This post originally appeared on my CEO2CEO blog, but I figure it has some usefulness for the future CEOs of the world. That’s you – but you might not have gotten your first job yet. Stop grumbling about the economy and read on…

I looked at a senior executive’s resume today – something I never do, but he is such a nice guy and his Teamability was so good, I figured I’d do it, just for research.  He’s a consultant now, but he’s been in senior management the latter part of his career.  With the economy improving, he’s on the prowl and some lucky company is going to get him.  After he fixes his resume…

So I’m going to offer my advice here, in hopes that if you are looking for a new C level job (or any job for that matter) that it will help you too.

First, put your address on it so it doesn’t look like you are living in your car. I know you have a lot of experience and you want to cram in into two pages because somewhere there is a ‘two page rule’, but really, this is not the place to skimp.

Then think about a better title or tag line.  No one will read everything you wrote because resumes are inherently boring, especially compared to some of the funnier jokes your friends sent you today or you read on your intern’s monitor.

Put your industry right up there in the title.  I know you want to appear flexible but executive recruiters care about industry.  A lot.  That’s how they make money, specializing in an industry.  So get it on there.

Also use the title you expect or want.  Like Lord High Executioner or Ruler of the Queen’s Navee.

So your title will be something like Chief Financial Officer, Aerospace Industry, or Senior Organizational Development Leader, 18 years in Banking.  Don’t use a number if you think it isn’t a good one.  (I don’t know what a good number is.  This is something you need to be comfortable with.)

Rework your opening summary paragraph so it doesn’t sound like Dogbert wrote it.  (I like Dogbert but you have to make this very concrete because it isn’t being read by people like us.) Short sentences.  Really.  People don’t read…  Okay, make that most people.  And they are screening your resume.  Make.  Them.  Happy.

Then make the bullet points pop.  Make each one count and make them very different.  No Dogbert.  No hackneyed words.  If you don’t know what words not to use, read Dilbert.

Be more specific on Core Competencies, if you have a section with them.  Make it reflect you and no one else.  If we were talking sales we would be talking differentiation.

Now you’re ready to prune your list of past employment.  Be brutal.  Only keep what will keep the reader reading.  That’s a summary statement, what you did, how it made the company happy.  That’s it.  And leave off your first jobs if they don’t contribute anything.  Same with non-degree training and such.

Now you have room to GIVE ME MARGINS!!!  People who actually might want to talk to you want a place to make notes.  Or doodle.  Whatever, it will look better.

And remember, especially if you are a senior executive, that the hiring manager reading your resume is likely to have ‘significant experience’.  That’s HR-speak for ‘old enough to need reading glasses’.  So pump up that font.  Please.

And good luck!


Hi. I’m Josh Sinkow—a new intern working at The Gabriel Institute. At Clemson University I play club rugby in which we have a ‘top-down’ organization on our team–from our coach to a captain, president, vice-president, secretary, field manager, and social chair. As a team we all work towards winning every rugby game we can and, hopefully, going to the playoffs.

In a business team you also want to organize yourself with a series of ‘leaders’ like the CEO, president, managers, secretaries, and so on. Together the leaders of the team set the strategy and improve the team’s readiness, skill, and morale for success on and off the field. Each individual needs to be able to do their role and not interfere with each other’s jobs otherwise conflicts occur. The role each individual plays on the team is essential to the success of the whole unit.

In rugby the forward’s job is to hit, crash, and fight through while the backs’ job is to run and perform trick plays. If a back were to jump into the ruck with the forwards then the team is short a back, making it easy for the other team to get the ball, pass it off, and run around or through us. In business, if an assistant starts making decisions for the president, there will be conflicts, errors, and a possibility of “dropping the ball”. Every individual has a job to do and needs to fulfill the role otherwise the whole company suffers. Even the lowest level employees are needed otherwise the work just would not get done. Each individual member of a business team needs to know what their job is, be able to accomplish that job, and fulfill their responsibilities in the job that they are in so the team can reach its goal.

Perhaps most important in both sports and business: having a positive and constructive attitude when working with others is the secret to having a great team.  And that brings us back to The Gabriel Institute’s product, which is called TGI Role-Based Assessment. RBA was created specifically to identify and measure how people ‘team’ together. TGI’s research shows that each person has a different kind of drive, or personal ‘mission,’ to meet the needs of their team. This is called their ‘Role’ in RBA. And having positive orientation to working with other people to benefit the group is an RBA measurement called Coherence. Putting Role and Coherence together can tell you a lot about a person’s ‘Teaming Characteristics’, which can accurately identify the ‘best-fit’ for each person in a work environment.

I have a lot more to learn about Role-Based Assessment, but there’s one thing I’m sure of: there’s a new way to know how people will perform in teams, and that’s something really worth knowing!

When dispensing interview advice, I forgot to mention the important step that comes before that, the job search.  While Teamability is a great tool to help you in the job market, it is unable to keep you safe from the sharks in the water.  Fortunately, it comes complete with this wonderful, complementary blog to help you along the way.

I’ve been running into a ridiculous amount of fishy jobs on the internet, and according to the San Francisco Chronicle, I’m not alone.  The article claims that online job scams are increasing in conjunction with the desperation of the job-seeking masses.  Here are three things I recommend to reduce your risk of being scammed:

  • Make sure you’ve applied for the job. While this might seem obvious, you may not think of it when someone calls/emails you to tell you that they received your resume and would love to interview you.  I recently signed up for a monster account but have yet to actually upload a resume.  Despite this, I have at least two “employers” a week emailing me to tell me how the experience on my resume makes me the perfect fit for their opening.
  • Perform a “Google Scam Test”. It’s always extremely disheartening when a job sounds like the perfect fit for you, so you begin to Google it for more info, and the first search suggestion that pops up is “[Company Name] Scam”.  The odds are that if this happens, it is indeed a scam.  Even if it’s not a suggestion, search it anyway.  You can never be too sure.
  • Beware the Six-Figure-Salesmen. Like you’ve heard a million times, “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  I constantly run into extremely vague job descriptions with few qualifications that claim you can “make six figures in no time!”  As you might expect, they never pass the Google Scam Test, and the common complaint is that these entry-level sales/marketing/etc jobs are really door-to-door or on-the-street sales jobs.  While its quite possible that someone at some point in time could potentially have made $100K annually selling knives door-to-door, it seems highly unlikely that you’ll be able to do so, no matter how talented you may be.

Once again, I’ll open up the floor for anyone else to offer advice.  Any takers?

While perusing the Internet in an attempt to learn more about social media marketing, I came across the craziest statement; apparently people don’t like it when a product blog is constantly used to push the product. Insane, right? But, just for kicks, I decided to try something different today. While Tools4Careers may be a great tool for careers, so is friendly advice. While I lack the experience to give advice in many facets of life, one thing I have done quite a bit is interview. Here are a few bits of advice that no one ever mentioned to me:

Spell Check isn’t smart enough to check all-caps.
Have you ever been on an interview where the interviewer pointed out a spelling error on your resume? I have! Lucky me! The format I chose for my resume uses all caps for the job title, which apparently spell check CN’T REED PROPRELY. Your best bet is to have someone else read through it first (if not several someone elses), paying close attention to all caps lines.

Too much of a good thing can be bad.
With a title like that, what I’m so obviously referring to couldn’t be any clearer: deodorant. If you’re anything like me, one of your biggest fears is being remembered as the interviewee who smelled. So again, if you’re like me, you apply deodorant at least 11 times before leaving for your interview. If so, stop; too much tends to make you sweat more, thereby creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Pick an eye.
This may just apply to me, as I find that I can be rather odd at times, but just in case… Everyone is always going on about how good eye contact can make you look confident and poised and so on. What they don’t mention is that when there’s only a desk separating you and the other person it can be hard to focus on their eyes, emphasis on the plural. Often when I’m thinking about eye contact, I realize I’ve been staring at just one eye, so I switch to the other (you know, so it doesn’t feel left out), and then occasionally switch back. While I’ve never tested this hypothesis, I can only assume this makes me look fairly shifty. You’re better off just picking an eye and sticking with it.

Do you have any other unconventional pearls of wisdom that you wish someone had told you before going on an interview?

Like the Pasta Pro, My Lil’ Reminder, the Handy Peel, and so many other ‘As Seen on TV’ products, it was decided that what Tools4Careers really needed was an infomercial (or rather, a spoof of an infomercial mocking the often poorly-acted and overly-dramatic scenarios).   What better way could there be to showcase the black-and-white horrors of life without T4C—and the Technicolor bliss that follows its use—than an infomercial?   Unfortunately, developing and producing an infomercial is extremely time-consuming, and this Vision Mover intern must move on to other assignments.   We did, however, manage to put a storyboard together.  Enjoy!

Brian's Storyboard

Brian's Storyboard

For a ridiculously large version, click here.

Like all other conversations at The Gabriel Institute, the topic of my impending departure for life on the high seas came full circle back to RBA.  While the average person might have thought of Blackbeard or that episode of Family Guy in which Stewie imagines his musical life on deck, Dr. J’s mind went straight to 15th century Italy.  Leave it to a Founder to take things in a different direction.

According to the good doctor, Renaissance Italy offered few vocational choices.  You either went to work on a ship, raised livestock, or spent your days stomping grapes.  So if you’re Christopher Columbus, and you aren’t feeling the sheep or the stained socks, you hop on board the first ship that’s hiring.  The sailors who were actually good would likely have been Explorers, had they taken RBA.  Considering the 7,790 miles (thanks Google) that separate America and India, it seems likely that Chris’ Role wasn’t such a good fit for his occupation.  Then again, with only three career options and ten Roles, there were bound to be a few people who weren’t exactly at home in their jobs.

Taking our imaginary DeLorean back to the year 2009, we find that there are millions of careers to choose from.  This difficult decision can be made easier by determining your Role, and thereby ensuring that you don’t end up in America, when you should’ve been in Italy all along making wine with your feet (figuratively speaking, of course).

Internships in today’s economy are getting harder and harder to come by.  As a result, many college students are turning to less legitimate job sources, even… Craigslist [cue dramatic music].  Every time a friend tells me that they’re looking for jobs on Craigslist, I am reminded of my first experience with the site.

I was looking for a marketing internship, and sure enough, Craigslist had one.  I applied and went for an interview.  The owner gave a vague description of his start-up marketing company that he ran out of his parent’s house.  The internship would be from home and sounded cool enough, so I took it.  I received no instructions or training, forcing me to ask questions every step of the way.  After a few weeks, I stopped receiving emails.  I immediately jumped to the conclusion that I had been a terrible marketing intern.  What else was I supposed to think?

Looking back, I can see two problems, neither one of which was my own ineptitude.  Firstly, I was working for a guy who thought it was appropriate to cold shoulder an intern.  More importantly, neither of us was aware of our Role.  I now know that I am a Vision Mover, and as such, I need a clear vision to work with in order to be successful.  While I learned absolutely nothing about marketing, I did come away with a newfound appreciation for the wise words of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who frequently reminded the WWE audience to “Know your role!”  Can you smell what the Rock is cookin’?