Whether or not you’ve ever had a professional review of your resume, there are a few things to know ahead of time in order to get the most out of the experience. As part of Ivy Exec’s All Access Membership, you’re entitled to a free Resume Critique call with a Career Advisor. If you’re wondering what kind of feedback to expect or what kinds of questions to ask, we’re here to help. Your resume critique session is only around 15 minutes long, a little preparation can make it easier to cover a lot of information. This article will help you prep for your call and get the most out of it.
1. Consider who is on the other end of the call
It’s important to understand who your call is with so that you can take advantage of their expertise. You are speaking with a career advisor and a resume expert who has looked at thousands of resumes, and has an inside view to standards across a variety of industries. You should use their experience to better understand the needs of the market, what are the current trends to follow, and what you should avoid, what comes off as too junior or not even too vague. You can feel secure that the Ivy Exec career advisor has seen it all, from student resumes, to senior executive resumes, from railway industry leaders, to e-commerce and marketing specialists and knows the answer to these questions. It is their job to stay up to date and their advice is based on the research around resumes from top business schools.
2. Provide context before your call
Make sure that the most up-to-date version of your resume is uploaded to your Ivy Exec profile at least 12 hours before your call. Or, if there is not enough time for that, you can send your resume directly to your career advisor via the email provided in the calendar invite or the automated reminder that you received. Before your call, take a moment to briefly explain what is it that you are trying to do next, either in the calendar invite or an email. This will help the advisor structure the call and focus on what’s needed the most. Whether you are switching industries, trying to position yourself for that VP role you are targeting, or planning to reenter the corporate world after years of being an entrepreneur, your advisor will be more helpful if they have this context in advance.
In addition, make a copy of your resume and have it ready and accessible during the call. You will want to take notes and write down the suggestions that you get as we go through your resume.
3. Be mindful of the time
This is a 15-minute call, and there is a lot to cover, so keeping things concise is the key. There are certain things that the Career Advisor needs to know up-front in order to make the call more effective- like how your job search is going and what are some positions that you are targeting. You don’t want to talk about your background or summarize your entire career, as that is provided on your resume, but rather focus on your future goals and be clear about them. This will allow the Career Advisor to provide better-quality feedback and leave enough time for them to advise on the future steps that you should take.
3. Know what key questions to ask
Questions that you should ask will mostly depend on the obstacles you’re finding in your job search and your future goals, but these questions cover the most frequent issues that come up:
- I am applying to dozens of jobs every day but not hearing back, does anything stand out that could be holding me back?
- Where should I start in improving my resume?
- Is my job search strategy effective for my goals?
- Does my resume reflect my seniority level and my skill set?
- Is my resume specific enough and is it telling a powerful story?
- Is my resume positioning me well for my targeted role?
- Would my resume look good to a hiring manager?
- Is my resume correctly formatted to make it through an ATS?
- What do I do after this consultation?
- What would be your advice on how to present myself as a better candidate?
If this list doesn’t address your specific problem, that is fine as it’s just a general guideline. Either way, try to have a short list of 2-3 questions prepared for your call.
4. What not to ask
Even though we try to have insight in as many industries and fields of work as possible, there are some things that Career Advisors simply cannot talk about, either because of liability concerns or because they fall outside the scope of expertise. Unfortunately, Ivy Exec Career Advisors cannot assist you on the following questions:
- I want to move to the US. How do I get a work visa?
- I am starting my own company. How do I brand my product well?
- My business grew by a huge margin in the past years. How do I better structure it?
- Should I go to business school or just get a marketing certificate?
- Can you send me a referral?
- Can you review my resume again after I tweak it?
To sum it all up, the key things to expect are: research based feedback, honesty and professionalism. The key things to ask are: is my job search strategy appropriate, is my resume effective and how can I further work on making myself a better candidate. With these tips on board before your call, we’ll be able to work together to improve your resume, set next steps, and propel your job search forward.
Need assistance preparing for an interview too? Get matched with a Career Coach who can help!