Value vs. Values – What should your résumé be focused on? 

By Joe Szynkowski |

The résumé was once a data dump – a paper receptacle onto which job candidates would unload every sales metric and company penny they had a hand in saving. 

The tide has turned. 

Companies are now looking more into how new hires will fit their cultures. Personality tests are carrying serious weight these days, as companies are vetting their finalists in an effort to shrink turnover and swell employee engagement. 

Read the new Time magazine cover feature for proof. 

I recently worked on a résumé project for a banking executive for a $10B national entity. 

When I asked him to describe his greatest achievement with the bank, he skipped over the millions of dollars he had added to the bottom line. Instead he detailed his role in catalyzing major gains in the bank’s Gallup survey for employee satisfaction scores. 

Values over value. It’s a sign of the times. 


Follow Tim Tebow’s lead when trying to beat the job gap

By Joe Szynkowski |

The No. 1 question I get from resume clients is: “How do I overcome a big gap in employment?” This is a tough one because there are so many life circumstances that prompt work history instability.

Maybe you decided to stay home with the kids until they started school. Maybe you became a world traveler and spent the past two years nomadically checking countries off your must-see list. Then again, maybe you were fired.

Take Tim Tebow, for example. The former college star and much maligned NFL pro recently signed a comeback contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. The last time Tebow threw a touchdown pass, he was beating my Steelers in an AFC wild-card game on Jan. 8, 2012.

I still remember falling to the floor after that throw. Thanks, Tim.

Tebow was soon traded to the Jets, cut by the Jets and then cut by the Patriots in 2013 – seemingly putting an end to Tebowmania.

But it’s what Tebow has done in the past two years that can be a lesson to job-seekers everywhere. The proof is in his new one-year deal with the Eagles.

He Worked

We all handle adversity differently, but Tebow should be a role model to us all. What did he do when the Patriots became the latest team to refuse him a roster spot?

He went to work.

Tebow signed a multiyear deal to join ESPN as an analyst for the SEC Network in 2013.

Here, his statement when he signed the deal:

“When I was 6 years old, I fell in love with the game of football, and while I continue to pursue my dream of playing quarterback in the NFL, this is an amazing opportunity to be part of the unparalleled passion of college football and the SEC.”

Tebow was articulate in his ESPN post, offering unique insights on the college football conference he dominated during his time as a Heisman Trophy winner on the Florida Gators. And just like in Gainesville, he put everything he had into his analyst role.

Job-seekers, you should do the same. If you’re unexpectedly let go from your corporate accounting job, start a one-person consulting corporation to stay current in the industry. Offer your services to a nonprofit that could use your financial acumen.

Sometimes, being backed into the unemployment corner makes us hungrier and more passionate about our craft. Stay involved, whatever you do.

He Honed His Craft

Along with staying close to the game through his analyst role, Tebow continuously planted bugs in the ears of people wondering if he still had NFL blood in his veins. He did so without bellyaching to the media. He did so with class.

Tebow teamed with former Major League pitcher Tom House to improve his throwing technique. House recently told The Sports Show, “He’s probably had 10,000 reps. He’s been working out with us on a regular basis for a couple of years.”

Lesson: If you’re in a career gap, work on your skills. Take some professional development trainings or learn a new software at your local community college. These extra efforts not only look great on your resume but will prove to prospective employers that you are serious about getting back in the game.

Overcoming the job gap is not impossible. Especially if you take the Tebow approach.

Joe Szynkowski has written 1,000+ resumes for happy clients across the world and looks forward to adding you to his list. Find him at or @JoeSzynkowski on Twitter.

The Freelancer Resume

Joe Szynkowski |

Yes, it’s getting easier than ever to freelance. Elance, oDesk, People Per Hour, Fiverr, Freelancer and many more – the list of online job portals have made finding freelance work easier than ever. This overloaded marketplace has also made it the most competitive time in the history of contract work.

And it doesn’t look to be clearing up anytime soon.

But what does this mean for the resume of the freelancer?

Is it a dinosaur, stumbling around the online job board world all extinct and stuff? Or is it more important than ever, helping you land those dream gigs like the T-Rex you are?

Prehistoric puns aside, the importance of the freelancer resume in 2015 is probably somewhere in the middle.

Here’s why it is still relevant:

  • No matter how digitized the job market has become (online portfolios, personal websites, social media), many recruiters still prefer the traditional resume when sourcing candidates. It helps them keep organized records of their applicants and makes life easier on them since you’re the one submitting information compared to them searching for it online.
  • A resume is a marketing document, selling your skills and key specialties. As businesses are looking for more and more “Just In Time” workers to complete special projects, it’s important to show recruiters specific examples of how you’ve completed similar initiatives in the past. The resume is customizable on every submission, unlike your static website.

Unless you have a crystal ball…

You may be content in your freelance role today. Taking on referral work and building your business slowly but surely. But what happens if you get an offer to come back to the (gasp) corporate world? The first thing a recruiter will ask for is your resume.

I know. You hardly have enough time to shower, finish your work and play with the kids. How are you supposed to fit updating your resume on your jam-packed calendar?

Here’s the trick.

You have to mix the process into your other “administrative” functions. As freelancers, we should be spending about 30 minutes a week on our financials – updating our profit & loss statement, moving money into our tax accounts to stay on the IRS’ good side.

This is also the perfect time to add to our resumes. Think of it as just another piece of boring, yet necessary work for your self-run business. Nobody wants to do it, but you really have to if you want to stay on top of things.

My next post covers the actual content within a freelancer resume. What sections rule the rest? What should you omit? Stay tuned.

Joe Szynkowski is a Certified Professional Resume Writer with 1,000+ happy clients across the world. Find me here or @JoeSzynkowski.

Resume UX

By Joe Szynkowski |

When writing our own resumes, we are laser focused on our professional experiences. How can I show hiring managers that my experience is in line with their job posting? What keywords should I included in my experience to pass through the computer filters.

Me, me, me. I, I, I.

It’s time to flip the script on how we attack the resume.

UX refers to “the quality of the user’s interaction with and perceptions of a system,” according to this U.S. Department of Health and Human Services site.

Much like professionals in the IT field are overwhelmingly committed to creating the optimal user experience (UX), resume writers (whether you’re handling your own or hiring a professional) need to fall into the same line of thinking.

In the non-digital world, think of UX as the first time you enter a public bathroom. Is it clean? Does it smell good? If yes, then you had a great UX and would likely use the bathroom again. If no, then get the hell out of there! You’ll probably think twice about stopping in again.

Your resume has to pass the hiring manager smell test before it gets placed in the keeper pile.

Here are three ways to boost the UX for readers of your resume (and no, one of them is not to spray air freshener on your document).

  1. Simplicity

If you’ve checked in with the trusty Internet lately, a resume should be written in reverse chronological format AT ALL TIMES. If you check back tomorrow, you might be told to shred your boring document and submit your application in the form of a video. Point being, there is a lot of conflicting information out there regarding how to best position your information.

The first step in making sure you choose the right one? Consider your audience. Hiring managers are overwhelmed with new applications hitting their desks. Keep it simple.

  1. The Information Structure

Yes, the reverse chronological resume works best for recruiters I’ve spoken with. They don’t like playing “find the most recent job” on your resume, so place it at the top of your job history and then go backwards.

And make it easy to find the pillars of any good resume: Your contact information, key skills, job history, achievements and education.

  1. Handling The Gap Issue

If you have a gap in your work history, include a one-sentence career note in its place that reads “Devoted 2010 – 2012 to obtaining technical training or caring for children or traveling the world for community work. As long as you’re honest and up front about your experience, you’ll win over prospective employers.

That’s because they won’t have to spend time guessing why you were only employed for a certain period or what you were doing in between jobs.

All combined, this will make for a seamless resume UX.

Check out or follow me @JoeSzynkowski on Twitter.

Your Resume & The Final Four

Joe Szynkowski |

A busted bracket is the least of the worries facing many Americans today – unless thousands of dollars were on the line. Then, definitely worry on Americans!

The job market is as competitive as ever, with an average of three unemployed applicants vying for every open job position. Multiply that by the nearly 4 million available jobs open every month in the United States, and you don’t need to be a math major to figure out the longshot odds of landing a new job.

Hundreds of resumes have hit my inbox over the past few months and there are four main mistakes I see time and time again.

How does yours stack up?

1. Too much information. We’re trying to tell and sell your story in as concise a manner possible. No recruiter cares that you were on the swim team in your sophomore year of college back in the early 1990s. Keep the focus sharp on why you are the best fit for the position.

2. Not enough keywords. So many job-seekers load up the top half of their resume with industry keywords, only to never back them up within the job descriptions. A recruiter is looking to connect the dots between what you consider your key skills and how you have actually applied them.

3. No contact information. It’s OK to omit your physical address from your resume, but at least let your prospective employer know what city you live in. Hiring managers factor in the logistics of bringing new hires on-board and will need to know if a re-location budget will be required to lure you in.

4. The Typo. I’ve seen it all. From “pubic” relations to operations “manger,” an embarrassing typo will not only disqualify you from contention but could land you on a list like this.

Consider this a challenge: Sit down with your resume sometime before March Madness comes to an end and take care of any of the aforementioned mistakes before your real-life career bracket gets busted.