Larry Polhill of Café Valley: 3 Tips for Writing Resumes

Larry Polhill of Café Valley has pored over thousands of resumes in the span of his career. With extensive experience in people management, Larry knows firsthand what kinds of resumes get a foot in the door for an interview. Read his blog below:

When it comes to writing resumes, many people instinctively search for a template and then fill it with the necessary details. While there’s nothing wrong with using templates, applicants should remember that these are merely guides and that the hiring manager will know the difference between a resume that has real and tangible accomplishments and one that was merely copy-pasted to death with buzzwords. Larry Polhill of Café Valley suggests finding a template that has a clean and simple look. Because an interviewer usually spends only a couple of seconds scanning resumes, accomplishments in a clean-looking resume will therefore be easier to find.

Here are some tips when putting together your resume:

1. Be specific with dates – Believe it or not, dates matter to interviewers. This is because it’s one of the few ways to express employment history. Many applicants know that working only three to six months at a time can raise red flags, which is why they may just stick to putting the year. However, doing this achieves the opposite of hiding that small detail about your work history. Larry Polhill of Café Valley recommends indicating the start and end months in your resume. If you’re worried about gaps, don’t be. What’s more important is honesty.

2. Omit subjective traits – Let’s face it; everyone states that he/she is the best candidate for the job. Unfortunately, at this stage of the job hunt, there’s little to nothing the hiring manager can do to validate that claim, which is why your resume is much better off without those subjective traits like “detail-oriented” or “excellent written and oral communication skills”. Instead, Larry Polhill of Café Valley recommends listing down accomplishments that show those traits. For example, a detail-oriented programmer may cite how much time or revenue was saved by the company because he/she was able to catch bugs or software defects.

3. Include a cover letter – Many applicants still ask this question: is a cover letter needed? There are few exceptions wherein a cover letter may not be needed, such as when it’s explicitly stated, so it’s always a good idea to include a cover letter. Larry Polhill of Café Valley explains that having a cover letter paints a better picture of the applicant e.g. the applicant took time to understand the role and how his/her strengths and skill set could benefit the employer.

That said, the cover letter should provide additional information about your skills, experience, and accomplishments. Like the resume, avoid using templates as well, as a contrived cover letter can definitely hurt your chances. Hiring managers often use the cover letter to get a better idea of the applicant’s personality and character, so don’t be afraid to spend time rewriting it until it’s perfect.

Stay tuned to this page to read more from Larry Polhill of Café Valley.


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