The Right Resume Format for the Right Situation

What format should your resume be in? Between online networking, going to interviews, and applying to web portals on company websites, it can be confusing to work that one out.

As a rule, you should have Word (.doc or .docx), PDF (.pdf), and ASCII/plain text (.txt) versions of your resume. See the graphic for when to use what. Happy resume sending!

Different situations call for different resume formats.

Different situations call for different resume formats.

August 20, 2015 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

How to Give a LinkedIn Recommendation

Want to make a LinkedIn recommendation, but can’t find the right place to click? This will set you straight in less than two minutes. You’re welcome!

August 19, 2015 at 10:39 am Leave a comment

Three Perspectives to Improve the Health of Your Healthcare Resume


As a healthcare executive, you’ve dedicated your career to caring for others, either directly or through leadership. Deliberately crafting your healthcare resume is your chance to take care of yourself and capture the role and compensation you’ve earned.

Story and context are key. Stand-alone bullet points won’t cut it in an industry where maintaining the status quo, let alone making modest gains in quality and profitability, can mean moving heaven and earth. The three frameworks below should help you clarify your value.

Perspective 1: Structure and Innovation

Because the healthcare and medical industry is so highly regulated, your story should include your ability to innovate within that sometimes rigid structure. Have you developed a program that helps clients better navigate the healthcare system? Enabled your organization to better meet the conflicting needs of regulatory officials, patients and families? Contributed to a healthier bottom line without compromising care? Encouraged a culture that gives staff, patients, administrators and regulators confidence in your organization?

Perspective 2: Wealth of Experience and Specific Career Goals

The US Department of Labor has identified healthcare as an industry in which the number and types of jobs will continue to grow. Your career may have taken you in seemingly disparate directions—or you may have found yourself working for the same company for many years, trying to tell a story of broad experience as you face a career transition. Get clear on your current goal and look back to connect the dots for yourself. How have your work and life experience prepared you perfectly to contribute in  your ideal role? Once you’re clear, connect those dots for your reader with descriptive headlines and narrative job descriptions that go beyond “duties.”

Perspective 3: Vision and Visuals 

In the context of a healthcare resume, go beyond the basics (significant keywords, chronological history, lists of education and skills) to include a tag line, testimonials, and graphics that illustrate your philosophy as well as your contributions to financial and operational performance. Testimonials are especially effective in a field that places so much value on soft skills. They prove your ability to relate to and inspire individuals, as well as giving objective confirmation of your value to healthcare organizations.

You executive healthcare resume should highlight your organizational, financial, medical and soft skills and create a story that any recruiter or hiring committee can easily follow. It should strategically align your past career with your future goals, and it should set you apart from your competitors in the healthcare and medical industries.

Curious to know what a good healthcare resume looks like? You can view my first-place winners in the Healthcare Resume category here and here.

Need help? I’m just a phone call away.

March 25, 2015 at 8:03 am Leave a comment

Three Steps to Writing Your Story-Based Corporate Finance Resume

finaanceThe story of your career in corporate finance is bound to be unique, with its own combination of industries, geographic areas and reach into nearly every aspect of a company, from employee compensation to strategic vision. Few other careers offer as much diversity as corporate finance.


How do you make sure that all of your regulatory and financial expertise, licensing, certifications and achievements fit into one resume for a CFO or other senior financial position? I recommend three essential steps when writing corporate finance resumes.




Cite your credentials in the top third of the resume. While you would naturally cover the following information throughout your corporate finance resume, the top third is where recruiters, board members and hiring committees look first. Therefore, the top third should mention your CPA; your regulatory experience (GAAP accounting, Sarbanes-Oxley and so on); your strategic leadership; your ability to handle the ramifications, from financial to morale, of divestitures, acquisitions, hostile takeovers, headcount reductions and other sensitive issues; and your monetary responsibilities and accomplishments, including the precise revenue of companies where you have worked in the past and the precise income you have helped to grow.




Frame your resume story around the corporate finance position you want (CFO, Senior VP of Finance), not the position you’re leaving, in the industry and location that most appeals to you. In a field where your skills may be equally applicable to a chain of retail stores in Idaho and the Hong Kong office of a financial services firm, your corporate finance story emphasizes what you bring to the table and why you would be a valuable asset in the position you want. It creates a narrative around your skills, accomplishments and experience that demonstrates your ability to resolve crises, anticipate problems and drive organizations into a positive future. Through your story, your target companies will recognize your fit with their culture and goals, whether that involves improving cash flow in new divisions or working with the COO to lower operations overhead. Your story sets you apart.




The eye of a reader is drawn immediately to graphs, charts, bolding, italic and color, with an impact that cannot be matched (but should always be bolstered) by words. In fact, the human brain processes images up to sixty times faster than it processes words. More than many other fields, corporate finance lends itself to resumes with strong visuals.


As a CFO or senior finance executive, you have the potential to bring value to a range of industries and locations. But, your own goal is to seize your moment: the position you want, in the industry and location that most appeal to you, at the best possible compensation. Through strategic organization, strong narrative and compelling visuals, your corporate finance resume achieves that goal. I’m here to help.

March 24, 2015 at 7:33 am Leave a comment

In a Great Business Story, 1+1 = 3

Ken Burns discusses storytelling

Ken Burns discusses storytelling

In this video, legendary filmmaker Ken Burns shares his thoughts on storytelling.

Of note as it relates to business storytelling are two concepts in particular:

Sometimes 1+1 = 3

For a recent resume client whose job was to measure and interpret big data, we put this concept to use by revealing that it’s not entirely about the data. Her tag line was, “What gets measured gets managed. But what about the things you can’t measure?”

What are the unexpected messages in your work? Capitalize on them, and you’ll have a story worth telling, one that hasn’t been heard before.

Great Stories Manipulate, and That’s Okay

When you tell a compelling story, you’re evoking emotions. In the case of business communications, you’re ultimately evoking decisions. We’ve been taught that manipulation is disingenuous and wrong. But what could be more genuine than communicating passionately about something you believe in.

For a small mortgage brokerage, we put together a hiring story that made potential loan agents feel a sense of trust and stability about the client. In a volatile industry, this company had grown every year and compensated their people well above industry average–even during the recession. They’d done this thanks to the ability of the founder to find opportunity in any market, so we recounted the tale of his success through repeatedly figuring out who needed mortgages and reaching them with innovative marketing strategies.

It seems like more of an ethical violation not to share that story than to shy away from it for fear of being manipulative. The client and their future employees deserved to have a story of trust and opportunity underpinning the beginning of their relationship.

While the business applications of these ideas are fascinating, you’ll find that Ken Burns has a very personal force driving his own storytelling. Enjoy!

Ken Burns: On Story from Redglass Pictures on Vimeo.

March 21, 2015 at 10:56 pm Leave a comment

Tell Stories, Get Hired Podcast


I’m honored to have been included in the book, Tell Stories, Get Hired by Daisy Wright. I had a virtual “sit down” with Daisy, fellow contributor Audrey Prenzel, and Mark Anthony Dyson on Mark’s podcast, The Voice of the Job Seeker.

Have a listen for some great tips on how to incorporate stories into your job search:

February 18, 2015 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

You Need a Story-Based Oil and Gas Resume If…

Oil PumpsWhether you consider yourself in the “oil and gas” or “petrochemical” industry, one thing is for sure: your career has been a wild ride.

How could it be otherwise, when you mix “cowboys,” whose daddies’ daddies were in oil, with MBAs and engineers in fields, plants, and boardrooms with billions of dollars, environmental safety, and human lives at stake?

But through it all, you’ve been steadfast. Whether you’ve made tough decisions under pressure, showed up each day and quietly done what was expected of you (which was near impossible), your contributions have added to the bottom line—not to mention building of trust with your employees, investors, and the communities that host your operations. How do you put all that on a resume?

Here are some of the situations I’ve seen oil and gas job seekers face, and why a traditional resume just won’t cut it for them:


As an oil and gas operations pro or executive, you may be without a degree, have studied something else in school, or have managed just fine with a bachelor’s where most of your colleagues have post-graduate studies under their belt.

Whether through fate or family, you started young in the industry and earned your stripes. But it’s a different world out there today. Many job postings you’re seeing are listing a degree as a requirement. You know that your School of Hard Knocks education will hold up against a diploma any day, but you don’t know how to express that to HR and recruiters.


Whether the ink on your degree is still drying, or you’ve been solving the problems of oil wells and refineries for decades, your resume looks pretty similar to your colleagues’. If you send out a resume like that, you’ll be as much of a commodity as a barrel of oil, and compared on the basis of years in the industry, degree, and skills. Yes, you’ll be in demand no matter what resume you use. There aren’t enough engineers to fill the open roles, after all.

But ask yourself these questions: Are you in demand for the job you really want? Are you in the strongest possible position to negotiate a great compensation package, having demonstrated your organizational and bottom-line contributions? Would you like your next career move to be a conscious choice based on your life goals and a long-view strategy for your career? A traditional resume won’t get you there.


Let’s face it, yours is a treacherous industry. Whether you’ve faced financial, environmental, or OSHA crises, chances are the buck has stopped with you more than once. How can you present yourself in the best light, conveying the leadership, guts, and gift for strategy you bring to the table?

Perhaps your P&L and risk management strategies have paid off. Maybe you’re already fielding offers. Are they the offers you want? How do they fit into your long-range career strategy?

Whether you’re overcoming bad luck or want to make the most of your successes to make a deliberate career move, a bulleted list of accomplishments won’t get the job done. A resume that tells your story will be the most compelling to recruiters and board members.


The petroleum industry is insular and networked. It may be that you’ve never needed a resume, that you’ve moved easily from one role to the next because you’ve always had a job offer waiting. If that’s your situation, you might not need a resume. I have worked with clients in this boat, though, who realized in retrospect that they should have made more deliberate choices. If what you’re being offered is not the thing that will make you jump out of bed in the morning or get you closer to your overall career goal, it may be time to create a resume, LinkedIn profile, and supporting documents that are in line with what you do want.


Yes, oil and gas is insular. Oil companies like to hire people with industry experience. But I’ve helped several clients break in. You just have to show how your career and life experience have positioned you perfectly to contribute to employers’ most important business goals. Even if they have the vision, hiring managers don’t have the time to connect the dots. Your resume must do it for them if you plan to get a seat at the interview.


There’s a saying that you can’t teach wisdom, but you can learn it. That’s because wisdom requires experience. Every parent or boss knows this.

But stories are the loophole to that rule. When our brains hear or read a story, it’s as if we’ve had the experience ourselves. So, while you can’t teach wisdom, you can impart it through the use of stories. You getting what you want out of your career demands nothing less than imparting the wisdom you have to offer. A simple chronology of your career events won’t do that.

If you’re in a career transition in oil and gas, you owe it to yourself to examine your communications. Are they conveying all you have to offer? Do they go beyond bullet points to provide the context that sets you apart from other candidates?

For hints on how to incorporate story into your resume, take a look at my samples or read my blog. Here are some tips specific to oil and gas resumes. And, of course, feel free to contact me if you find yourself needing a little more guidance.

February 17, 2015 at 8:42 am Leave a comment

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