Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The money question -

Just read this article on, and thought it was definitely good advice when it comes to talking money during an interview.
The money question -

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to be a Smart Protege, WSJ article

Yesterday in the Wall Street Journal they had a great article about how to be a smart protege. The article addressed how people go about finding and learning from industry experts. I think having a good mentor network is invaluable in your career, and agree with the authors that you have to go out and find mentors and work to make the relationship thrive. I have written previously about my mentor/protege relationships, and encourage everyone to think about who can be a mentor, or a protege, and make the connection.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Resumes and Wine Labels

I've been helping a few of my readers with their resumes recently, and have been pondering the relationship between wine labels and resumes. To the average recruiter, these would be two completely different things, but when someone is often working with job seekers who also have a small wine label on the side, it makes a bit more sense.

I am an average consumer with a taste for wine. I, like the vast majority of wine drinkers, peruse the wine aisles and pick up interesting bottles here and there. What draws me to the wine? Yes, some of my wines choices are to show loyalty to clients and placements. It is fun to drink a bottle of wine when you know the history behind the team there, and I feel a connection to the product. But there are plenty of times I just pick up a wine that looks interesting. Marketing groups spend hours trying to figure out what a shopper will find intriguing--and often I am their guinea pig. Cute labels, something a little different, and occasionally a really "rich" looking bottle will be my choice.

Knowing the time and money that people put into wine labels, I am always surprised when they don't put the same attention into their resume. Many of the same ideas apply between the two mediums. Here are a few examples:
  • Required Information: A wine label is required to have certain things on it by law. So should a resume. Examples of required information are; name, phone number, contact information, experience and education. Without these basics, you aren't telling the reader much about you.
  • Theme: While I don't want cute little Australian critters on your resume, I do like to have a well presented resume. The theme so to speak can be bold headings with bulleted sections. Another example of a theme would be to consistently run your wine and food knowledge throughout the resume. Think about your experience and interests and weave it into the text of your resume.
  • Consistency: This is such a simple item, but one that over half of the resumes I read lack. Whether it is verb tense, sentence structure or typeface, having a consistent look and style to your resume presents you in a positive light. All too often I will get a decent looking resume with one portion "tacked on" at the top or bottom. This tells me that the author had an old resume that they put new information on. It isn't hard to make everything look and read the same. Review your resume, including your text, and edit, edit, edit. Another function I do all the time in MS Word is to hit Ctrl-A, and then put the entire document in the same typeface and font size. This little quick trick saves figuring out formating changes in the body of the resume.
  • Appearance: Look at your resume and see what it says about you. If a wine label had a pretty flower on the label, you might think the wine was floral and light. If you put your resume in the comic sans typeface, I might think you are silly and overused. Just kidding! But really, how your resume looks reflects on you. Put your resume in an easy-to-read typeface such as Arial or Calibri. Also, show some mercy on the reader and put it in a font of 11 points or higher. I'm getting older and my eyes are weary--help me out. Bolding important sections is also a good idea, letting the reader know what you think is important about yourself.
  • Length: Maybe it is lucky that wine labels are only so big. Unfortunately, resumes can be as long as you want them to be. I recommend keeping them to 1-2 pages in length. If you have a longer resume, take a look at some of the information you have on there and see if you could reformat it to fit better on fewer pages.
Thinking about the design and overall look of your resume will help make you look professional on paper. Just like that bottle of wine I picked up, now it's time to see what the true character of the resume's subject by talking to you in person.