Archive for the ‘Resumes’ category

Do You Know Why Resumes Are Totally Overrated? (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

June 29, 2011

As an author and keynote speaker on career success, I attend and/or speak at career development events each month.  When I visit the vendor booths at these conferences, it amazes me to see some of the questionable products that vendors are trying to sell to job-seekers and college Career Centers.  The majority of these products claim they have the secret formula on what it takes to make your resume stand out from the competition. 

Equally worthless are job search books that focus 50% or more of their pages on resumes.  If I had to assign a percentage to the role a resume plays in a job search, I would estimate less than 10%, due to the importance of your job search strategy, your attitude, your references, your body language, your networking skills, your presentation skills, your interviewing skills, and so on.    

Some top employers receive hundreds or thousands of unsolicited resumes every week.  Good luck standing out in a pile of 13,279 resumes.  The best way to stand out in a mile-high stack of resumes is not to use keywords or a high-tech software program to beat a computer system’s screening process.  The best way to stand out in a stack of resumes is to never end up in the stack in the first place!

How did I beat out hundreds of more experienced candidates to land my first dream job to work for an NBA franchise when I was a 21 year-old kid who had never even had a full-time job before?  It certainly wasn’t because of my resume. 

How did I land multiple 6-figure job offers at the start of the current recession?  It certainly wasn’t because of my resume.  In fact, two of the companies who made me those 6-figure offers brought me in for initial interviews before they even saw my resume!

Don’t get me wrong: a bad resume can certainly remove you from consideration.  However, even a professionally designed resume is not sufficient to land your dream job (or any job).  You need a lot more to distinguish yourself and land your dream job, especially in the current climate.

Here is the bottom line: Employers don’t hire resumes; employers hire people! 

P.S. To receive a FREE 25-page report on Job Search and Career Success Secrets for Students and Young Professionals, visit my web site at

-Pete Leibman (

-Author of “I Got My Dream Job And So Can You: The Blueprint For Career Success As A Young Professional” (due out through AMACOM in spring 2012)

-Founder of Dream Job Academy

-Keynote Speaker for The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day


11 Tips for Cover Letters That Lead to More Interviews! (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

October 27, 2010

A great cover letter will help your resume stand out and significantly increase your chances of being called in for an interview.  Here are 11 cover letter tips that will increase your chances of getting an interview:

  1. Format correctly. Like your resume, the cover letter MUST be error-free and structured correctly.  Use 1 font throughout the document, keep it to 1 page, and print it on high-quality paper.
  2. Personalize.  The cover letter should be addressed to a specific person (not “to whom it may concern”), you should reference the position you want, and you should tailor each cover letter based on the job description for the position.
  3. Start strong.  Use an attention-grabbing first sentence that highlights why you are the best candidate for the job.
  4. Highlight.  Use examples to show how you have the skills, traits, and/or experience relevant for the job (i.e. shown in the job description).  In general, employers want to hire people with enthusiasm for the position and the company, people with strong character and work habits, people with strong people/communication skills, and people who get results.  Be specific, and sell yourself.
  5. Focus on results, not responsibilities.  Like your resume, your cover letter should not focus on what you have done.  Instead, you should focus on what has resulted from the work you have done.  You must explain how you have made other people or organizations better.
  6. Explain glaring weaknesses.  If you have a significant weakness in your resume, you can address it in the cover letter.  For instance, if you are a senior about to graduate from college and you have never had an internship position, you should reference what you did instead during your time off from school.  If you are a theater major applying for a position at an investment bank, that would also be worth explaining briefly.
  7. Build credibility through references.  If you were referred to the hiring person, you should definitely mention that in the cover letter.  If not, try to see if you can find a connection within the company or someone who knows the decision-maker (i.e. an alumnus from your college.)  You can also include a quote from a performance review or from a letter of recommendation.  For example, my boss at ABC Company referred to me as the “hardest working and most proactive intern the company has ever had.”
  8.  Answer the 2 key questions.  Your cover letter must demonstrate why you want the job and why you are the best candidate for the job.
  9. Let your personality shine.  The cover letter should remain professional, but it should show your personality and bring your resume to life.  For example, you could share a quick story that explains why you want the job so badly.  A great story will build intrigue and have a hiring person thinking you were destined for the job.
  10. Close with a call-to-action.  You should end your cover letter with something like, “I will call you next week to answer any questions you may have and to discuss how I can help _____ (insert company name) achieve ______ (insert the specific results the company mentioned in the job description).  You may also reach me at xxx-xxx-xxxx or in the meantime.”
  11. Follow-up.  If the hiring person does not respond to you, you must follow-up when you said you would.

Do you want to improve your chances of being called in for an interview?  Then, include a personalized, well-written cover letter every time you apply for a job! 

-Pete Leibman

-Career Expert and Professional Speaker

-President of Idealize Enterprises



P.S. I speak about career success to students and young professionals nationwide.  To learn more about my programs and speaking availability, please send an email to 

20 Tips for Entry-Level Resumes That Rock: Part IV (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

June 4, 2010

16.   Highlight your “extras.”  Include volunteer opportunities, extra-curricular activities and any additional skills you may have (i.e. certifications or fluency in a foreign language).  Don’t just think about things you have done in school or in previous work environments.  Employers want well-rounded individuals with all sorts of experiences.

17.    Focus on the results you generated and not just on your responsibilities.  Make sure you include what happened as a result of your responsibilities.  Here is a quick example of how I did this on my resume:

  1. Before: Managed 7 different sales representatives between 2006-2008.
  2. After: Managed 7 different sales representatives, each of whom generated more revenue under my guidance than during any previous year of employment.

18.   Emphasize the universal job skills every employer wants.  The best resumes are those that demonstrate your creativity, leadership, problem-solving abilities, interpersonal skills, and technological skills. Find ways to illustrate these skills in your resume.

19.   Tailor your template.  Develop a resume template, and tweak each resume based on the position you are applying for.  This becomes more important as you advance in your career, but the point is that certain experiences will be more relevant than others based on the position you are applying for.

20.   Only send your resume to specific people.  Forget sending it to “human resources,” forget sending it to “whom it may concern,” forget emailing it to generic email addresses.  Find a person to send your resume to, and get it to them directly.

Make sure you follow these 20 resume tips, and you will be guaranteed to be called in for more interviews!

-Pete Leibman

College Speaker and President of Idealize Enterprises

20 Tips for Entry-Level Resumes That Rock: Part III (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

June 3, 2010

Here are tips #11-15 for writing the perfect resume:

11. Write correctly. “I” should not appear on your resume at all, nor should you write in full sentences. You must also use the correct tense based on whether the tasks/achievements you include are ongoing or finished.

12. Emphasize your technological/computer skills. Gen Y is known as the Internet generation, and many currently employed professionals are way behind us when it comes to anything related to technology. Your knowledge of social media or blogging or web site development, etc. could be a strong differentiator for you; use this to your advantage by highlighting this in your resume.

13. Describe your previous employers. Include a 1-2 sentence description of each company for which you interned or worked. It can fill up some space and also educate the hiring person in the event they do not recognize an employer’s name.

14. Say something meaningful if you include an objective. Objectives like “Seeking entry-level position where I can use my superior organization and communication skills” are way too vague and look like you are just trying to fill up space on the page. Either leave out the objective altogether or tailor it to each specific position you are applying for.

15. Do not assume that anything is obvious! I used to assume that people knew what it meant that I had been inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. However, a resume writer suggested I clarify my achievement. Which one looks better?!

     BEFORE: Inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society upon graduation from JHU

     AFTER: Awarded Phi Beta Kappa Society Membership, in which only 1% of top college students are recognized nationwide each year.

Tips 16-20 will be posted tomorrow!

-Pete Leibman

College Speaker and President of Idealize Enterprises

20 Tips for Entry-Level Resumes that Rock: Part II (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

June 2, 2010

Here are tips #6-10 for crafting an excellent, entry-level resume:

6. Proofread.  Proofread.  Proofread.  Hiring persons are looking for a reason to trash your resume.  Don’t be removed from consideration due to a typo or grammatical error.

7. Ask for help.  Get several of your friends, professors, and/or professional contacts to look at your resume, and tell them they only have 10-15 seconds to look at it and to give you their impressions.  (That’s the maximum amount of time a hiring person will take to scan it.)  Then, after they give you their initial feedback, they can analyze your resume line-by-line for additional suggestions. 

8. Use a professional email address, such as, when listing your contact information.   An email address like or is NOT acceptable. 

9. Include a link to your profile along with your contact information.  We’ll discuss how to maximize in a future series of posts. 

10. Tighten it up.  Avoid “run-on” lines in which you have only 1-2 words on a 2nd line.  It looks sloppy. 

Tips #11-15 will come out tomorrow!

-Pete Leibman

College Speaker and President of Idealize Enterprises

20 Tips for Entry-Level Resumes that Rock: Part I (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

June 1, 2010

This week, I will be writing a 4-part series with 20 tips (5 tips per day) on how to write the perfect entry-level resume.  Here are tips # 1-5:

  1. Keep it to 1 page.  99% of applicants looking for entry-level work should keep their resume to 1 page.   It does not matter how much experience you think you have or how many internships you have done.  You should almost always be able to format the document so that you can get it on one page.  Cut out the “crap,” tighten up the document, and focus on what is most important and relevant for the job you are applying for. 
  2. Use high-quality paper.  Use printer paper that is slightly off-white (no crazy colors) and of a better quality than standard printer paper.  You can find this at any office supplies store (i.e. Staples or Office Depot).
  3. Keep your font(s) professional.  Use a professional font (i.e. Times New Roman) and font size, and use italics and bolding cautiously.  Remember that your resume is a technical document and not a piece of art.
  4. Be consistent with your formatting.  Develop a clean, consistent look throughout the resume.  Each job/position should be formatted exactly the same way in regard to font, font size, spacing, and use of bold, italics, caps, etc. 
  5. Do not include a line for “references available upon request.”  That’s like writing “willing to meet you with for an interview.” It is obvious!

Resume tips # 6-10 will follow tomorrow. 

-Pete Leibman

College Speaker and President of Idealize Enterprises