Word of Warning: Snake Oil Career Vitalizer Elixer (Part II)


In Part I, I addressed the dangers of relinquishing control of your career strategy to others with or without credentials (especially those earned online), and little to no experience vetting candidates they will actually hire. There are comedians, storytellers, and TV reality stars performing career coaching and résumé services that advocate making résumés more interesting or unique for hiring managers who are bored to tears reviewing typical résumés. Some of those folks have a few happy, satisfied clients.  “It’s about taking your brand to the next level,” some claim, by using narrative and other rhetorical devices. But they miss the boat when it comes to why hiring managers are uninterested and what’s needed to stimulate their interest.

Here’s the missing ingredient from their “taking it to the next level” approach: it’s how your brand, communicated largely through accomplishments and achievements, promotes the future benefits of your expertise that will interest hiring managers. Not narrative (do not use narrative formats as they are difficult for a hiring manager to scan for key words); not “interesting” entries.

I know of no hiring manager from my past experience who wanted to be entertained (on purpose anyway) screening résumés; it was an exercise in frustration most of the time searching for a clue as to a candidate’s potential for making the short list. Here’s how you make a résumé an interesting read:

  • Populate it with accomplishments and achievements (quantified, where possible) and use bold typface to highlight them
  • If you have a few articles published in peer-reviewed journals, place that list under the “Publications” heading (nothing says “expert” better than being published)
  • Include a link to your blog that addresses important issues in your field or industry
  • Include awards and honors you have received from recognized professional associations and employers (service awards and “employee of the month” awards don’t count)

Now THAT makes for an interesting read from the hiring manager’s perspective!

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Want to receive a free copy of my Career Strategy Tip Sheets? You get 5 bundled tip sheets (PDF) for career strategy, cover letters, résumés, job interview, and salary negotiation. Just let me know your thoughts on this or any blog post–or let me know of a career topic you’d like me to discuss from the hiring manager’s perspective.


 Donn LeVie Jr. is a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and has worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). He is the author of Strategic Career Engagement(September 2015), Runner-Up of the 2016 International Book Award for Business: Careers, and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers).  He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations. He also offers a Career Engagement Evaluation subscription program to associations as a member benefit.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact Donn directly for more information or use the Contact page on this blog.

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