Résumé Rewrite Services
April 4, 2014
Helping people with a job application is not something I do. Unless you accidentally send it to me when asking your friends to review your cover letter before applying to be president of a bank. Especially if the email ends, "Constructive not your usual Tom. Thanks." This exchange is about a year old now so I don't think it's going to do anyone any harm (though I'm sad to report it looks like my help wasn't enough assuming the Management section of the web site is kept up).
The first thing I'd say is sending this to the wrong tclancy does not bespeak great attention to detail. Moving forward from there:
- Second graf, "For most of my career, I have been second-in-command" - this says the opposite of what you're trying to stress. Rather than suggesting you've been in positions of authority and gained insight into running a business, it makes it sound like you're typecast as a second banana.
- Fourth, "acquisition by US Trust..." don't use an ellipsis instead of a period. It makes you look like an Internet comment troll.
- Fifth, "I am greatly involved with many of the initiatives related to these departments." - take it easy on the adverbs. It doesn't add anything here and feels clumsy
- First sentence in the sixth, I'm just not feeling it. Show, don't tell. You get the point across in the rest of the paragraph, but this just feels like marketing BS
- Eighth, the last sentence ("I take the time to listen . . .") is a car crash, with clauses running into strange punctuation and everybody veering out of control.
- In general, look for instances of the word "that" and see if the sentence still means the same without them and remove them.
- Tenth, REWORK. "I try to proactively manage expectation" - you're better than that. At least, Internet Stranger, I hope you are.
- Community Involvement. Take another swing in this section too:
- "my community involvement strikes the appropriate balance between managing the outreach initiatives with the efficient functioning of the Credit Union." As opposed to what, running the place into the ground to plant trees?
- "I participate in a variety of philanthropic events." Show, don't tell. Otherwise it feels like you got dragged to a dinner once. WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO HIDE, [PERSON'S NAME]?
- General: stop using the word "Philosophy". You're not Plato, you're a guy with some ideas about how to get things done. Tell me what they are.
- Balance Sheet section, "able to provide the type of accurate and comprehensive information that has been routinely disseminated within the various institutions at which I have been employed." That sentence feels like the opposite of clearly communicating info.
- "the balance sheet is very efficient" - the balance sheet isn't a sentient being or a process. Let's reword here. I'd also like to see a deep dive into how you balance assets across M1/ M2/ M3. We can't just get away with hand-waving here, this is the major leagues now, this is your ticket to The Show.
- "I was introduced to entrepreneurship at an early age through my family’s business"— you know what's coming by now: "Show, don't tell". What was the family business that you're so cagey about it? Was Dad dropping guys into the Boston thruway construction for Whitey or something?
- Not sure how I feel about the lower-case initials in the signature section, feels a little chatty, but you know the corporate culture better than I do.
And I got a nice response:
Tom, if I can call you by your first name, you have inspired me to be a better man and given me hope as an underachiever. I have rarely been presented with a hard hitting, constructive critique of any of my presentations let alone a draft meant for someone else. I thank you for taking the time and opening my eyes to several of my weaknesses although, being reflective, I do believe I have my ego in check and I do want to improve where needed. Never have I had someone as articulate and creative comment on my work, writing or needs improvement areas and given that you are a complete stranger the whole experience is that much more unique. So, thanks again for your comments as they are impressive beyond this layman's capabilities. You definitely made the real Tom proud although a very impressive "peanut gallery" sound bite guy in his own right. I wish you well and I will hopefully mistakenly run other materials by you in the future.