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Online Job Applications: How To Optimize Your Resume

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If a career transition is in your future in 2013, you need a strong resume to differentiate yourself  from the masses.  Our senior resume writer – Staci Collins – held an interactive Q & A session in January to answer members’ pressing resume questions.

 This Q & A session is summarized here for you…


On Line Requirements

Q:  What special requirements does the on-line environment impose on job seekers?

A: 90%+ of companies use LinkedIn in hiring. What does this mean?

You don’t need 500+ connections, but you need more than 20.  That being said, if you are in sales, business development, consulting, and other relationship roles, probably more connections is better than fewer.

Companies value well written, thoughtful on-line recommendations as long as they are from managers and clients and they reference “specific stories” about you/your performance.  They don’t like endorsements.  Endorsements are perceived as “manufactured” – not authentic.

Use a current picture. An out of date picture is perceived as “out of touch,” “less relevant.”Use the skills section to put in your profession/sector’s key words. You should research key words that are common to your profession.  Recruiters search on the skills sections and on company names.

Be a joiner.  Join company alumni groups, school alumni groups, professional associations.  Recruiters search these as well, seeking smaller, more select pools.


Q:  “1 page vs. multiple page resume for experienced candidates….I don’t know what to leave out if it’s just a one-pager…”

A: Recruiters don’t care.  Companies, though,  typically don’t want 5 pages — only 1 or 2 maximum.

If you have 15 years or less, keep it to 1 page.

If you have more than 15 years of experience you can go to two pages.  Companies care about the last 5 years the most, but if your meaningful contributions go back further, you should include them.

The number of pages can also depend on the industry.  For example, in high tech, some highly experienced executives have one page resumes.

It’s important to get industry specialized/industry-specific  feedback on your resume.

Q:  Should I take the dates off college?

A: You can, but people will know you are “hiding” the dates.  You will have to deal with age at some point, so you might as well be up front about it.

Q:  How should you address periods of unemployment?

A: This is the same as above.  It’s best to be up front about it.  If you are doing a chronologically formatted resume there shouldn’t be any blanks. If you are unemployed, volunteer!  It’s better to have some “value-adding” activity, than blank space.

Q:  For a consulting background, do you recommend using general bullets to cover multiple clients or speaking to specific projects?

A: You need to be specific.

Q:  Functional vs. Chronological?

A: Recruiters and hiring managers want a brief story in orderFormat your resume in reverse chronological order by company.  When you have a functional resume it’s a lot of work for recruiters and hiring managers to map contributions to where and to when. You want to make your background/contributions user friendly.

To get personalized advice on your resume from Staci or inquire about Ivy Exec’s resume writing options, please email

Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts that will provide more practical answers to your resume questions about content, career changes, and more…


About the Author

Staci has over 15 years of experience partnering with managers at all levels in High Technology, Management Consulting and Healthcare Management to build their careers via career strategy, career assessment and selection, brand identification, PAR development and mapping, and strategic resume and cover letter development.