by Tripp Clarke (President)

Generally, our blog entries cover things that we specialize in at 321Blink, like the power of social media, video strategies, and other areas where we help businesses. But we maintain the discretion to occasionally just offer some helpful advice. This is one of those times.

Throughout my 20+ years in the workplace, I have read hundreds of resumes and probably interviewed just as many applicants. The 80/20 rule that applies to so many things in life, i.e. 20% of the people doing 80% of the work, also applies to resumes, i.e. 20% of the resumes are good and 80% are crap. I don’t profess to be an HR professional, I’m just a guy who has seen a lot of resumes and wants to help yours avoid the bottom of the pile. If you really want a prospective employer to pay attention to your resume, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Be specific to the job and the company.

Don’t ever put in your Objective, assuming you have one, “To obtain a challenging position with a company that will allow me to grow professionally.” Oh my god if I had a dollar for every resume that said some iteration of this I’d never have to work again. And don’t include a cover letter that is generic and was the same one used for the other fifty resumes you sent out this morning. Take some time to address the specifics of the company and the job posting. If you know who the company is, take time to review their website and speak to the specific areas where you think you have experience and can help. Or, offer some observations about their industry. If you don’t have any specific experience then you probably shouldn’t be applying for a job there.

Keep it appropriate.

Make sure that if you submit material to a prospective employer, or if that employer decides to Google your name, what they see or stumble on is appropriate. If you are a photographer looking for work and you are asked to submit a portfolio, photographs of vomit and dead birds probably aren’t gonna fly. Likewise, if you are looking for a job in social media, make sure your Twitter profile doesn’t say “I kill for sport.” I’m all for personal expression, but most employers want to know they aren’t hiring a whack job.


Take the time to proof read and check for grammatical errors. And, give it to someone else to read, preferably someone who looks at a lot of resumes. Consider paying a professional resume writer to put together a real gem. I know when you’re unemployed money is tight, but spending a couple hundred dollars for a quality resume could reap dividends down the road.

Bottom line… don’t be lazy.

Finding a job takes hard work and some sales savvy… selling YOU. Show a prospective employer that you’ve done your homework and that you will be a positive force in their business. And show your personality when it’s appropriate. It always helps to make the reader smile.

Honestly, a lot of people are competing for the same jobs these days, so putting your absolute best foot forward is important. These tips are unscientific and are merely observations after looking at many resumes through the years. Hopefully they help you in your search. Best of luck!

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