Tips & Helpful Advice

We asked some of our consultants if they had any tips that helped them write effective resumes when they first got started. Here are what some of them had to say!

David Richter photo.jpg

4 pieces of Advice from David

David Richter, IR Resume Consultant

1. Make sure you are doing this for the right reasons: we can work because there are bills to pay, and we can also work because we love what we do and how what we do can positively impact people and the company for whom we work

2. Be sensitive to the plight of the client, and compassionate - not just in feelings but in words as well

3. Ask good questions, and then actually listen to their responses

4. Do your homework before each consultation: learn something about the companies the client has worked for, check out the client's LinkedIn page, begin putting together a list of core competencies based on the client's resume and their profile, read the client's resume to get a snapshot of what the client has been doing and the various career directions they can potentially be moving toward, etc.

tips to share From Sara

Sara Plinska.jpg

Sara plinska, IR Resume Consultant


  • Remind them of expectations so they know what will be happening behind the scenes in the next 1-2 weeks

  • Remember that it's not a phone interview (i.e. it doesn't matter why they left previous roles or companies) :)

  • Determine the goal early in the conversation - break down what job they want next in their career

  • Ask for quantitative information

  • Remember that you are the expert, they may have a hard time letting some details/old jobs go from their resume, but if it's not a value-add let them know and then omit it

Resume writing:

  • Use Calibri font, size 11 or 10.5

  • Start each bullet with an action verb

  • Under each company, remove periods after each accomplishment/responsibility

  • Include LI addresses and websites in contact info

  • Double-check accuracy on job title, location, dates, and make sure they match LI profile

  • Remove columns

Wise Words from Heather

Heather Lipman.jpeg

Heather Lipman, IR Resume Consultant

A great tip and time-saver is to write the resume during the consultation, directly on the new template.

Calls are always smoothest when I've started the revision before the call meaning, I've filled in all the details (employer, title, dates, education, etc.) and copied their original resume content with question marks (prompt me to ask them for more info on that piece) onto the new one.

Utilize your peers and fellows. You and Natasha have always been approachable, helpful, and knowledgeable.

Get creative, once a writer is comfortable with the process, find his/her own style. We each bring something unique which you as leadership can leverage with strategic client/writer pairings. Exploit the human capital =)

Lastly, have fun. We are helping people AND dramatically sharpening our own ability to advance our professional careers.

Detailed notes from Ellen

Ellen Sheil.jpg

Ellen Shiel, IR Resume Consultant

Thoroughly review the resume before the call, as well as the client’s LinkedIn profile and any other documents he/she may have provided and make notes about things you don’t understand or questions you have. If you need specific information (such as zip code, hometown, LinkedIn User Name & Password ) make a note at the top of the resume to ensure you don’t forget to ask.

Start slow with a little introduction, for both your sake and the client. You don’t need to jump right into the consultation, get to know the client a little bit by finding out about the area he/she lives in, the weather there, any other minor details that will help your understanding about what makes the client tick. Starting with something you both understand will make the client feel more comfortable and ease the transition to questioning why the client needs a new resume must easier.

Set expectations. Make sure to describe how the resume drafting process works, review the format used and how you will be contacting the client as the process goes along. That often brings up questions about timing, contents, and updates that the client forgot to mention that need to be added to the new resume.

Get the client talking. Prop your resume questions in front of you and keep the Inside Recruiter Interview Guide close by. An ideal way to get the client focused on a new resume is to ask “what do you think needs to be improved?” and jot down the answer. Next, it’s time to turn to the resume and go through the information in the jobs/or that needs to be updated.

Don’t be afraid to slow the client down so that you can capture what was just said or ask about spelling or “what exactly is that” questions. Be assertive: if you can’t hear (because the client decided to hold the consultation while driving) or the client uses terminology or words don’t make sense to you, jump in immediately with a pleasant but professional interruption.

Paraphrasing is also a good way to see if you’ve understood the information, and repeating it back means that the client can now see what you didn’t understand and re-explain a bit more clearly. Understanding the industry, profession or service that the client performs will be much easier if you’ve done that prior review of client’s work or workplace, (maybe even Googling expressions or acronyms) will help you understand a description of what responsibilities the client has – or is looking for as he/she describes them.

Ask for results. The distinguishing feature of a great resume is that it includes more than just statements about the client’s function. A good phrase to help the client come up with results is to have the client ask him/herself this little phrase and“fill-in-the-blanks”: “I did the following [state the action, project, etc.] and the result was [state what happened – increased speed, decreased expense, standardized, grew revenue by --]” A few quantitative results will make the client’s resume stand out in a crowded field of applicants. The person can email them to you if there’s not enough time to cover them in the consultation call.

Check dates and titles, especially if there is a difference between the information on the resume and LinkedIn.

Question, question then question again. Ask the client if he/she has any questions or areas that haven’t been covered; possible jobs that aren’t on the resume but that now need to be added. “Have we covered everything?” “Has our conversation met your expectations for a new resume?” are two good ones that often lead to unexplored work history or client satisfaction.

Check again with the client on his/her sense of urgency regarding a final draft. Even though they may not have paid for an expedited resume, some clients are very anxious to get started on their job search, others could be completely unconcerned.