Desiree Lyon, a talent acquisition specialist with Rea & Associates, focuses on enhancing the recruitment efforts for the firm while maintaining a high standard of HR compliance and practices. Listen to this episode to learn why it’s important to update your resume regardless of where you are in your career.
best practices for keeping an up-to-date resume
If you’ve ever wondered why resumes are important, what will get yours thrown out of the running for a particular position, or how often you should dust yours off and make updates, then you’re in luck!
We’re joined by Desiree Lyon, talent acquisition specialist with Rea, who is here to help us celebrate International Update Your Resume Month – along with our 200th episode of unsuitable – with some hot tips for getting hired.
Keep track of new skills or responsibilities as they come up in your job, or as you realize they exist, and add anything that might be applicable to another job to your resume. If you were trained how to use a CRM tool, for example, that’s something you can add to your resume. There are probably things you take for granted that will be meaningful for future employers.
Don’t wait until you are looking for a job to update your resume. It’s going to stress you out, for one, and you might not remember everything you should add to it. So make a plan and keep a list like the one suggested above. Then, every six months or so, reflect on your list and update your resume where appropriate.
Listen to this episode for even more great resume tips – regardless of where you are in your career. You’ll learn:
Why resumes are necessary?
What will get a resume thrown out?
Whether job boards and job sites useful?
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Doug Houser: From Rea and Associates Studio, this is unsuitable. A management and financial services podcast where entrepreneurs, tenured business leaders, and others are ready to look beyond the suit and tie culture for meaningful measurable results. I’m Doug Houser.
Are you one of those people who only reviews and updates their resume when they need to look for a job? Or do you prefer to take a more proactive stance to the exercise? Desiree Lyon, talent acquisition specialist with Rea is here to help us celebrate International Update Your Resume Month. Along with our 200th episode of unsuitable. Who’d have thunk it? And if you’ve ever wondered why resumes are important, what will get yours thrown out of the running for a particular position, and how often you should dust yours off and make updates, be sure to stick around. We’ve got some great tips for you.
Desiree Lyon: Thank you for having me, Doug.
Doug: So good to have you here. So, you are a special guest, 200th episode. How do you feel about that?
Desiree: It’s pretty awesome. I’m excited about it. Beautiful balloons here, and great staff around me. So, who could ask for anything more?
Doug: Absolutely. I feel a little bit unworthy though myself because my predecessors aren’t here and I wish they could be here to celebrate with us.
Doug: So, maybe later. Maybe after the show. Anyway, so International Resume Month, or Update Your Resume Month, what’s going on? I didn’t even know that existed? Is that a new thing or what’s the story there?
Desiree: Well, you know, there’s so many days for different things. There’s Wine Days, there’s Wine Months, there’s, Left-handed Month. There’s all kinds of fun things. So I think these things just come along as people become creative. So, I didn’t know anything about it either, obviously. But the nice thing about it is it is something important that we can all take into consideration to remind ourselves how valuable it is to update our resumes.
Doug: So, talk a little bit about that. What’s best practice in your mind in terms of keeping a resume updated?
Desiree: So for me, one of the things that I like to do, I actually keep a list of new things that I come across in my day to day activities. Sometimes I’ll find new information online, or just new skills that I might read about, or going to an event out in the community with some other business professionals. Just hearing more about what I do and then keeping track of those things.
For example, the CRM tool, that’s something that a lot of folks here at Rea use. And one of the nice things is, it’s something that everyone’s been trained on. That actually is a tool that many other organizations use as well. So that’s something that you can add to your skillset. If it’s something that’s really going to impact what you do on a day to day basis and that can continue on with you, I’d always say to add that to your resume.
So if you do a review, I’d say, six months, every six months or so, it’s important to keep a list of things that you do so you don’t forget and then you can add to it.
Doug: That’s great advice. So, some of those things are things that you take for granted in your day to day activities, but yet they can be meaningful. Right?
Desiree: For sure. Because I mean, we’re all so busy. We have a lot of things going on. So to eliminate that, it’s good to keep track of it. Because you will forget. And then when the time comes and someone says, “Hey, Doug, you’ve been doing a great job. I’d love to promote you to president of the organization.”
Doug: Not me.
Desiree: And you say, “Okay. Great.” Well, you got to talk about some presidential activities that you’ve been a part of. And you may have been a part of so many things and you didn’t add that which could be the selling point to getting you that role.
Doug: Okay. Now, having gone through the process of hiring folks in the past, obviously that’s your business. I’ve done some of that as well. I continue to be amazed by what I see in terms of divergent resumes. Not only length, but how they’re put together, all those types of things. What can you tell us today about best practices? There used to be this old adage of, no more than one page and all that kind of stuff. But yet now I sometimes see them four and five pages, which seems ridiculous. So what’s best practice in your mind?
Desiree: Well, one of the things that I always tell people, you don’t want it too lengthy. Even if you’ve done so many different things, which are very important to you, you have to think about what’s important for the position you’re applying for. And important to the organization you’re applying to. So, there’s a lot of folks out here now with 12 to 15 years of experience, but you still have that you are a resident assistant in grad school. Now it’s time to get rid of that. That’s great to have that there, however, it’s not really relevant to what you’re looking to do. Unless you’re applying for a housing job. But either way, you’ve still had some business professional experience between that time. So it’s important to eliminate things that are just irrelevant.
Now on the other hand, two, you have to keep in mind the chronological order of a resume. So it’s important to have those details there, and according to what you’ve done. And it makes sure you put those key points out there. So, making sure that if it’s something that was really small, you helped water the plants during summertime. It’s not really relevant. You don’t need it on there. So keep those things that are impactful to getting you where you want to go and add that to your resume.
Doug: Okay. And focus on the most recent stuff, I would assume.
Desiree: Yes. So a lot of times, for example, some people may be at a job for 10 to 20 years. If what you’re going for focuses on your most recent role, keep the information from your most recent role active and at the top of the list. Because a lot of people have limited attention span. So a lot of times when you’re reading things and if I get a list of four and five to 12 items, by the time I get to three I’m already like, “Okay, let’s wrap this up.”
Doug: I’m moving on.
Desiree: Yeah. So, you want to make sure those things are important and listed so that you’re catching your reader’s attention. Because you’re selling yourself at this point. So you want to put what’s important at the top and then just eliminate those things that really aren’t going to pull your reader in.
Doug: Sure. Now, a question I’ve been wondering about. And I’m interested to hear your professional opinion on this. What about a mission statement? I’ve seen resumes that have this kind of mission statement at the top. That seems a bit much to me, but maybe that’s just my antiquated thinking here. So, what are your thoughts in that regard?
Desiree: Well, at one point I would say, a lot of schools were teaching their students to keep an objective mission statement, something that you’re going for. One of the interesting things I see now lately, I don’t see that too often.
Desiree: However, there are some that I see, but it’ll say something like, to get a job at a KFC, but you’ve applied to Boston market. You have to be mindful of those type of things, or make sure it’s tailored. If you’re going to write it, make sure that it is something meaningful. Not just that blanket statement to say, “Hey, I’m here.” Because there’s 100 other resumes I can look at as well that are going to be more tailored to what I’m looking for.
So, it’s a toss up. I mean, for me personally, I have a listing of some of my specific skills, specific things that I’ve done. Abilities that are short and concise to the point. But that’s to eliminate that mission state.
Doug: Okay. So, you talked about highlighting those skills. So let’s talk about that screening process a little bit. So as a talent acquisition specialist, what are some of the things that you initially screen for? Say you get 200 resumes obviously for one position. You’ve got to quickly screen that down to a manageable number. What’s the first thing you look at? Is it those skills?
Desiree: Well, a lot of times it is. It’s the skills and how it aligns to that job description. So, if someone has two to four years of experience, but I really need someone eight to 10, than that two to four year I’d eliminate. And potentially save down the road to maybe revisit again. Especially if they have a strong educational background and came from some organizations that really align with where I’m recruiting for, then I may consider them at a later time. But for the most part, you want to focus in on the skills that align with that job description.
So, what I’ve told some folks that have reached out to me for some guidance is to, read that job description. Make sure that what you have on your resume aligns with what they’re looking for. Even if it’s certain things that you may not have done for a long time. If you’ve done something similar to that, just put it on there, but be able to speak to it if you’re asked about it.
Doug: Okay. So highlight what’s relevant, in other words.
Desiree: For sure.
Doug: Again, going back to that, really paying attention to what the position is and not using that shotgun approach as it were, and be specific.
Desiree: Right. Absolutely.
Doug: So you mentioned, talked about some of the screening things there. What else would get a resume say thrown out beyond the obvious, just say grammatical errors or things like that? What are some other things that you’ll screen for right away?
Desiree: It’s interesting that you bring up the grammatical errors. You’d be surprised how much that happens.
Desiree: In today’s world where we can pull up… Or text message auto correctness these days. There’s really, I mean, no excuse. And you just have to review it. And a lot of times too, I tell people, there are professional resume writers out there. Reach out to someone and say, “Hey, screen this for me. Scan this. Take a look at it.” A lot of times too, I’ve had some interesting resumes that have shared little too much personal information.
Desiree: Yeah. And it’s quite concerning to me when someone shares certain views of politics.
Doug: Oh my.
Desiree: I’ve had some that came through with their date of birth, their height, their weight, their age. I really don’t need to know all of that. So I’ve seen it and I’m just like, okay, I didn’t see that. I’m just going to keep reading. So certain things like that, you just have to remove. But some other things that I would say could potentially get your resume eliminated would be just not really sharing information of value. So for example, if there’s a position that you’re applying for and you have listed there just a lot of those words, those big verbs that you’re taught to write down. Or what you’ve done. I impacted. And I’ve established. And I’ve… What does that really mean? Because you’re not really saying much to me in that aspect. So, those are the things you just got to move on and look for somebody who really is taking this seriously.
Doug: So, all the latest lingo as it were. Somebody did a online search for all the latest lingo and just inserted it in their resume.
Desiree:Yes. I had an example of someone who was applying for a sales manager job. And I think he put that, it was something like, I established a team of 40 and made such a… We led the team to leading the sales region for… It was just so elaborate and magnified. And the funny thing was, I got a chance to talk to the gentleman. So I said, “Well, tell me about this here. You mentioned this team that you built, it sounds pretty awesome. So help me understand what exactly you did there.” “Oh, I worked with everybody and I met my numbers.” But you led the team, right? And you’re applying for manager jobs. What managerial skills did you really share with me in this? And coming to find out, he just really didn’t do that. So I just had to say, “Well, thank you so much for your time and best wishes and we’ll keep in touch.”
Doug: Thank you very little. So, do you see a lot of kind of inaccuracies or embellishments? Does that happen frequently or no?
Desiree:Yes. The embellishments definitely I would say happen. And on the brighter side of things, I think people just really want so much more. And they read a job description and they get a little excited. So sometimes they just come across as, “I’ve done all these magnificent things.” But it really doesn’t align with the job. And sometimes, being in the position I’m in, especially with the students that come to me and apply for a job. And they’re so excited. They just graduated. I try to share with them how to kind of bring it in a little bit. And make sure that what you’re saying you can speak to. Because if someone asks you a question, you don’t want to get nervous and then just kind of photo pieces, and then it looks like you’re not telling the truth.
Doug: Right. So, tell me about maybe a few horror stories that you’ve come across. These are always entertaining for me. So I always, you know.
Desiree:Yeah. At one point I said, I can probably write a book on some of these stories I’ve came across. I had had a young lady I was talking to, and I heard this loud noise in the background. It sounded like maybe she was in a factory or something. And I said, “Is now still a good time for you to talk?” We started talking, getting ready to get in this interview. And I’m expecting this sound to just go away. It never went away. And then eventually I just had enough and I said, “Okay, what’s going on? Is there something happening?” “Oh, I’m just vacuuming out my car real quick.” I’m like, “What in the world is going on?” So I told her, I said, “Well, you know what? It sounds like you’re busy right now. So why don’t we wrap this up here?”
And, “Oh no, I’m fine.” And I’m, “No, I don’t think you are.
Doug: You’re fine but I’m not.
Desiree:No, this isn’t okay for me.” So I had to end that call. I had, one lady, she answered the phone I called, and immediately she just picked up the phone and said, “I don’t want any.” And slam the phone down.
Doug: Okay then.
Desiree:I’m like, “Okay, she must’ve forgot that two o’clock that I was going to call her for this interview. And thought maybe I was a telemarketer or somebody.” But those things happen. And maybe it was best for her to just hang up the phone at that point because I don’t know if I really want that same attitude here talking to our clients or even our employees.
Desiree:So, yeah. Very interesting stuff.
Doug: I’m sure. I’m sure you’ve seen all kinds.
Desiree:Yeah. Lots of stuff. We can probably sit here for hours telling some of those stories.
Desiree:Yeah, for sure.
Doug: So, ultimately though, when we get down to it. In today’s world, obviously technology continues to change, jobs continue to evolve so quickly. Why ultimately do we need a resume? I mean, we can Skype, we can do all these other things in terms of communication and introduction. You’ve got LinkedIn and all this other kind of stuff. So why do we ultimately need a resume today?
Desiree:Well, one of the things about a resume is, it’s really bringing yourself to the forefront to an employer. So, a lot of times now, speaking to what you were talking about with the technology, it’s not the same as where someone can walk into an organization and say, “Hey, here’s my resume. Is your manager around? I’d like to chat with him.” Everybody is busy and so many things going on. So the nice thing is that we do have the technology that we can use.
So, you need your resume to just remind those who you may have reached out to via email or you found this interesting job, “Hey, I’m here. And I can do this. And I’m excited about your firm. And I’ve heard so many good things.” So you have to really sell yourself. That’s the first thing that’s really going to make the impression to someone. So you always want to make sure that it’s updated and accurate.
And a lot of times, if you think historically, even before this technology age and even before years and years back, you wrote letters to people.
Desiree:People would write letters just to share information and say who they are. Or saying, “Hey, I heard about your business and I’m congratulating you on something. And how could I be of benefit or a resource to you?” Just sharing information came from written letters. And that’s what was persuasive. So it’s the same thing with a resume. You have to be persuasive, be able to speak to certain things in your writing, and then that’s what attracts that hiring manager to want to reach out to you.
Doug: Okay. So, the quality of the writing and the way you’re presenting yourself, it certainly does matter on the resume.
Doug: It’s interesting. So, now, bringing up something like LinkedIn. I remember a candidate a few years back that I talked to somewhere else and somebody right out of college had sent me a resume. Yet when I looked on LinkedIn, the profiles didn’t exactly match up. So, do you see a lot of that kind of thing, or do we, say when we get a resume, do we look at those kinds of profiles as well to see what else is there?
Desiree:You know, one nice thing about LinkedIn, I’ve actually been impressed with some folks that are really excited about connecting and working for the firm is, that they’ll connect with me first before I even reach out. And I kind of like that. Because it tells me, okay, you’re really interested. This is serious business for you. And of course by then I’m sure they’ve made all the updates to make the paper aligned with what’s online.
Doug: You would hope.
Desiree:Yeah. Right. But that’s a good thing. Now, for me personally, I don’t necessarily check the social media and all those things. I would rather get your information from you. I want to hear from you specifically first. I think that gives you the fair option to come with your best foot forward, be able to communicate what you’ve shared with me at that point.
Because sometimes everybody doesn’t have a LinkedIn. And LinkedIn is a fabulous tool. I love it. I use it all the time. I recruit with it. I’ve made some great business contacts through LinkedIn. I think people don’t realize how important it is. We get caught up in Facebook’s great, in Instagram’s great, and all these other tools are great. However, LinkedIn is really that professional world that you can just really meet people and network and you’d be amazed at the relationships you build. Not just for your career but even just for personal development.
Doug: Absolutely. That’s a great point. So, note for all you job seekers out there. Connect with Desiree online then.
Doug: Now, what about some of these other, you see these other sites like Indeed or something like that where people can just post their resume. I mean, is that a good practice in your view or is that just you’re casting too wide a scope and that’s not really useful? What are your thoughts on that kind of thing?
Desiree:I think job boards are very useful. And the reason I think they’re useful is because a lot of times if I’m recruiting for a role that I need a large amount of people. Just say if I’m recruiting… At one point I recruited for a call center. And we had to fill a class of 40. So, out of 40, I probably needed to reach out to about 90 people just to get to that 40. So, going through, of course, my job description, and then aligning it with what I’m looking for, and then going out to Indeed, I can actually do a search on Indeed. And there’s so many different ways to do a search on these job boards. Where you can actually pull in a bunch of resumes that actually align with what you’re looking for.
So, I can send out a mass email and say, “Hey, here’s a job description. This is my company I work for. Why don’t you apply?” And then go from there. So, it can definitely be helpful. And even to another point, if you’re looking for somebody with specialized skills.
Desiree:So for example, somebody that has some type of specialty that you really need, that’s hard to find, you can actually do a search with those specific words. So someone who may work in… Have a manufacturing, or a construction background, or anything that’s related to what you need, you can do those really intricate searches to find people. And sometimes you only may get five resumes, but, hey, that’s great. Because I just need one person to fill this one position.
Doug: But they’re very targeted. So if I need somebody with specific, say, state and local tax expertise, easier to narrow that down to what I’m looking for.
Doug: Interesting. So, what else should people be aware of in terms of resumes and careers right now? Obviously most of the power lies with those looking for a job, right? Because we can’t find people across, not only our industry, but the clients we talked to as well. Is that’s going to be the case here for a while going forward? What trends do you see?
Desiree:Well, it really varies on different roles. I have recruited for different roles with different organizations. And it just really varies. And I think that it also sometimes puts the onus on the organizations to really sell themselves too. We always focus in on employees selling themselves. Which is very important. However, organizations, you got a lot of competition out here. There are so many organizations with perks you would not believe. And it’s just amazing. And not saying we all have to do the exact same thing, but you have to really strategically figure out, how are we going to get the target market that we need to work here?
Doug: Okay. So really differentiate yourself if you’re an employer.
Desiree:Yes, for sure. There’s some organizations they’ve went to unlimited vacation, they have lunches brought in every Monday and Friday. So many different avenues you can go on. And then some offer opportunities to travel internationally. And that’s a whole different range. And even setting up a resume to send out internationally. Some of the rules are quite different than what we’ve experienced here.
Doug: Okay. So, note to employers out there, differentiate yourself and present yourself well, right?
Doug: Great stuff.
Doug: Well, thank you, Desiree. If you want more tips and insight, or to hear previous episodes of unsuitable, visit our podcast page at www.raecpa.com/podcast. Thanks for listening to this week’s show. You can subscribe to unsuitable on iTunes or wherever you’d like to get your podcasts, including YouTube. And while you’re there, please leave us a review. You can also write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m Doug Houser, join us next week for another unsuitable interview from an industry professional.
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