Clean up that scattered resume

In today’s economy and job market, switching jobs is nothing surprising. There are many people who have left one employer for another, changed positions, or shifted their career focus all together. There is no steadfast rule that says you must stay in one industry for your entire career. Some people move around trying to figure out what it is they want to do.  One other fact is that employers change out employees quicker these days.  It is rare to find somebody that spends 25-30+ years at one company now.
However, having a varied assortment of jobs on your resume can confuse employers if you do not have a clear format and message. It may leave them wondering what it is you want to do and how you are qualified for the position for which you are applying. Figuring out how to tie everything together can help your resume to leave a much stronger impression.
Know your goal. What type of job are you looking for? Before you can begin compiling your resume, you need to have a clear focus in mind. This will help you in determining what information to keep and what to cut when editing your resume.
What is the common theme? What strengths and abilities are required for the job you want? Once you have come up with a list of keywords and skills, go back through your work history and start making connections. I would advise you to avoid the normal buzzwords that clutter up a resume even more.  Highlight the accomplishments and projects from each job that align with the overall theme and message you want to send.
What did you gain from the position? This may take some thought. Consider each job and what you gained from it that contributes to your qualifications for your current career. Look at the bigger picture. Did you collaborate with others? Create exceptional customer experiences? Learn how to use a specific program? Use social media to build company recognition? How can you tie these tasks and accomplishments back to what it is you want to do?
Include metrics. Where applicable, include metrics and quantifiable results. This gives more solid proof of a job well done. It can help to show that you are able to meet and exceed expectations and produce results.
Skip short-term jobs that hold little value. If you worked a summer as a waitress or at the local grocery store just to make extra money and it does not relate at all to your career, you may benefit from leaving this off. As long as it does not leave a significant gap in employment, it adds little benefit and takes up valuable space. If the job will cause a noticeable gap, explain the position as concisely as possible and move on. No need to elaborate on details irrelevant to your current career.
Having a variety of jobs is not necessarily a bad thing so long as you present them in a way that shows what you have gained from each and how it has helped you to get where you are. Demonstrate your diverse knowledge and abilities and how you can benefit your next employer. If you are struggling with figuring out how to tie everything together and present yourself as a qualified candidate, the team at MCDA is ready to help. We will help you maximize the appeal of each job and highlight your core strengths and abilities. Contact MCDA at (714) 872-2393 or email us at


Lead with Objective or Summary?

Should you lead your resume with an Objective or Summary that briefly describes your skills and background? In a word, yes. However, if you were to poll 10 recruiting experts on this question, you might get 10 different answers. That’s because so many Objectives and Summaries are just plain bad. If they’re properly written, they can be the hook that pulls the reader into your resume.

These points were driven home clearly a week ago when I reviewed several resumes at an event in Orange County.   About half of them went straight from the name and contact information to the education and professional experience details.

From what I saw that day, the Objective/Summary issue usually spawns these questions from job seekers:

1. Do I even need one?
2. If so, which one? Objective or Summary?
3. Isn’t this best left for the cover letter?
4. What should I say?
5. How long should it be?

Let’s tackle these questions.

1. Do I even need one?

I’m on the “yes” side of the issue for this simple reason: The Objective or Summary helps describe the value you can bring to a would-be employer through your skills and experience. It’s much easier for a hiring manager to find that value in a short paragraph than to try piecing it together from a lengthy history of professional experience and education. A strong, well-written Objective or Summary that’s tailored to the position you’re targeting can spur the hiring manager to read more of your resume.

2. If so, which one? Objective or Summary?

You’re better off with a Summary, unless you fall into one of these three categories of job seekers:

• You’re just entering the workforce;
• You’re re-entering the workforce after an extended absence; or
• You’re changing careers.

Those who fall into these categories are usually the only ones who do need an Objective. Most other people’s career objectives are easily determined from their work histories, so a Summary works better.

3. Isn’t this best left for the cover letter?

Well, there are also differences of opinion on whether including a cover letter with your resume makes sense (however, 86% of executives say “yes”). Sure, you might say something similar in the cover letter, but if the company doesn’t accept them, or the hiring manager doesn’t bother to read it, at least the resume can communicate your value.

4. What should I say?

Too many job seekers continue to write Objectives and Summaries that focus on what they want their next jobs to do for them. But frankly, most employers don’t give a [insert word or phrase here] what you want. It’s all about the employer: What can you do for them? So, your statement must focus outward, showing hiring managers what they stand to gain by hiring you.

Pull out the most relevant highlights of your professional history and present them in a brief, high-impact statement. Avoid personal pronouns (I, me, my) and remove unnecessary words. And don’t write complete sentences.

Compare the following two Objective statements, and notice how the employer-focused Objective is more likely to grab attention:

WRONG: Job Seeker-Focused

OBJECTIVE: A position in corporate procurement in the retail industry that can utilize five years of negotiating and research skills and eventually lead to a management-level role.

RIGHT: Employer-Focused

OBJECTIVE: A position in corporate procurement that can utilize skills in research and negotiating gained from 5 years of experience in another industry, helping a retailer cut costs and improve its competitive position.

Here’s an example of a well-written Summary statement that says a lot about the value the candidate brings to the table.

PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY: Corporate procurement professional with 10 years of experience in the high-end retail apparel industry. Highly skilled at performing due diligence on potential suppliers around the globe, negotiating contracts, controlling corporate risk, and minimizing costs. Fluent in Japanese and Spanish.

5. How long should it be?

No more than 50 words. You want to be succinct and straightforward. Anything longer might make the hiring manager stop and not bother to read the rest.

Today, the onus of career management falls on you — the worker — not the employer. You must be effective at communicating your value and marketing yourself. That begins with knowing yourself and understanding what you have to offer, how that fits with the employer’s needs, and how to “sell” your skills and potential. Your resume Objective or Summary lies at the heart of that effort. Excel at it and you won’t have a problem convincing someone you’d be a great hire.

Got any questions about the Objective or Summary? Post them below.  Would you like help with your resume?  Call one of our experts today and let them guide you to a world class resume.