How To Cook Up Great Resumes

Written by on April 28, 2014 in Blog, Careers, resume tips, Resumes, Uncategorized with 0 Comments

Great Resumes Must Be Created

I learned long ago that writing the perfect resume was not much different than cooking. If you’re making your favorite dish—let’s say lasagna—you don’t just throw any old thing into the pot. If my wife caught me putting carrots in her sauce, she’d cut an appendage off, and she wouldn’t be choosy about which one.

Lasagna demands a precise recipe. If you want perfect lasagna you have to follow the recipe. Great resumes are like that too. You can’t just toss things into the mix and expect good results.

What is the recipe for a great resume?

Don’t fret. I’m here to give it you. Let’s begin with…

What You Don’t Put In

When you’re making lasagna—at least in our house—the first thing you do is cut out the carrots. Or, in the case of the resume—the objective. Carrots don’t belong in lasagna and objectives don’t belong on resumes.

Some people like to put green bell peppers in the sauce. They believe it adds flavor. But all it really does is take away from the flavor you want.
Summaries are like peppers; you don’t need them on the resume.

great resumes are built just like great lasagna

If you think I don’t know about lasagna, take a look at this beauty. My wife has been making some of the best lasagna in the world for 44 years.

What Ingredients Go Into the Lasagna

  • Mozzarella
  • Pasta (noodles)
  • Sauce/gravy (It’s a hotly debated issue among Italians whether it’s called sauce or gravy)

The perfect sauce has to be put together right if you want it to taste good. Here are the primary ingredients.

  • Tomato paste
  • Tomato sauce
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Basil (fresh)
  • Garlic (numerous cloves)
  • Meat
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Parmesan & Romano cheese (freshly grated, of course)

Optional items: Crushed red pepper and oregano.

What Ingredients Go Into a Great Resume

  • Contact information
  • Education
  • Work history

Just like the sauce, your resume must be put together right if you want it to shine. The education section is simple—it’s like the mozzarella. The work history section is what makes or breaks the resume. Let’s take a look at the ingredients.

  • Companies you worked for
  • Dates worked at each company (including months)
  • Company description
  • Titles held (and dates of each position)
  • Responsibilities (like the basil—a few sprigs will do.)
  • Accomplishments (think garlic—liberal use is recommended)

Optional: Special skills (languages, advanced technical training); patents & publications.

great resumes are like lasagna; they both have a lot of ingredients parmesan added to lasagna, is like adding accomplishments to great resumesConstruction & Presentation

Even though you have all the ingredients, you still have to put them together properly. Presentation is important. Take a look at Mikki’s lasagna…

Gorgeous, isn’t it? Almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

Back to the construction. It’s critical that the lasagna be put together just right. In this picture, you can see Mikki layering it to perfection.

The same goes for your resume. You can’t cram it into one page using fonts that are too small, or line spacing that forces the gatekeeper to find a magnifying glass to read it. White space is an important part of the resume; in fact, the presentation of your resume might be just as important as the contents. But that’s a topic for another post.

In the meantime, make sure you pay attention to what you put in your resume, or it might end up in the trash.

PS: If you read all of this thinking I was going to give you the recipe for Mikki’s lasagna—I’m going to disappoint you. She doesn’t even give that to our kids.

If you enjoyed this post, please share.

And if you really want to build a great resume, check out my book, or let us do it for you.

Cooking Up A Resume download pdf

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About the Author

About the Author: When I’m not headhunting, or writing, I help my wife take care of our animal sanctuary. At last count we had 45 animals—11 dogs, 1 horse, 6 cats, and 26 pigs. Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar named Dennis who takes walks with me every day and happens to also be my best buddy. For information on my mystery/suspense books, go to .

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