list more than 5 bullets under a single job description. Chances are some of those bullets can be combined.
  • There is zero chance that anyone who values their time will read a 10-14 line, single-paragraph summary of your experience and strengths that takes up the top 40% of your first page. I call this approach "The Great Wall of Words."
  • 1+ inch margins and typeface exceeding 12 pt. is too much.
If you simply do not believe you can fit your resume onto 2 pages, schedule a free consultation and we can brainstorm.




I just graduated college and lack work experience. How do I even fill out a 1-page resume?


The cliche that every entry-level position requires a minimum of 2 years of work experience is all too true. Someone trying to break into a field must find an employer who values candidates with high potential. Such potential can be demonstrated through coursework, school projects, volunteering, membership in clubs and organizations, unique life experiences, internships, or achievements that demonstrate universally desirable hiring characteristics. During your free phone consultation, we will discuss the elements of your story and how we can transform them into a convincing resume that will engage the target audience.




Are online job postings real?


There are several reasons why you may not receive anything beyond an automated response when you fill out an online application: 1) Your application was filtered to a recruiter who received hundreds of responses. They are looking for very specific criteria that they do not see on your resume. 2) The position was filled, but the company or recruiting firm that posted it hires for such positions on an ongoing basis, so they leave the ad in the hopes of attracting talent for future openings. 3) Human Resources has a policy that all positions within the company must be posted externally for a specified period before they consider internal applicants. 4) The company has a few likely candidates in the interview process and is collecting additional resumes to review if an offer is rejected. This is not uncommon when an employer has a lengthy hiring process. 5) The company's priorities have changed and they have neither the staff nor the inclination to interact with you to provide feedback or to inform you the timetable has changed. I could go on. The thing about job postings is . . . sometimes people hit the jackpot with them. Sometimes they are a barometer of other opportunities within the company. However, it is possible to differentiate yourself, even when applying through an online form. We discuss how to blend online ads with more useful tactics when we discuss job search strategy as part of any package.




Recruiters contact me all the time on LinkedIn about positions I have no interest in. I get solicitations for positions I held 20 years ago. How can I learn about positions that are a better fit?


There are likely two factors at play. One, you can only attract what you share online. So, if your LinkedIn profile shows Project Management experience, you will receive inquiries for Project Manager opportunities even though you are now a Vice President who has not done traditional Project Management in 20 years. Two, your profile is not optimized. Recruiters and hiring managers seeking talent on LinkedIn use simple search tools that look for different words, patterns, and identifiers that result in a list of up to 1,000 profiles. Whether your profile is at the top of page 1 or the bottom of page 21 depends largely on how you set up your profile and how you use it. LinkedIn, which is a division of Microsoft, is notoriously secretive as to how their algorithm works. There are ways to raise your "score" in the algorithm to show up early and often in relevant searches. All our packages include recommendations for raising your score, which in turn increases the likelihood of your being found for the opportunities that make sense for you.




Have you ever seen a resume that was so bad you couldn't improve it?


I received a resume from a prospective client whose resume wasn't too bad, but there was something off about it that I couldn't quite place. I changed the lighting settings on my screen and realized she had a full-page color watermark of her face behind the text. I didn't pursue the job.




I haven't looked for a job in 20 years. Where do I even start?


Start with a self-assessment that is as objective as possible about what you like to do and what you do well. Make a short list of 5-10 companies you are interested in and check out their Career pages to see what skills and experience they are willing to pay for. The point where market demand, what you enjoy, and what you do well converge is a good place to begin. During a Free phone consultation, I can walk you through where to go from there.




What's the difference between you and the people I see charging half as much?


Companies that charge low rates for resume services usually use marginally attractive templates and simply paste your old resume into their format, cleaning up obvious typos or grammar issues as they go. Many make no attempt to hide the fact that they are simply formatters. Some even provide a lengthy questionnaire, so you can copy/paste your resume section-by-section and then have it auto-formatted. Your resume will be worked on by someone who likely has no genuine business leadership experience. My pricing is industry-average, and the LinkedIn, Cover Letter design, and Strategy coaching included with all packages is not performed at the same level, if at all, by lower-cost competitors. With us, you get the following benefits that add up to a creative, individualized problem-solving approach matched exactly to your background and goals:

  • 20+ years of experience as Executive Recruiters who have worked on thousands of hires. As a result, the recommendations we make are based the on feedback of hundreds of hiring managers, HR professionals, recruiters, and investors.
  • Extensive writing and editing experience, including direct work as a Technical Production Editor for the American Psychological Association, publisher of the APA Style Guide, the foremost resource for professional writing.
  • Career coaching experience for both executives and new college graduates, with a focus on the high-impact tactics that move the needle in a job search. We enjoy discussing career philosophy as much as anyone, but when it gets down to production, we know the processes that yield the most results in the shortest timeframe with the least amount of effort.
  • Hundreds of connections who can help amplify your search efforts – headhunters, HR contacts, relocation services, hiring managers, software providers, executive networks. We are serious about going WAY BEYOND resumes to land you the opportunity you want.




How can I improve my LinkedIn profile without my boss noticing?


More than half of our clients share this concern. In our phone consultation, we discuss the extent to which you need to practice discretion and modify our recommendations accordingly. There are ways to attract more "wanted" attention to your profile without attracting the attention of your boss or co-workers.




There is a specific company I am interested in. What's the best way to learn about opportunities I might be a fit for there?


Now we're talking! The best first step toward a high-percentage job pursuit is to know where you want to work. We will work with you to build a focused campaign that will grab the attention of your target audience. These days it is easier than ever to research a company, and we will tie that research to the most likely method of approach.




I have experience as a contributor and a manager and want to apply to both roles. Do I need two resumes?


It is much easier to create 2 resumes than to tailor one for each job you want to apply to. With our Professional package, you have the option of a modified 2nd resume at no additional charge. Clients find this useful in the following situations:

  • They need a resume for their current industry and one that is more industry-generic
  • They have experience in more than one position and want the option of searching for both. For example, someone with Project Management and Product Management experience.
  • They want the option of a lateral move and to apply for positions that would move them up one level.
  • They want to focus their search on different “types” of companies. For example, software companies and management consulting firms.
In our initial consultation, we will discuss whether you have more than 1 potential outcome in mind and whether it makes sense to create a specialized variation of your main resume.




I worked for a couple unlucky start-ups. How can you help me not look like a job hopper?


Don't worry, most people have a blemish or two on their work history. We believe that resumes are meant to function as your marketing document, not as a rap sheet. We can get creative in how we tell your story, arranging layouts and themes to display your credentials in the best possible light. We will cover the subject of "Resume Rhinoplasty" in our Phone Consultation.




Can you help me switch industries?


Through our consultation and resume writing process, we can identify universally desired attributes that transfer to different industries. We research companies based on your interests to learn what qualities they desire in their employees. and partner with you to display such content that is predictive of success on your resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letters to "connect the dots" convincingly for your target audience.





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