Hook, line…but no sinker

So I decided that I hate am dissatisfied enough with my work situation that I need to go find a new job. The problem is that I never want to get another job like the one I just had. Here I am, over 10 years out of college, and I still haven’t figured out what I want to be when I grow up.  I can assure you that I never aspired to be a Cog in The Man’s Wheel, or corporate peon, which I am now. But I get paid okay and part of my job is to take people to lunch and ball games, and I have a J-O-B so I’ll stop my whining.

But I want to get a job that I really love and that pays me even more than I’m making now. I’m pretty sure this job doesn’t exist, but I went to TheLadders.com anyway because it seemed like a good place to search for a job that pays over $100K.  That’s the promise. So I do my little search and they tell me all I have to do is upload a resume and I can see the jobs. So I go do that, and then they’re like, oh no, actually you have to pay us to see jobs. What? But I mean, whats $30 if they are going to open the doors to my sparkly new $100K+ job? I had been on the site approximately 8 minutes and my ADD kicked in, so I decided not to decide and just left the site, leaving my job search squarely in God’s hands.

But then TheLadders began to stalk me.

It began innocently enough with a “Welcome to TheLadders” email minutes after my ill-fated trip there. And then I got an email that said they found jobs for me, so I clicked to see what they came up with and oh look! I have to pay my $30 to see them. Whatevs. So I ignore them. But then they started sending an obscene amount of emails – probably as many as I’ve sent to Oprah over the span of 15 years — and I couldn’t get them off my mind and then they told me they would give me 25% off, so I couldn’t resist.  I should have been like Oprah when she gets my emails and just hit delete.  Instead, I reasoned that perhaps if I just gave them the money, they’ll leave me alone.  So I needed a distraction from my soul-sucking, dreams-crushing work and paid my money and signed up.

For signing up, they say they’ll hook me up with a free, personalized resume critique from a professional resume writer! Score! If I would’ve known that, I would have signed up the first day, instead of waiting for the 18,000 follow up emails they sent.  I went to a top MBA school. I know my resume is solid, but they might suggest a few word changes here and there, and I’d be open to that. So sign me up! They tell me its going to take some time for them to go over it, which is fine, since I know I’ll be so busy wading through all the exclusive jobs they hand selected for someone with my fancy skills and experience.  I’m actually thinking they are going to look at it and ask me if they can show others all its finery and then offer me a $200K + job as a professional resume reviewer. So as I wait for them to reveal to the world my resume writing prowess, I go look for the lucky employers that are about to fight over me.

Um…..there were like two “exclusive” jobs and the rest they found out on Google somewhere and have no idea whether they pay over $100K. Plus, they had all of these listings for jobs that had been filled. If you took out all of the fillers and fluff, you might find 3 jobs that aren’t bogus.  Okay fine. So I’ll go back to indeed.com and wade through all the real and fake jobs, but at least I’m getting a personalized resume critique. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long. My critique was ready just hours later. This is what it said in its entirety (you can skip to the parts in bold for the net net):

Dear Love,

Thank you for sending me your resume! My name is Alyssa Ballard, and I will be providing your resume critique. I have been extensively trained by TheLadders.com in the analysis of executive level resumes. As I’m sure you can imagine, a 100K + resume has certain components that will differ from those of a candidate seeking a lower level position and we have spent countless hours mastering the complexities of these documents.

It was a pleasure to read about your qualifications and experience and I wish you the best of success in your job search. In this critique I will outline my thoughts, explain the process, and give you some guidance at the end of my review to get you closer to your goal.

Please note that I am NOT critiquing your background, experience, or potential for success. I am commenting on how you are marketing those assets to potential employers and how you are competing against others with similar goals. Your resume needs to be assertive in showing prospective employers how you would be of value to them, because no matter how good you are at your job, the resume is what really lands the interview.

Love, plain and simple: you are missing MANY of key strategies on your resume, and it doesn’t fully reflect your career level. There is not enough excitement to your document, nor any burning desire to pick up the phone and call you. With all your experience, you deserve a better resume!

Please keep in mind I would love to go over this with you once you’ve had a chance to give my comments some thought. Feel free to message me in the message center or call me at (646) 454-2316 if you have something that you would like to discuss.

Now, here are the major issues I see on your resume:

SUMMARY

You are missing the biggest SELLER on your resume – The Summary! A great summary is absolutely essential for having a strong, hard-hitting resume that makes an impact on employers. A summary should communicate your record of achievement, your experience level, your value, your industry, and intimate what your immediate career goal is! Of all the sections of the resume, the summary is the most important because it gets read the most and sets the tone/focus for the rest of the document.

I recommend including a “Core Competencies” section within the summary to get the reader’s attention right from the start. Remember a “Core Competencies” section is not a listing of soft-skills, but rather an area to highlight your own personal areas of expertise.

Love, this upper section is becoming increasingly important as the job market becomes more competitive. This is a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd and you haven’t taken full advantage of it. We NEED to fix this before you send it out again.

CONTENT

The content of the experience section is quite thin. You haven’t included enough information to give the reader a clear, complete picture of your abilities or accomplishments. It’s like you have the outline completed but you haven’t filled in enough details. The reader isn’t able to grasp the context of your work, the value of your candidacy, or how your background meets their needs because you haven’t created a complete picture. Honestly, for your level and salary goals, I would expect two FULL pages of information and you have only one – less if you were to have utilized the full width of the page. Poor job descriptions fail to create a good frame of reference for your achievements.

Another problem that I see here has to do with your use of bullet points. You have bulleted every statement, which is a very ineffective formatting tool—not to mention indicative of a lower-level career. Bullets are used to draw attention, but when you put your entire job description into bullets, you’ve negated their purpose.

You’ve done a good job getting your accomplishments down but you’ve failed to put them in a frame of reference. Employers need to see description of your role first – what your duties were – in order to properly grasp the significance of your accomplishments. Without that frame of reference, the accomplishments are more window dressing than substance and employers will discount them as “fluff”. You need to do a much better job showing how you have gotten things done in the past so the reader can be assured you can get things done in the future.

For example, you have:

§         Drove 132% YTY growth, exceeding revenue and profit plans

§         Analyzed and alleviated customer financial constraints through devising creative configurations with customized financing and payment plans, increasing order sizes by 15% – 100%.

§         Coordinated efforts between testing and development teams, improving average issue resolution time by 50%.

These are excellent! Too bad their effects get entirely lost in translation! HOW did you achieve them? What challenges did you face? How did this impact the bottom line? It’s obvious you have the data, but including high-impact background information to support the data is what will set you apart from the crowd.

Love, it’s obvious to me that you have some wonderful experience here but that is also because I read between the lines. Potential employers with hundreds of resumes to read through are not going to do that. We need to make you stand out at first glance!

MECHANICS

Moving on, we really need to work on elevating the language throughout the document! The document’s verbiage doesn’t support your goals. It’s “average” – not what you want when you are trying to sell your abilities and position yourself above the competition. Step up the language by using stronger action verbs to create excitement and keep your reader engaged!

Communication is the #1 skill that has the most impact on your promotion, your retention, and your performance. A resume is a crucial communication tool in your career. If you aren’t communicating well in your resume, hiring managers will assume you are not a good communicator in person.

DESIGN AND FORMAT

Your resume has an outdated appearance and nothing jumps out to grab the reader’s attention. I would recommend a more attractive or reader-friendly design to the document to provide a better first impression and better readability. Good formatting and design is especially important for candidates targeting higher salaries (such as you are) because employers expect you to have a more pulled-together, slick presentation of yourself as they expect you to give a professional presentation to customers, vendors, and others with whom you would be dealing at your target level. Visual impression is the first impression so make it good.

Although many people don’t think that the design of their resume should be a big deal, it really is. Think about it. If your resume is more pleasing to the eye then people will want to spend more time looking at it!

OVERALL IMPRESSION

Love, I would suggest that you go back and reread your resume, and you will see that this document is selling you short. The bottom line: Your resume simply does not reflect your professional caliber as best it could. You have an excellent background…you have the qualifications…but you are just not making that first impression count.

Only the BEST RESUMES—NOT CANDIDATES—get the most attention and eventually an interview. Love, you are clearly a very strong candidate but that is simply not enough to get an interview!

You need to remember the purpose of a resume—to take an AGGRESSIVE approach in selling yourself to a potential employer. Why does that employer want to interview YOU?

Remember, unless you can convince them of your VALUE, they will not contact you.

**GETTING THE INTERVIEW**


Love, there are two things to consider here:

• You are a premium member of TheLadders.com BECAUSE you’ve got the valuable experience, the superior skills, the unique qualifications and most importantly the DRIVE to get that next 100k+ job (yes, we redirect people who don’t fit our profile; it is in our best interest to do so).

• On paper, your wording and presentation leave much to be desired. Your resume does not generate excitement and professionalism.

These two elements combine to make you the ideal candidate for a resume rewrite. We are here to make your job search QUICK and SUCCESSFUL! To this end, it is crucial that your document look as impressive as you do, and that you do not LOSE interviews in the process.

Most people are like you—they struggle to put themselves down on paper effectively—but that’s where we come in, because we are experts at knowing the best way to present you. Most competing professionals employ the services of professional resume writers, creating a disadvantage for those that make the attempt alone.

* FOOD FOR THOUGHT *

Get noticed more and faster. Members who had their resumes professional rewritten are 38% more likely to be contact by recruiters

Get hired! A resume rewritten by our team will increase your chances of landing a job by 40%.

**OUR PROCEDURES (simple but highly effective)**


Our team is an elite group of skilled professionals, hand-selected, trained, monitored and mentored by TheLadders.com. Each of them is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and an expert in resumes for at least one of the ladders. We provide customized critiques, resumes, and career search tools for you based on YOUR specific professional needs. Our resume writing team has prepared more than 15,000 powerful executive resumes with an unparalleled level of success.

If you decide to take advantage of our resume writing service:

1. Your assigned resume writer (not me) will send you a set of questions that will ask you things you haven’t even thought to include on your resume. Alternatively, they may call you if they think that will be more effective.

2. After completing and returning the information, the writer reviews the data and if necessary contacts you to “pick your brain” about certain answers.

3. The writer then completes the first draft of your rewritten resume and submits it to you for review, usually within five-seven business days.

4. From here you work closely alongside your writer to tweak and adjust your resume to make sure it is absolutely perfect.

5. Once you’re completely happy with your new resume, the writer finalizes the document for you and sends it to you in Word format.

We strive to complete the process as quickly as possible. We know how important every day is when job searching, so we don’t want to keep you waiting.

You will be in excellent hands working directly with our team. TheLadders.com Resume Team works with the best executive resume writers in the world, some of whose credentials include:


• Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)
• Internationally Certified Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC)
• Featured in: TheCareerJournal, Executive Registry
• Career Expert cited in The Wall Street Journal‘s publications
• More than 200 resumes/cover letters published in 20 career books
• VIP Contributor to High-Level Resumes (Career Press)

**PRICING AND FREE COVER LETTER OFFER**


The investment to create your resume is 695.00. This may seem like a lot at first, but if you stop and think about it for a moment, it’s really a modest investment. A resume that gets you a job is PRICELESS. If it shortens your job search by two days, or results even in a 1% increase in salary, it pays for itself. An ineffective resume can cost thousands of dollars in lost time, income, and opportunity.

Limited-Time Bonuses: To further help you in your job search, we’re offering a major bonus if you purchase the resume service within 7 days:

We’ll write the cover letter for free (a $135 value)!

Okay, so that wasn’t the ringing endorsement I was expecting.  They stopped just a little short of asking me to be the model for everyone else.  I mean, WTF? If I wanted to be flogged and humiliated, I would have called one of the soccer moms down the street or one of the popular girls from junior high.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I have the biggest piece of shit resume ever written and that I am probably bipolar with illusions of grandeur.  Yeah, me too.  The professionals at TheLadders have just verified every insecurity I have ever had in my life. I SUCK.  Not a little bit. A lot. And they are sure that I will never get a job so long as I live unless I fork over my $695 (but at least I get a cover letter too, at a $135 value!!).

So I did what every mature professional would do in this situation and curled up in the fetal position sucking my thumb under my desk for a few minutes, or hours, I’m not even sure because I was so delirious from the pain.  But then all of a sudden a calm came over me and soft white light shone on my crumpled body and I realized that my two year old found the flashlight I’d been missing (and that this could be fixed)!! This shameful piece of shit that I call a resume can be rewritten!! For just $695, I can buy my dignity back in the form of a resume that (apparently) will have a summary! It will be 2 FULL pages. It will have real big words in it. I will land the job of my dreams. I am on my way to becoming fucking Oprah.

The only problem is that I don’t have the kind of money laying around and if I asked BD about it, he would probably laugh hysterically.  When he found out I wasn’t kidding, he might file for divorce. I’m told that divorce only costs $300 to file online.  Of course, after seeing my resume review, he may want to cut his losses now and skip town anyway.  He now has proof from certified resume writers that his wife is a complete loser, and it may even be grounds for him to take the kids away.  Or at least make sure I get no alimony.  AWEsome.

So I’m ready to sell my two year old to raise the money for my sparkly new resume, which will make my life worth living again, when I decide that everything about this site has been fishy.  The way they make you download a resume and then let you see no jobs. The way you have to pay to see jobs you could find for free.  The way they tell you that your resume makes you appear to potential employers as an illiterate cave person who might not be qualified to wash dishes at Dennys.  My resume might suck, but not that bad.

So I Googled “Ladders Scam” and I got me an education. Apparently everybody who pays TheLadders gets told they suck. Cue Michael Jackson. I am not alone.

I hope these douchebags go down. But how could they not, if this is how they treat people? Maybe I should go down too, though. I can’t believe I wasn’t tipped off by all the shadiness before I even plunked down the money.  I’m definitely not that smart.

Still, that doesn’t change the fact that I need to go find a new job.  More to come on that…

Advertisements

2 responses to “Hook, line…but no sinker

  1. Pingback: This is the part where I try to be positive « (Love) Notes To Self

  2. Hi…

    shocking… but I recently received a resume critique email from getinterviews.com and to my surprise, the email that you received regarding your resume is word to work like mine. except I and you are different.

    it is not like I never got interviews, but I didnt land a million dollar job, but c’mon my resume is not that bad that she had to write like 3 pages. Here is the email…..
    Thank you for selecting GetInterviews.com for your resume critique. My name is Elizabeth Durand. I have reviewed your document and prepared some comments that I hope will give you some insight.

    As we get started, please realize that I am NOT critiquing your background, experience, or potential for success. I am critiquing your RESUME. You can be a great candidate but have a weak resume.

    With talk of the economy starting to turn around, the job market is beginning to pick up. We are hearing from hiring managers and recruiters that there are more job openings right now and we want your resume to stand out amongst the flood of resumes out there!! Having been in business since 1994, our Certified Writers have written more than 100,000 results-oriented resumes. We even guarantee interviews in 30 days.

    So let’s get started with your critique (It will help to have a copy of your resume nearby for reference as I make comments).

    SUMMARY/INTRODUCTION
    Let’s start at the beginning. You have the right idea by starting with a summary (which you call “Skills Profile”), but it has to be much stronger. A summary at the top acts like an introduction for you. The employer will be skim-reading the resume on the first glance – usually spending about 35-45 seconds on the whole thing. The top part – the summary – gets the most attention. It makes sense to use that portion of the resume to get as much “bang” as you can. This section should be used to focus on the type of job you are targeting, the experience you have that makes you qualified for that position, and to highlight any “added value” you can bring to the employer. This top portion is the most important section of the resume and you are not using it effectively.
    EXPERIENCE
    The very first thing I notice about the body of your resume is that the resume is a victim of death-by-bullets. You have bulleted every statement which is a very ineffective formatting tool not to mention indicative of a lower level career. Bullets are used to draw attention but when you put your entire job description into bullets, you’ve negated their purpose.

    Please take a fresher look from the reader’s perspective and add more quantification of results – you’re coming across as more of a “doer” than an “achiever”. Hiring managers are interested in IMPACT, over actions. Take a close look…most of your information is task-based, not results-based:
    Coordinating construction with contractors and project designers
    Developing document rationale and mitigation strategies for course of action
    Reviewed process flow diagrams, project timelines and assessed Gantt charts
    These are essentially job description. Result based represents what was achieved as a result of what you did. The thing to remember here: the purpose of bullets is to draw attention and they are best reserved for results and accomplishments. The problem with combining your accomplishments and duties into the bullets the reader doesn’t know what is important and a highlight or what is task. These have to be separated and formatted differently to be effective.
    Speaking of achievements, you need to really punch up the ‘accomplishment’ side of your resume. I know there is so much more to you than what your resume conveys! Simply saying “Streamlined work procedures and strengthened existing practices” says a lot about what you DID, but leaves out so much about the RESULTS! HOW did you strengthen existing practices? What results did you achieve? Basically, it’s not your experience that I’m addressing, but simply how you portray it. Details make your resume pop!

    On a quick note, it is prudent to give the reader a better sense of the lesser-known companies where you have worked. This helps the reader get a clear picture of your background. Not every reader may be familiar with “Quality Safety Systems.” It is important that the reader truly understands the types of environments you have worked in to evaluate your achievements.

    As I reviewed your content, Vijayakumar, I think you have amazing experience and I could never do what you do. I just don’t think you are presenting and capturing your experience well in this protracted, unfocused presentation. Sometimes it is hard to step outside of your own history and see how you can do this, but a professional resume writer, who has crafted powerful resumes for successful individuals just like you across many varied careers, can do this very well. Leave no room for assumptions – SHOW the reader what makes you the best candidate for the job!
    MECHANICS
    Keep in mind that the only thing that will get you an interview (other than personal connections) is your resume, therefore, you need to write each and every line to “inspire” the reader to continue; if you bore the reader, they will simple put aside your resume and move on to the next one! Overall, the document’s verbiage is too low level to support your goals.
    DESIGN
    It is great to see you use the font preferred by most employers. When hiring managers are reading through dozens of resumes, they will spend more time on one that has an ‘easy-to-read’ font. We are constantly polling companies for feedback on what they want in a resume and believe it or not the font you use is a BIG deal!
    Honestly though, at this time there is no hiring appeal to this resume. The first thing hiring authorities’ do before they ever read a word, is judge presentation. Quite frankly, the styling is very bland and the overall design is not eye-catching. It’s crucial for your resume to stand out in a polished, professional way and at the moment the look of your document simply does not pull its weight.
    I strongly recommend a more attractive look to the document to provide a better first impression and better readability. Good formatting and appearance are especially important for candidates targeting professional positions. Employers expect you to have a more pulled-together, sharp presentation of yourself because they expect you to give an equally professional presentation to customers, vendors, and others with whom you would be dealing at your target level. Make sure you use design elements effectively to enhance and guide the reader’s eye.
    OVERALL IMPRESSIONS/STRATEGY

    All-in-all, I don’t think you’re putting your “best foot forward” if you plan to continue to use this resume in its current condition. You’re underselling yourself. I feel you have SO MUCH more to offer an employer than you’re sharing on your resume. You need to paint a clearer picture for the reader of how you stand out from your peers.

    Time to toot your own horn and show all you have achieved. This is what they want to see, and these are what will set you apart from the rest of the crowd (and it’s a LARGE crowd) against which you are competing. You are in need of a more executive self-marketing brochure – one that shows your high caliber. This document isn’t doing that for you.

    Go back and re-read your resume and you will see what I see – this document is selling you short. Your resume simply does not reflect your professional caliber at all. You have an excellent background…you have the qualifications…but you are simply not making that first impression count.

    ***GETTING THE INTERVIEW***

    There are two things to consider here:

    1. You have ONE chance to make the first impression with the reader. On paper, your wording and presentation leave much to be desired. Your resume does NOT generate enough excitement and professionalism to be considered a top candidate.

    2. Only the BEST RESUMES – NOT CANDIDATES – get the most attention and eventually an interview.
    You are a strong candidate but that is simply not enough to get an interview. Most people are like you – they struggle to put themselves down on paper effectively – but that’s where we come in. We are experts at knowing the best way to present you. We are here to make your job search EASY and SUCCESSFUL!

    ***PRICING AND FREE COVER LETTER OFFER***

    The investment to create your resume is $395.00. A resume that gets you a job is PRICELESS. If it shortens your job search by one day, or results even in a 1% increase in salary, it pays for itself. An ineffective resume can cost thousands of dollars in lost time, income, and opportunity.
    Limited-Time Bonus: Because we understand finances are tight for everyone, we are making a special offer. If you purchase the resume within the next 7 days, we’ll write the cover letter for FREE (a $135 value)! This is a limited-time offer.

    In order to purchase the services, click the link, http://www.getinterviews.com/lms, and login using the username and password provided below. I suggest that you copy and paste the username and password into the appropriate boxes to avoid typos. Once you are logged in, click on the invoice and complete the ordering process. You will receive an email receipt and your writer will be in touch. We look forward to working with you!
    Important PayPal Note: Clients residing outside the USA must use PayPal as their payment option but you DO NOT need to create a PayPal account. Simply click on “Continue” right under the wording “Don’t have a PayPal account?” and check out using your credit card. Clients residing in the USA can use either credit cards or PayPal option.
    Resume preparation and job-searching fees are typically tax-deductible. Please consult with your accountant to determine if you qualify for these deductions.

    ***OUR GUARANTEE***

    Our guarantee is as simple as it sounds: We guarantee you will get interviews in 30 days using our resume and cover letter, or we’ll rewrite for free!

    ***OUR SIMPLE, EFFECTIVE PROCEDURES***

    Our writers are a world-class group of highly accomplished Certified Professional Resume Writers with years of experience in effective resume/cover letter preparation, and personal branding. Our firm provides customized critiques, resumes, cover letters, and career search tools for you based on YOUR specific professional needs. Our firm was established in 1994 and we have a track record with an unparalleled level of success — remember, we even guarantee interviews! Our service, credentials, and experience are unmatched in the industry.
    When you decide to take advantage of our resume writing service you can expect the following process:

    1. Your assigned resume writer (not me) will send you a set of questions that will ask you things you haven’t even thought to include on your resume. This information will aid in transforming your weak resume into a powerful, attention-grabbing document. Please check your SPAM/JUNK folder as it may go there; if you do not receive contact from your writer within 24 business hours, please LET ME KNOW so we can ensure a smooth process for you.

    2. After you complete and return that information, your writer reviews the data and contacts you to “pick your brain” about certain answers.

    3. Your writer then completes the first draft of your new resume, submits it to you for review, and then incorporates any revisions you may have.

    4. Once you’re completely happy with your new resume, your writer finalizes the document for you and sends it to you in Word format.

    It normally takes only a few days to complete the entire process. We know how important every day is when job searching, so we don’t want to keep you waiting.

    ***TRUST IN OUR CREDENTIALS***

    We are the Resume Experts for more than 25 top career sites and organizations

    You will be in excellent hands in working directly with our professional team. Some of our firm’s extensive credentials include:

    Honored as the Professional Association of Resume Writers #1 Resume Writer of the Year
    Named one of the Top 10 Industry Leaders by the Professional Association of Resume Writers
    Cited by Jist Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America”
    Cited as employment experts in The Wall Street Journal’s CareerJournal.com and National Business Employment Weekly
    Published and featured in: TheCareerJournal and Executive Registry
    Certified Professional Resume Writers (CPRW)
    Certified Job and Career Transition Coaches (JCTC)
    More than 500 resumes/letters published in 60 McGraw-Hill and JIST books
    Numerous TV and radio appearances
    Online presenters and bloggers on career issues
    Do you have any questions about the process? What did you think of my critique? Let me know! I’m here to help.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s