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What Is A Resume? Definition And Guide For Every Job Seeker

What Is A Resume? Definition And Guide For Every Job Seeker

This year appears to be a promising year for job hunters. With the labor market recovering from the pandemic, there is significant projected job growth from 2020 to 2030. However, this does not mean that landing their preferred jobs is simple for everyone. Even in current market, prospects differ greatly based on the industry, skill level, and competencies.

If you’re looking for a new job, knowing the trends and what is a resume for job seekers and employers means you’ll have a better chance of landing one. Are you struggling with writing the perfect resume? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. Let’s take a closer look on what a resume is before you take the leap on your next career.

What is a Resume?

While people may have different notions on what a resume is, others think that its sole function is to help them land a job. This isn’t completely the case. A resume summarizes an applicant’s work experience, competencies, skills, and accomplishments. This job search tool, whether it’s on paper or in electronic form, is a vehicle for you to market yourself to potential employers. If you are running a business or applying for college admission, you will also need a resume.

Moreover, your resume contains information about your professional experience. This comprises a list of all of the jobs you’ve held as well as a list of skills you’ve acquired during the course of your career and schooling. As a result, you must be succinct and precise, highlighting all of your academic and career experiences that convince the company that you are suited for the position.

Businesspeople Hold Resume During Interviews

What is a Resume’s Purpose?

Your resume is a means for you to communicate to a potential employer your desire to apply for a job. Keep in mind, though, that your resume is different from a biography. On average, an employer spends no more than 20 seconds screening and selecting all incoming resumes. Your prospective employers may simply glance at your resume for a few seconds before deciding whether or not to give you an interview.

Make sure your resume is tailored to particular employers by stressing your relevant talents for that position and highlighting any past experience that might be beneficial to them. Regardless of how many hours you spent preparing it, if your resume is written well and equipped with powerful resume keywords, you will be invited to an interview.

Why is Resume Important?

Now that you have an idea what is a resume, you must also understand its importance in today’s ever-changing job market.

You are a regular person to your potential employers. They can tell how well you communicate by glancing at your resume. It also shows your ability to arrange data and write clearly, as well as your attention to detail. Rather than utilizing the same resume for all job applications, you should personalize your resume and cover letter to the specific demands of the business.

Make sure your resume is chock-full of employer benefits, not simply listing the skills that you have. This way, it will help you stand out from the crowd. Today’s resumes, rather than the skills-based resumes of the past, must be results driven, according to resume experts. The employer must instantly realize what benefits you provide to his organization by reading your resume.

What to Include on a Resume

Choosing what to put on a resume can be a real struggle even if it’s not your first time writing a resume. After all, not every resume has the same sections. Depending on your experience level and where you’re applying, your resume might look completely different.

  • Previous work accomplishments
  • Soft, hard, and technical skills are all part of your career history
  • Information about your past positions
  • Information on your education
  • Certifications, accolades, and awards
  • Anything else you might want to add on your resume at some point in the future
Job Seeker Researching What Is A Resume Format On Their Laptop

1. Contact Details

Your first and last names, phone number, and email address should all be included. Make sure to add your complete address. You may also include your LinkedIn profile if it’s up to date, as well as your postal address if you want to convey that you reside in the area where you’re applying.

2. Goal or Resume Summary

A resume summary (also known as a career headline, credentials profile, or summary profile) is a short statement that emphasizes your essential talents and expertise in order to catch the attention of the hiring manager. The part, as the name implies, is a summary of your qualifications, the contents of which are drawn from other sections of your resume. Your major career highlights, areas of specialization, licenses and certificates, technical aptitude, and language competence are all included in this section.

3. Skills or Areas of Expertise

The skills part of your resume demonstrates to employers that you have the talents needed to succeed in the position. Employers frequently pay close attention to the skills part of your resume when deciding whether or not you should advance to the next stage of the recruiting process. Include any resume abilities that are relevant to the post in this section. To show that you’re a well-rounded applicant, include a good balance of hard and soft abilities on your resume.

Soft Skills Include:

  • Active Listening
  • Communication
  • Customer Service
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Leadership
  • Management Skills
  • Problem-Solving
  • Time Management

Hard Skills Include:

  • Copywriting
  • Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
  • Cashier Skills
  • Video Editing
  • Social Media
  • Graphic Design
  • Project Management
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Business and Data Analysis
  • Patient Care
  • Server Maintenance
  • Database Management
  • Engineering

4. Work History

List every previous job you’ve held and put them in chronological order, starting with the most recent experience and working backwards. Put the names of the companies, the dates of employment, and locations of assignment. List each of your responsibilities and major accomplishments for each job you’ve held.

5. Education

Include the names of your schools, your highest degree, and your majors and minors. If you don’t have any experience or it’s relevant to the position, you may also provide your GPA. Take not to include numbers when it’s higher than 3.5. Plus, relevant courses taken while completing your undergraduate or graduate education. Aside from education, you may list your certifications or training.

Job Interview Between Recruiter And Applicant

Types of Resume Formats

You may use various resumes to apply for job vacancies. A chronological, functional, hybrid, or targeted resume are all options. Each resume kind serves a distinct function. As a result, you must consider your present job situation while determining the best format to write. Read on to find out which resume format is right for you.

1. Chronological Resume

For years, people have thought of the chronological resume as the standard of what is a resume. A chronological resume is a resume format that lists your work history in order in terms of dates of each position. It starts with your most recent job listed at the top of the section. This type of format is particularly advisable for those with rich work history, the chronological resume prioritizes and lists your work experience and achievements from most to least recent.

2. Functional Resume

What is a resume format with skills as the highlight instead of work experience? It’s the functional resume structure. If you’re a new graduate with limited job experience or switching fields, you can utilize a functional resume. You’ll want to get your skill summary section just right if you want to create a compelling functional resume.

3. Combination Resume

A combination resume, often known as a hybrid resume, combines the approach of a chronological and functional format. In other words, it gives equal weight to your talents and job experience. This format enables you to give a fast overview of your actual work experience as well as transferable skills. 

Note: The combination format shouldn’t be selected in writing a resume unless you:

  • Are in the process of changing careers.
  • Have some gaps in your employment history.
  • Are a senior-level applicant with a broad variety of abilities and experience.

4. Targeted Resume

The core of creating a targeted resume is about scrutinizing the job posting you wish to fill in. In most cases, recruiting managers include the abilities, responsibilities, and characteristics that they are looking for in the job post. Then, on your resume, emphasize these skills to show that you’re a good fit for the job.

5. Infographic Resume

In today’s competitive job market, some job seekers are resorting to tools like visual resumes to help them stand out. In comparison to standard resume layouts, an infographic resume incorporates visual design components. An infographic resume combines style, color, and font styling to present work history. On the other hand, a typical resume merely uses plain text to list information from top to bottom.

Related Article: Resume Trends for 2022 to Kick-Start Your New Career

Resume Writing for Every Job Seeker

List prior successes and important contributions to show the company or hiring manager what you can bring to the table, and you’ll enhance your chances of landing an interview. Are you not putting your best foot forward on your resume? Do you require any further assistance? Our expert writers can review your resume for free or craft a compelling resume to get you noticed!

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Your First Step In Creating A Winning Resume

Your First Step In Creating A Winning Resume

Have you ever wondered how high-rise buildings are constructed? How airplanes are made? Or how bridges are built over water? Simple answer: They all started with outlines. This is also the same when creating a job application tool. Through a resume outline, you’ll be able to produce a well-structured, job-winning document that will help you take one step ahead of the competition and increase your chances of landing job interviews.

In this article, we’ll discuss what a resume outline is and its importance, the parts of a resume outline, and tips on how to create one. Plus, we’ll share with you an example to give you an idea how it should look like. Read on.

What is a Resume Outline?

First things first: Let’s define what a resume outline is.

Basically, a resume outline is a checklist, blueprint, or framework of your application document outlining what information and key components you should include in your resume. This helps you break down the details and identify what skills, qualifications, and experience you’ll highlight to match the job post you’re applying for. Furthermore, it helps you present what you can bring to the table.

Importance of Resume Outline

Since sending your resume is the best way to reach out to employers to express your interest in the job post, it’s crucial that you have a professionally written and well-structured document. Take note that the more organized and well-presented your resume is, there’s a higher chance of impressing hiring managers and acing your job search. And through a resume outline, this will help you organize your thoughts and guide you in creating a well-thought-out tool.

Millennial Job Seeker Typing Her Resume On Her Laptop

Parts of a Professional Resume Outline

Without further ado, below are the most common parts of a resume outline.

Resume Heading

Starting right at the top of your resume, include your full name, complete mailing address, email address, and phone numbers. Make sure that your contact details are correct and accurate to avoid missing job interview calls. You may also include your own website, LinkedIn URL, and job-related social media profiles, if there are any.

Resume Summary

This portion lets you highlight the combination of your skills, qualifications, and expertise in a brief and concise manner. Thus, it’s important that you showcase all your key traits and best feats to headhunters to keep them engaged in reading your job application tool.

Related Post: What Happened to Resume Objectives (and Why Summary Statements are the New Norm)

Skills Section

The skills section helps hiring managers easily identify whether you are familiar with the industry and you’ve got what it takes to perform the tasks. Knowing what skills you should put on your resume—whether hard or soft skills—can help you win your job search. Furthermore, your skills will also serve as your resume keywords necessary to beat the applicant tracking system (ATS).

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Work Experience

Your work history is one of the most important parts of your resume as this area speaks of what you’ve accomplished in your professional career. When presenting your work experience, be sure to list them in reverse chronological order. Include the company names and their locations, your specific job titles, and the employment dates. Meanwhile, enumerate your job descriptions and notable contributions using bullet points for easy reading.

Related Post: The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Resume with No Work Experience


Academic background plays a vital role in your job search as most employers prefer applicants with degrees. That being said; make sure that your education section is well-presented to effectively grab hiring managers’ attention. Indicate your complete degree and course title, school name and its location, and your graduation dates. You may also mention the awards, honors, recognition, and scholarships you’ve received, if there are any.

Training, Certifications, and Licenses

If you’ve maintained active involvement in several training and earned certifications and licenses relevant to the job you’re applying for, it’s highly recommended to include them in your job search tool as these add value to your application.

Other Possible Sections on Your Resume Outline

Aside from the abovementioned parts, you can also add another section for your professional affiliations, awards and honors, activities and community involvement, technical skills, and projects handled.

Job Applicant Typing His Resume At Night

Tips in Creating a Resume Outline

In order to outline your resume, you need to collect first all the important details such as your skills, qualifications, experience, accomplishments, and credentials and place them under their proper resume sections, as mentioned above. To help you, here are some tips on how to create a resume outline.

1. Carefully think of and gather all the details relevant to your target job.

Read the job posting thoroughly to identify the skills, qualifications, achievements, and requirements your target employer is looking for. Doing so will help you easily narrow down and highlight your relevant information on your document that will match the job requirements.

2. Put your information on your resume template.

On your resume outline, fill in the fields with your details including contact information, resume introduction, skills, work history, education, and training and certifications.

3. Customize your resume sections.

Depending on your information, list down all applicable sections to present what you have to offer. Make sure that the order of your sections showcases what you can contribute to the company.

4. Pick the best resume format.

Once you have reviewed the job posting and gathered all the necessary information to include on your resume, choose the right resume format that will effectively highlight your qualifications and best feats.

Related Post: Which Resume Format Best Suits Your Application?

5. Choose your resume layout.

Aside from resume outline, you should also pay attention to the layout of your job search tool—whether it is traditional, modern, or creative. Keep in mind that content and design work hand in hand to produce a professionally written, well-structured resume.

Example of a Resume Outline

To give you an idea how a resume outline is created, below is a sample you can consider as your guide in writing your own.

Customer Service Representative Resume Outline

• First and last name

Contact Information
• Complete mailing address
• Phone number
• Email address
• LinkedIn URL

Resume Summary
• In three to five sentences, showcase what you can bring to the table by mentioning your experience in the industry, your soft and hard skills, and other qualifications.

• Aside from resume summary, list here your industry-specific and soft skills.

Work Experience
• Company name and location
• Specific job title
• Inclusive employment dates
• Job descriptions and accomplishments/contributions

• Degree
• Course title
• Minor, focus, or concentration
• School name and location
• GPA, awards, honors, scholarships, and recognition
• Activities

• Training title
• Granting institution

Certifications and Licenses
• Name of certification and license
• Granting institution
• Expiration date

Professional Affiliations
• Organization name
• Position

For more ideas, you may take a look at our resume examples prepared by our expert resume writers.

Successful Job Interview Recruiter And Applicant Shake Hands

Let Our Experts Help You Write a Job-Winning Resume

Now that you have an idea on how to create a resume outline and how it should look like, are you ready to start with your first step in achieving your career goals? However, if you’re still struggling writing your own resume, you can rely on the experts.

At Resume Professional Writers, we are composed of a team of professional resume writers and career coaches committed to helping job applicants secure job interviews. Check out our best resume writing services to get started.

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7 Must-Haves for an Impactful Executive Resume

7 Must-Haves

As an executive looking for your next leadership challenge, you need your executive resume to make an impact and stand out from the crowd! A dry autobiography with a list of qualifications and job tasks isn’t going to achieve that for you.

Ensure your executive resume does not read as a history of your career (looking back) but as a marketing document (looking forward) that sells a specific product (you!) to a defined target market (your dream company).

Here are 7 must-haves to create an impactful executive resume that gets you noticed for top jobs.


7 Must-Haves for an Impactful Executive Resume

  1. Quantifiable results.

What details are unique only to you? What information can you share in your resume that no one else can? Your results.

A list of qualifications and generic responsibilities can be found on many executive resumes. But stories, accomplishments, and challenges unique to your leadership story will help you stand out from the crowd.

Give specific examples of how you cut costs, increased revenues, or saved time (give numbers, even if they are approximate). Share about times that you overcame obstacles to achieve success, directed teams to great outcomes, or turned around operations/situations/finances.

Emphasize relevant results to the particular company you’re applying to.

Use a storytelling formula to share your results:

  • Implemented new procedures that saved the company $40K over 3 months.
  • Led a team of 12 to increase sales by 30% over the previous year.


  1. Leadership skills

Unique to executive-level resumes, employers want to see what you can do and how you can lead and develop a team, a division, or a business to drive results. Demonstrate your ability to manage, find, and develop talent. Speak to your ability to direct processes and budgets.

Results-driven scenarios are a great start, but executive resumes also need to highlight leadership savvy. How have you mentored, guided, or helped lead a team to success? What is your leadership style and how has that benefited others? How have your decisions improved an organization?


  1. Modern format with white space

We are visual creatures and make quick decisions. Your executive resume might get skipped over if you have an outdated format crammed with big blocks of text.  If the file is hard to read, key content may never be seen or read!

Recruiters and hiring managers often begin with a quick scan, spending only a few seconds on the first pass. A modern format that quickly displays key areas ensures the essentials are easy to spot. A clean format also makes it easy for a reader to track through the file and pick out big wins and relatable details.

Use an accessible format that draws attention to the most crucial information, is pleasing to the eye, includes appropriate white space, and visually sets you up as the senior professional that you are.


  1. An eye-catching start (professional summary)

The top one-third of your resume is prime real estate – you want to capture attention early to get your readers engaged. Start strong with a clear headline that states intent (Executive Leader ….Chief Executive Officer….or EVP of Operations are examples). Next, ensure the opening shares an obvious benefit – how can you make an impact? What are you best known for?

This is not a ‘save the best for last’ type situation – if you don’t grab attention early, readers may not stick around to read to the end.

Make the start of your executive resume easy to read with a benefit statement and 4-5 bullet points of your career highlights (with quantifiable results). Mine up some of your best and most impactful successes near the start of the file. Feed the reader the really good stuff, first!


  1. Core proficiencies section

Soft skills and core proficiencies should focus on executive-level skillsets like change management, people development, risk mitigation, emotional intelligence, adaptability, financial stewardship, optimization, or innovation.

Target this section of your resume to each position. Think of the essential skills recruiters or hiring committees are looking to check off their list. Aim for critical proficiencies (both hard and soft) unique to your industry (rather than generic skills like ‘team player’ or ‘detailed oriented’).


  1. Keywords and phrases

Although I’m sure you are also networking, using LinkedIn, and working with recruiters, there may also be times when your executive resume needs to pass through an applicant tracking system.

Write for both humans (first and foremost) but also consider the system. Both ‘readers’ need to see alignment in resume content. Consider the keywords and phrases in the target job to address in your executive resume to improve file performance.

Use the job posting as a guide. The posting includes all the words and key phrases to consider. Integrate select words and phrases organically and truthfully throughout the file.


  1. Work History

This seems obvious, but I must mention it….an executive resume needs more than a history of your work and a list of responsibilities. The goal is to show how each role and company contributes to your career story. How can you highlight your value and impact? Can you provide the proof?

Tell a story about your career history, but do it succinctly. Heavy detail is not as important as quality facts.

Avoid a list of duties beginning with “I was responsible for”. Instead, start points with action words such as innovated, developed, motivated, helmed, generated, or directed.

Aim for reverse chronological order and focus heavily on your last 10-15 years of experience. If you have earlier experience that is VERY relevant, there are ways to position big impacts from earlier times in the file without having to go into great depth.


You only have one chance to make a first impression. Be sure your executive-level resume grabs attention, engages your readers, and gives an obvious benefit, demonstrating the value and impact you have to offer a company.

For more tips and resources on crafting an impactful executive resume, visit my blog or review a list of my award-winning executive resume writing services.


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Tips To Ensure A Well-Designed Resume

Tips To Ensure A Well-Designed Resume

Rise above other job searchers with the help of a well-designed resume. Learn how to add color in a resume layout—and make your job application stand out!

Should You Use Color on Your Resume?

Short answer, yes!

Many are hesitant to use colors in a resume, believing that doing so may leave a negative impressive to hiring managers. However, many employers today are open to fresh perspectives and using colors in a resume design can help your document standout.

There are things to remember despite the practice being accepted. First, you must take into account your industry. If you are searching for a job in digital and creative industries, then using color on your resume can help you showcase your design skills and standout from others. In contrast, traditional industries may need a more straightforward resume. So, choose darker colors to match the formal theme.

Second, you must look into your personality. You must find a balance between colors and spaces to make your resume format more appealing. The key is to make your resume clear and eye-catching. For more tips, read on.

Job Seeker Writing Resume On A Laptop

Advantages of Using Color in a Resume

Draws Attention

Hiring managers receive a handful of resumes and cover letters each day. So, there is a high chance that you are competing with a hundred other job searchers for a single job post. Set yourself apart from the pile of applicants using a unique resume. One way to catch their eyes is through a well-made design using color in a resume.

Improves Layout

After standing out from other job searchers, your next challenge is to let them see your winning feats. If done right, resume colors and layout can do this trick. Hiring managers may quickly scan your document so you must be able to highlight your topnotch skills within a short time. Also, colors can provide a smooth transition to your sections and improve your entire resume layout.

Shows Creativity

Applying for jobs in a creative industry? You may want to start strong with a creative resume. Showcase your skills with colors and design through your resume. Choose the right hues, best resume fonts, and resume layout based on your job post. If the company uses a color scheme, you may also want to use it. This can show that you did your research prior to the job search.

Conveys Personality

Aside from skills, you can also include a glimpse of your personality into your resume. Adding color and choosing the color palette can already give hints about you. Some hiring managers also look for one’s personality and assess their compatibility with the rest of the team early on. So, having a good first impression is crucial in winning the job posting.

Businessman Interviewer Consider A Resume

Disadvantages of Using Color in a Resume

Affects Readability

There are hiring managers who use software, such as applicant tracking systems, to screen through the resumes they receive every day. The system scans the resume to find keywords for a job role. At times, an overly designed resume may not be scanned properly. Nonetheless, using more graphics or mismatched colors over words may affect this process.

Distracts Reading

As said previously, adding colors can improve the resume layout. However, if done wrong, it can also make your resume difficult to read. Thus, choose colors that would match your tone. Also, select areas that need more emphasis and focus the colors on those parts to achieve balance on colors, white background, and texts.

Tips in Choosing the Best Colors in a Resume

Adding colors in a resume might be a bit tricky at first. Therefore, we’ve listed below useful color guides to help you choose the best palette for your job application.

  • Dark Colors – Perhaps the safest color scheme for starters are dark colors such as green or blue. Darker colors might not be striking, but they provide enough color variation to your resume. Avoid using dark font color over dark background for it may be hard to read.
  • Bright Colors – In contrast, bright colors are harder to pull off than dark colors. Wrong colors can instantly put your resume into a bad light. On the contrary, for creative job posts, this may be a good chance to show your skills in design. Also, avoid using more than three main colors for it may appear too cluttered.
  • Black and White – As much as adding colors can be fun, there’s nothing wrong with black and white. This scheme is the safest option for traditional companies.

How to Use Colors in a Resume

Drafting your colored resume soon? Here are guides to follow:

  1. Draft your resume. Write a resume without colors yet. You may use the black-and-white color scheme at this stage. This step will help you organize your skills and feats into your chosen resume format. This will be the core of your job application.
  2. Choose a color palette. After reading the pros and cons of each color scheme, decide which one fits your taste and industry. Plan which colors will be used for the document. Also, consider the companies color scheme and apply it to show that you know them.
  3. Select sections to highlight. Choose areas that you want to highlight. This may be your core skills and experiences. Adding colors will draw the reader’s attention to the right places if included properly.
  4. Apply colors to layout. Combine the basic resume with the color scheme plan. Add the chosen colors and improve the sections that need emphasis. At this point, you may still change the colors based on the initial output.
  5. Check design. View the entire resume and check if the colors matched. Read and spot the areas that can be hard to read. Revise accordingly until the desired design is achieved.
Job Seeker Using Laptop To Incorporate Color In A Resume

Perfect Your Job Search with the Right Color in a Resume

Win more job chances with a well-made resume. Partner with a resume writing expert to help you add the right color in a resume. Gain more edge in today’s job competition and take the latest resume trends to your advantage. Contact us to learn the best resume offers for you!

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5 Strategies for Dealing With a Gap on Your Executive Resume

5 Strategies for Dealing With a Gap on Your Executive Resume

Concerned about showing an employment gap on your resume?

You’re hardly alone.

Executives, just like other candidates, often experience lapses in employment due to job searches, board work, illness, downsizing, performance, and of course, COVID.

Your resume, however, is meant to be an impressive picture of your accomplishments, value proposition, and skills – NOT the place to bring up a potentially damaging period in your work history.

So how DO you explain a gap on your executive resume?

Here are 5 strategies to help you decide on the best plan:

1 – Realize that gaps in employment aren’t rare.

You aren’t the only leader facing this issue.

Maybe you lost your passion for the industry – or realized the company was headed for troubled times. Some executives find themselves job hunting after realizing their employer had a much different cultural, financial, or leadership philosophy.

Business Insider even suggested applicants with resume gaps should be seen as more valuable, as they have often experienced a period of upskilling, self-reflection, or career exploration.

Of course, layoffs, mergers, or restructuring inevitably hit many industries. All of these situations are, unfortunately, very common!

You may also find attitudes toward gaps have softened (as a similar shift has occurred with hybrid work).

No matter what the cause, most gaps are easier to explain in person during your interview – and some won’t even come up, especially if years have passed since you left.


2 – Add a brief note to your resume if your gap occurred during COVID.

If you were unemployed between 2020 and 2022, you have plenty of company.

covid employment gapThe pandemic and its impact on business disrupted many operations and left businesses reeling – with little opportunity to recover.

Many executives and senior leaders worked hard to keep the company afloat during this unprecedented time. When revenue tanked, costs soared, or supply chain issues surfaced, you may have needed to shut the doors or scale back teams.

If this happened to you, a COVID gap can be easily noted on your resume, with an entry such as “Left operation after COVID-related shutdown” under the description of your job.

Depending on the pandemic’s effect (especially in retail or restaurant businesses), you might not even need to mention why the operation didn’t survive.


3 – Leave a long-ago gap for discussion during your interviews.

You may fear disclosing a gap in your work history, no matter when it occurred.

However, it’s likely that recruiters or employers aren’t as concerned about a long-ago gap as you are. Downsizing and industry changes have become so common that you might not find it necessary to mention a lull in employment.

Here are situations where a gap from 6+ years ago may not be relevant (and you don’t need a resume entry):

  • You transitioned from one leadership role to the next, but were unemployed for a few months while job hunting;
  • Your executive team experienced a reorganization, and while it took a while to find your next job, you’ve been employed steadily for the last several years;
  • Most of your industry or company took a substantial hit due to circumstances beyond your control (such as the fallout from a previous recession), and nearly everyone was unemployed at that time.

In these cases, try leaving your work gap to be discussed during the interview (and plan to be ready with a brief summary).

Resist the urge to over-explain on your resume or LinkedIn Profile, unless you are presented with evidence that these gaps are hurting your job search.


4 – Take action if a recent (non-COVID) gap could affect your brand.

Perhaps you left a former employer of your own accord in recent years, then went back to work. In this case, you SHOULD mention the gap on your resume.

masters degree employment gapIt’s best to show this time between employers as a positive  career step. For example, your work history can have an entry called Sabbatical or Master’s Degree Studies that covers the time you took to upskill, work on a special project, or attend an educational program.

You can also use Family Care to describe how you managed the needs of an ailing relative or children.

Don’t worry about the implications of these situations. Recruiters and employers have seen these scenarios before; you didn’t invent them!

Whatever you use, stick to the TRUTH and use a simple, concise description. (If your situation was more complex, such as incarceration or extended layoffs, consider working with a career coach to come up with an overall plan.)

The idea is to offer employers a glimpse of what may have happened, without dwelling too heavily on this aberration in your career.


5 – Bring the focus back to your personal brand.

Even if an employer comments on your break in employment, your best interview and job-search strategy is to emphasize what you OFFER.

If you’re prepared with a synopsis of your gap – coupled with reasons you can drive revenue, growth strategy, compliance, or technology modernization – this part of your employment will be less important.

As an example, consider these interview statements that place emphasis on the executive’s future contributions:

“It’s true that I left the manufacturing industry during a family situation that is no longer a factor in my life. I’m ready to continue delivering the same level of insight and change that took 6 of our regions to the top of the market.”

“Taking a sabbatical to re-center my career into non-profit was the best move I ever made. Combined with my development experience raising more than $7M in 2 different companies, I’m ready to lead the $25M in growth important to you today.”


The bottom line: no matter when and how your gap occurred, it may not be a deal breaker to employers.

Your executive resume and LinkedIn presence should always emphasize capable leadership and a strong value proposition, rather than draw attention to unrelated periods in your career.

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How to Discover a Fulfilling Career Path – Affordable Professional Resume Writing Services

How to Discover a Fulfilling Career Path - Affordable Professional Resume Writing Services

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Affordable, Professional Resume Writing Services in Kansas City

Whether fresh out of college or years into a dead-end job, how do you discover a fulfilling career path? Here are 3 simple ways to help you figure out what career would be a great fit and help you feel satisfied at work.

  1. Self-reflect – Think about times in your life when you have felt most happy–was it helping others, was it helping someone pick out the perfect solution for their needs, was it resolving an issue? What types of activities make you feel energized, enthusiastic, and motivated? Can you remember then last time that you lost track of time because you were so enthralled in your work? Try to self-reflect on what really fuels your passions and interests
  2. Assess your strengths – You could take a strength finder’s assessment, or you could poll your colleagues and friends. Try to figure out what your greatest strengths are and how you can use those in your career. Are you a natural leader? Are you an excellent communicator? Are you good at motivating others? Where can you add the most value? Do you have any special skills or abilities?
  3. Identify your needs – Based on your lifestyle, what are your work needs? Do you need flexibility to be able to pick up your kids from school, or can you work long hours in the office? Are you able to travel? What would be your ideal work environment? Do you need to work from home? What kind of work-life balance do you require?

Once you’ve spent some time thinking about the above items, you can start to narrow down your search for a fulfilling career. For more career advice, contact us at 816-986-0909


Steve Hankins2022-04-13T14:17:47-05:00

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Tips to Consider This April Fool’s Day at Work – Affordable Professional Resume Writing Services

Tips to Consider This April Fool's Day at Work - Affordable Professional Resume Writing Services

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Affordable, Professional Resume Writing Services in Kansas City

Ah, the first of April means the beginning of Spring–and of course, a day where many people partake in office pranks. While having fun at work is important, it’s very important to consider a few things before you fool your co-workers into doing something embarrassing.

  1. Consider your company culture – What is the culture like in your office? While some office cultures can be silly and playful, some offices are more serious and practical. Be careful to consider your company culture before pulling a prank.
  2. Think about your audience – Not everyone shares the same kind of humor that you do, so be careful to consider your audience first. What one person finds hilarious might be way out of line for someone else. Be sure that you know what you’re getting into before you pull a prank on an unwitting victim.
  3. Keep it “G-rated” & work appropriate – It’s never okay to talk about things like race, religion, or sexual orientation. If you’re going to pull a prank, it should be very simple and professional. Don’t do anything that will get you in trouble, or will hurt someone’s feelings.


Steve Hankins2022-04-13T14:36:41-05:00

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How to Write Your LinkedIn Profile When You’re Still Employed

How to Write Your LinkedIn Profile When You're Still Employed

Planning to update LinkedIn ahead of your job search – while you’re still employed?

Maybe you’d rather not appear to be job hunting, but would like to promote your skills in case a great opportunity shows up.

new job

You’ll see a number of ways you can put yourself “out there” in 7 Must Know LinkedIn Tips for Executives, even if you’re only beginning to look around.

Here are some things to keep in mind when updating LinkedIn while you’re employed:

Your boss is probably updating their LinkedIn profile, too.

Every day, more executives join LinkedIn (at least 10 million, according to this article on LinkedIn demographics by Omnicore Agency), fostering their networks for a strong digital identity.

In short, if you’re on LinkedIn, so is your boss – and they’re updating their Profile continually or considering it.

It’s also likely that your colleagues are combing LinkedIn to see what others have said about themselves, and wondering how to properly adjust their own profiles while still employed. (There’s nothing stopping you from joining them by looking at how they’ve described their own backgrounds).

Consider these steps in updating your LinkedIn presence to start adding more content online, while keeping an eye on whether your leadership teams and colleagues are doing the same.

You’ll quickly realize that you are not alone.


Your LinkedIn update can promote your employer as well as your own career.

If you fear the boss looking over your shoulder, relax. Your LinkedIn profile can tout your expertise and the company’s reputation at the same time, to everyone’s benefit.

To do this effectively, think about how to market what your employer does and how you help deliver these results, starting with answers to these questions:

  • What product or service does your employer deliver, and what type of positive reputation do they have for doing it?
  • How has your work helped them stay competitive or innovative in the field?
  • If you met someone at an industry conference, what would you tell them about your employer?
  • How would you describe your impact or legacy in the industry?

Then, turn these answers into a synopsis that benefits both parties, such as this example:

As Chief Revenue Officer for XYZ Company, I work behind the scenes to ensure our sales teams completely understand B2B market needs for new sheet metal components.

By partnering with suppliers on new steel and fabrication requirements, we’ve created trend-setting, innovative products. Our sales and revenue metrics reflect a #1 ranking among major residential and commercial customers.

My role as CRO demands an insider’s view of product strategy, growth opportunities, lead generation, and marketing, enabling me to collaborate with senior executives and build a data-driven organization.

We strive to create a positive customer experience with the right talent, sales enablement, and integrity that has positioned XYZ as the premier source for quality building and roofing products.

This About section for a Chief Revenue Officer describes a company-focused and driven leader with the right skills to take the company forward – and to satisfy the needs of prospective employers.

Note the keywords judiciously added throughout the text – strengthening LinkedIn SEO and describing this executive’s fit in the next company.


You (likely) can’t add all your achievements when updating LinkedIn.

Your resume and LinkedIn Profile are accessed differently: you can distribute your resume confidentially, but you can’t take back company secrets after they’re published online.

So, it’s best to tune your Profile to avoid disclosing confidential details on LinkedIn (even if you’re adding the same data to your resume).

Think about it: if you’re describing extensive turnarounds or transformation projects, this could imply that your employer is struggling. Improving productivity might also indicate that your company doesn’t hire or mentor top producers.

To update your LinkedIn Profile while employed, look at the accomplishments in your current role. Are there new projects you shouldn’t mention online, or metrics that are only known to company insiders?

Would describing your accomplishments help industry competitors? Are there new growth initiatives or M&A actions that have yet to be completed?

If so, consider removing these details or referencing them in a more “general” manner.

To summarize, updating your LinkedIn Profile while you’re still employed is a great idea – and a common step for many leaders in today’s job market.

Take a moment to ensure you’ve portrayed BOTH you and your employer in the best light, even while searching for a great job opportunity.

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Boost Confidence During Executive Job Search – 10 Tips to Lift Spirits

Boost Confidence During Executive Job Search – 10 Tips to Lift Spirits


An executive job search can be draining mentally and physically, and if it extends more than a few months, it can take a toll on your confidence and self-esteem. Fear of uncertainty, financial stress, self-doubt, and feelings of hopelessness can start to creep in. But there are many things you can do to boost confidence during an executive job search.


  1. Clearly define what you want.

Look at your job search as a two-way street – it’s not just about finding a company seeking your qualifications; you also want to make sure that they are a good fit for you, your values, and your career goals. Remember all that you have to offer!

  • What responsibilities are you looking for?
  • What type of company do you want to join?
  • Where do you see your career heading?
  • What type of company culture would be a good fit for you?


  1. Know your qualifications.

A great way to give yourself a confidence boost is to sit down and write out all your skillsets and qualifications. Keep a running ‘win sheet’ where you jot down the specifics of any significant accomplishments. While you won’t necessarily list all of these on your resume, having a master list of your core competencies and soft skills makes it easier to customize your resume and cover letter for a specific role. It also reminds you that you’re a highly qualified candidate!


  1. Ask for help.

You don’t have to go solo in your job search! Reach out to your network, talk to friends, or enlist the help of a professional resume writer or career coach. They help you nail down your career goals, create an incredible file, and practice for interviews. An outside perspective that reminds you of your accomplishments and self-worth is invaluable.


  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

The more prepared you are, the more confident you will feel. Thoroughly research the company to customize your resume and cover letter. Brush up on your interview skills (especially if it’s been a while) and conduct practice interviews to ensure you show up feeling confident and self-assured, knowing what you have to contribute to the organization.

Prepare and practice answers for commonly asked questions and create a list of questions to ask your interviewer. It’s also a good idea to craft a 20-30 second elevator pitch and a brand statement that will help you make an incredible first impression.


  1. Keep it in perspective.

Remind yourself how your job search fits into the grand scheme of your life. One day, when you’re working at your dream job, you’ll look back to realize this was a stepping stone to success. In most cases, the worst-case scenario during a job search is that you won’t receive this offer. Consider this a good thing. Perhaps this role wasn’t a good fit, and the right one is just around the corner.


  1. Work hard to keep a positive mindset.

A big piece of keeping confidence up during an executive job search is intentionally catching negative thoughts as soon as they pop into your mind and pushing them away before they can take root. Pay close attention to your inner critic, and silence them when you feel it speaking out of turn. Be sure to take time to focus on keeping a positive mindset intentionally.


  1. Put imposter syndrome in its place.

The fear of not being up for the job may creep into your mind during your job search, especially when some positions have a mile-long list of requirements. If imposter syndrome starts to creep in, remind yourself of your worth, qualifications, and what you have to offer a company.


  1. Don’t take rejection personally.

Harder said than done, I know. But think about all the reasons someone doesn’t get a job…maybe another applicant has a friend on the inside, or an internal candidate came forward within the company. A job rejection doesn’t mean you weren’t qualified or incredible at what you do. It simply means that the position wasn’t the right fit for you.


  1. Take care of yourself.

Try not to get so focused on your job search that you lose sight of what else is important in life. Be sure to keep up with your physical and mental health by giving yourself time to enjoy your hobbies and interests. You still need downtime to relax, have fun, and enjoy life – you can’t job hunt 24/7.


  1. Remember, it takes time.

You don’t just want any job; you want THE job. Your perfect fit. A place where you can thrive and grow. Finding that takes time and patience; keep your confidence up during your job search, have faith that the perfect fit is out there, and keep at it.


Your perfect executive position is out there – stay patient and persistent, and you’ll find it soon enough. Use the tips above to help boost confidence during an executive job search, and remember that you are not alone.

Check out my executive resume writing services on the site. For additional resources and tips to help you land your ideal role, visit Job Search Journey.


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How to Avoid Sharing Confidential Job Data on LinkedIn

How to Avoid Sharing Confidential Job Data on LinkedIn

Disclosing data on LinkedIn that could hurt your company or personal brand?

As an executive, your work probabaly improves your employer’s market position, profit, technology innovation, quality, or efficiency.

Your resume SHOULD tout these factsbut your LinkedIn Profile might be a different story.

When you’re building a LinkedIn presence to support your job search, you may need to limit what you disclose if it affects your company or co-workers, as noted by marketer Neal Shaffer.

Market competitors, investors, shareholders, Board members, colleagues, and bosses can all see the data you’ve added. Employers are increasingly monitoring this data, according to Harvard Business Review.

To avoid problems, here are some ways to “tone down” your LinkedIn Profile, while maintaining a strong public and professional brand:


Remove the metrics from some of your achievements.

Metrics in your resume are CRITICAL to demonstrating performance (see 6 & 7 Figure Resume Trends You Need to Know), but these same figures can land you in hot water online – especially if they cover projects not yet disclosed to investors or the public.

confidential metrics on LinkedInFirst, check to see if any details were already published by your company (perhaps in the News section of the website). Next, question whether this information would give market competitors an edge based on what you’re disclosing.

These steps will help you decide what, if any, data can be shared online.

Then, alter your achievements for LinkedIn by toning down facts to an overview level, as shown in these examples (each avoiding the use of dollar figures):

RESUME:  “Closed $54M in solution sales across APAC and Canada.”

LINKEDIN:  “Closed millions in international solution sales – a 19% improvement.”

RESUME:  “Saved 6M+ OPEX in Year 1 of 5-year Mitigation initiative.”

LINKEDIN:  “Trimmed 30% OPEX in rapid first stages of mitigation project.”


Question if the information would paint your colleagues in a bad light.

Executives who lead turnarounds or improvements often save the day by eliminating lingering problems. Yet, if you mention these problems, your predecessors or executive team might take umbrage and your professional network could be affected.

Instead of pointing directly at the root cause, try a different way to describe a turnaround, as in this example:

RESUME:  “Reversed stagnating 4-year revenue at ABC Company with 32% more product SKUs generating 54% uptick in sales.”

LINKEDIN:  “Added product SKUs and innovative offerings raising ABC Company revenue to pre-COVID levels.”

By focusing on what you did (without framing the cause), you’re less likely to invoke the wrath of company insiders or co-workers.


Consider how customers could react to details you’re disclosing on LinkedIn.

shocked at linkedin dataExecutives engaged in digital or business transformation face a unique challenge: by describing how they’ve upgraded outdated practices, they could be revealing problems to end consumers.

Rather than openly providing details on the issues from legacy IT systems or inefficient business models, you can make your point on LinkedIn from a different perspective.

For example, toning down the resume sentence shown below can make it less obvious to consumers that they’d paid a higher price for this company’s products:

RESUME:  “Boosted profits 52% after resolving marketing analysis issues, leading to record-making margins and 30% higher prices in 2022.”

LINKEDIN:  “Enabled better marketing insights with new analysis techniques, prompting 34% rise in targeted consumer sales.”


The bottom line: LinkedIn isn’t private in any form.

Potentially confidential information (including any copies of your resume floating around online) should be carefully examined to ensure it won’t cause professional or company issues.

So take a closer look at your resume accomplishments and adjust your story BEFORE sharing it on LinkedIn and other platforms.

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