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Two-Minute Warning

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So you’d like to work for us, and you’ve sent a resume. Good for you … or maybe not. Let’s talk about your resume for just a moment, because a moment is all you really have to capture our attention. If you do, you move on to a window of about two minutes’ worth of attention, and those two minutes will determine whether or not you move on to the interview phase. So here’s a little advice from our decades of perusing resumes.

Stick around. This tip is for those just starting out, and may come too late for others. A resume that shows you’ve worked for 10 different companies in the last five years is the reddest of red flags. No one expects you to spend your entire life in one place, but it takes a great deal of time and money to hire and train someone, and if you’re going to be gone in six months that effort will be wasted.

Mind the gaps. Having said that, don’t just leave things out. A resume that shows long spans of time unaccounted for is another warning signal to a hiring company. The gaps might be easily explained in an interview, but you may never get that chance. At the very least, address any inconsistencies in your cover letter.

Progress. A resume can tell a story, and a great story shows a progression of increased responsibility with each successive position. Show us that you’re someone with a history of growing to the next level.

Just the facts. Applying for a sales position? We want details and numbers. If your resume says you were the top salesperson at a firm, that’s great, but we don’t know whether there were two of you or 100. Better: “Increased year-over-year sales by X percent in my division,” and/or “Brought Y new clients on board in a 6-month period.” Sales is about numbers … make sure your resume is also.

Spelling counts. We hire a lot of workers who don’t really have to write anything as part of their job description, so the fact that you’re not a strong speller doesn’t necessarily disqualify you. But for heaven’s sake, get someone who reads and writes well to look over your resume and cover letter and make the necessary corrections. That shows attention to detail, and that’s a vital qualification for any position.

Mike Popowski is President of PBI Restorations. Reach him at mike@pbirestores.com .