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Resume Real Talk

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Real Talk About Resumes.
Up-to-date information analyzed and critiqued for validity and real world application. Everyone is different and your resume writer should tailor your resume for your key skills, qualifications, and accomplishments.



Copyright © Sandra Jackson, JobTownResumes.com, 06/29/2014.All rights reserved.  



A Love Letter To Job Seekers

A Love Letter To Job Seekers

A Love Letter to Hard-Working Job Seekers and Employees.

  • You Are More Amazing Than You Think.
  • Resume Writers Are VERY Nosy.
  • Make Your Resume Be A Job Coach.
  • Makeover Surprise! Yes, That’s Really You.
  • “The Working Man’s The Tough Guy.”

“There are eight million stories in the Naked City.” This line from the 1930’s film ‘Naked City’ and, more recently, Jay Z’s rap song “Empire State of Mind,” always pops into my head after an interview with a new resume client. Many of you may not be familiar with this 1930′s film noir movie and one of TV’s popular 1950’s crime series (think Grandma’s version of “Law & Order”). But you may have heard that line in rap artist/entrepreneur Jay Z’s lyrics from “Empire State of Mind” (featuring Alicia Keyes).

A Love Letter to Job Seekers. You Are More Amazing Than You Think

A Love Letter to Job Seekers. You Are More Amazing Than You Think


I am a Resume Writer who loves movies … AND people’s stories. I have loved ALL my client’s stories. The thing that strikes me when I am interviewing to write resumes is that most everyday people don’t think of themselves as interesting. They downplay their experience on a resume, either because they don’t want to “blow their own horn,” or because they are too close to the subject to evaluate their accomplishments, or maybe they just haven’t asked themselves the right questions. But you are interesting! Hear me when I say, “There are millions of interesting stories in the naked city!”

Love Letter to Job Seekers.Nosey.dog_nose_by_celeryu-d30audp2. RESUME WRITER’S ARE VERY NOSEY!

Your resume writer should be a VERY curious person! Interviewing for a resume, is by definition, a confidential process. I’m going to find out stuff by questioning and, yes, even by intuition, that even your Mom may not know! If your resume interviewer is asking the right questions they get a window into what you are proud of, your philosophy of work, what is important to you, your industry core competencies, what colleagues and bosses think of you, if you are innovative, creative, thrive under pressure, etc. The average person has NOT always considered every one of the questions a resume writer asks nor have they organized them into sections that show off the whole picture. Everyone is different and there are millions of stories in the naked city!


Here’s the deal: don’t take your resume out every 3 years and dust it off. Shoot! Thumb-tack that thing to your home office wall and start making notes on it! Review it every 3 to 6 months. Every time you look at it, think, “What would look great on my resume?” and then do it. Update your resume EVERY YEAR. Each year, assess what you want to do and what would look great on your resume. Make it a fluid work in progress urging you forward.

  • Visualize your future.
  • Determine the continuing education you want.
  • Find mentors and professional job coaches for the next step.
  • Search the internet for your job title. Read what you find.
  • Join professional organizations.
  • Network  like crazy and ask questions.
  • Pick the brains of people who are where you want to be.
  • Read your industry’s news.
  • Be courageous and reach for what you want.


It is gratifying for a resume writer to take the job seeker’s information and craft it into a working document that demonstrates experience and capabilities to potential employers. But the best part of the experience is when the resume also demonstrates to the job seeker, themselves, just how amazing, interesting, and capable they are. A good resume makeover actually surprises some clients and gives them a new found faith in themselves.

Love Letter to Job Seekers.WomanFlyAmong my clients have been stunt women for major movies who are looking for a career change, graphic artists of the “Mad Men” genre, clients who have coordinated high-profile and complicated foreclosures on celebrity multimillion dollar properties, domestic violence counselors, social workers, selfless nurses, accountants, hotel events coordinators handling venues for bands and athletes, sales people, and information technology experts on the cutting edge of innovation, a successful restaurant manager who is now pursuing his passion for space technology, job recruiters who fill homeland security and FBI openings, real estate appraisers handling multimillion dollar properties, empty nest Mom’s courageously pursuing brand new lives and loves, football coaches, and an architect whose passion is leading liturgical communities in the unique design and construction of worship spaces. “There are millions of stories in the naked city.” Every one of my clients has a story and every one of them is amazing.

Love Letter to Job Seekers.stuntperson.clip-art-circus-600589 (3)       Lover Letter to Job seekers.Workplace_Diversity       Love Letter to Job Seekers.architect.construction_worker_4


You knew I had to give you another movie quote, right? In ‘A Bronx Tale,’ Lorenzo Anello (Robert De Niro) said to his son, who seemed to falling under the spell of a flashy neighborhood gangster, the following (one of my favorite working man quotes):

… try and get up every morning day after day, and work for a living. Let’s see him try that. Then we’ll see who the real tough guy is. The working man’s the tough guy. Your father (*and your mother*) is a tough guy.

Love Letter to Job Seekers.You Are Tough.BronxTale.tumblr_m8l6qbsCmk1rdotqro1_400

 Kind Regards (and, yes, Love), Sandy, Your Resume Writer



Problem Resumes : Elphaba’s Wicked Resume

Serious advice for handling problem résumés. But you’re gonna smile.

Copyright © Sandra A. Jackson, JobTownResumes.com, 2013. All rights reserved.*

Some people are so misunderstood!

Problem Résumés: Elphaba's Wicked Resume

Problem Résumés: Elphaba’s Wicked Resume

Ever read the book, “Wicked” or see the Broadway play? It’s the longest running Broadway play in history about the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba.  Most resume analysts would agree that her’s falls in the problem resumes category and would pose a challenge. So that’s our case in point and our sample to explain how it’s done. (In case you aren’t familiar with Elphaba, Glinda, and “Wicked,” click on the link, “Wicked” (the musical) Wikipedia for a detailed synopsis. And if you happen to be in exciting New York, click on the graphic below for tickets to “Wicked” on Broadway.)

Wicked-posterSince it’s

Halloween week,

I started wondering, “Just how would one handle Elphaba’s wicked resume?” After giving it some thought and a little imagination, a first draft appeared. Then  resume “Best Practices” from the National Resume Writers’ Association were applied to it. Click on the links below to see it. You’ll have a good chuckle.



Problem Résumés: Elphaba Wicked Resume.pg1 Problem Résumés: Elphaba Wicked Resume.pg2 Elphaba’s Wicked résumé had several problem areas to address.

  1. She had a gap in experience while she cared for her sister and the Winkie Prince.
  2. She left her position suddenly after blowing the whistle on the Wizard of Oz’s fraudulent practices.
  3. Most of her potential references thought she was wicked. She was an animal activist, a crusader against evil, and a righter-of-wrongs. These traits can sometimes be misinterpreted if you haven’t chosen the right occupation.
  4. She had choppy, short independent jobs after her initial executive assistant position. (She disappeared altogether for a while with that faux “melt” stunt after she left Oz, but she spent her time with further education, volunteer work, and consultations on magic during this time. She kept busy.)
  5. Her sorcery was misunderstood. Of course, in my imagination, she was a techie witch. After all, that crystal ball and those ruby slippers were pure genius.


  1. HOW TO HANDLE A GAP IN EXPERIENCE: Tell the truth about your gap, i.e., caring for a sick relative, completing coursework, or getting laid off, etc.
  2. ALWAYS OPT FOR THE POSITIVE SPIN: Of course, it is more of a challenge to explain getting fired.  In these cases, be sure to take advantage of the break to do volunteer work, coursework, and certifications so that you can put a positive spin on activities during that period. This is also true for time after a lay off. Learn from your mistakes, if there were any, and don’t let life’s speed bumps keep you down. Go for that “glass half-full” concept.
  3. ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH: A lie is almost always discovered on a résumé and it will hurt your chances in the end. Recruiters and companies keep databases full of résumés they obtain from applicants and from résumé mining on the internet. I know because I was one of those recruiters who hoarded resumes. Although most employers say they only keep the résumé for six months, it is usually kept longer than that (sometimes years) in a database. They will notice inconsistencies between resume versions and work history when they do reference checking and verifications.
  4. FOLLOW RESUME WRITING “BEST PRACTICES.” Then, be sure to meticulously follow conventional wisdom for résumé writing. Click on this link for a list of “Best Practices.”

Once you’re done writing the resume and have addressed all  problem areas following the “Best Practices” guidelines, cross your fingers and throw salt over your shoulder while chanting “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble” (like Shakespeare’s witches in MacBeth). Wicked.th

Naw. I’m just kidding. You can cross your fingers if you want to, but if you follow the resume suggestions, your resume will look great.

If you’re going to write your own resume, take a look at the industry recommended resume and cover letter books listed in our JTR Store by clicking on this link.

And call me when you’re done writing, so I can proof, edit, and give your resume a polish and shine. It’s a cost-effective way to go. On the other hand, if you’d like to leave all those details to someone else, call me to write or rewrite the entire resume from scratch. Either way, it’ll shine.

Kind Regards, Sandy, Your Resume Writer

p.s. And for goodness’ sake, practice your interview questions so you’ll be ready when they call. Notice I said “WHEN.” Check out “About.com” for interview questions and answers. Or check out “Interview IQ” for a comprehensive look at (literally) lists and lists of interview questions for professionals and executives.

Here’s wishing you a Happy Halloween!

halloween-bat-moon-clipartClick here to call or e-mail me. Let’ Get Started on Your Resume!

Images by Shutterstock and Bing free vector images.

Job Hunters’ TGIF Drink: 5 Caveats For Each Shot of Advice

Call or e-mail. Let’s Get Started on Your Resume!

Copyright © Sandra A. Jackson, JobTownResumes.com, 2013. All rights reserved.*

Job Hunters TGIF Drink. "Let's talk job hunters !"

Job Hunters TGIF Drink. “Let’s talk job hunters !”

  •  Add these 5 caveats to that job hunt advice.
  • Plus an  iconic James Bond drink recipe for Friday night!
  • And 4 articles from industry experts to help DIY resume writers.

Thank Goodness it’s Friday! Let’s talk job hunters!!

As a recruiter and resume writer for over 17 years, I have 5 advice caveats to keep you centered.  And the great recipe is from Colleen Graham from About.com ~ a “true” James Bond Vesper Martini recipe from Chapter 7 of “Casino Royale.”**

A digital truck-load of resume writing and job hunting advice inundates the internet highway. Here’s some TGIF advice. Just like finely distilled Vodka and Whiskey, you’ve got to distill it and filter it. You wouldn’t drink moonshine, would you?

Lots of really good information is coming from recruiters and career coaches for job hunters to incorporate in their recipe for success. There are articles on the 20 best resume words, power words, words that will get your resume thrown in the wastebasket, and surveys on surprising things that HR folks hold against you.

What are the Top 20 Words to Use on Your Resume? The Undercover Recruiter

20 Powerful Action Verbs to Kick Your Resume Up a Notch

What Every Applicant Ought to Know About HR People, The Undercover Recruiter

There’s also some bad advice and some of it even seems to be in conflict. Yikes! What’s an earnest job seeker like you to do? If you take all this to heart, you might get so overwhelmed you’ll feel a sense of defeat before you even start. I mean, there are so MANY things to keep in mind. Errrgh!

Four Things That Can Send Your Resume into the Trash, Monster

What’s the bottom line for job hunters? go-bottom-hi

As a recruiter and resume writer for over 17 years, I have some advice caveats for you.

Caveat #1: Everyone Ain’t the Same. Gauge all the advice you diligently read against the prism of your own experience. Does it really seem to apply to YOU? Does it seem authentic? Check several sources. And then trust your instincts.

Caveat #2: Be Good at What You Do. Then most of it really doesn’t matter. Most hiring managers are concerned more about your skills and what you can do for them.

Jigsaw-PuzzleCaveat #3: Find the Fit.

If you are too far outside the mainstream, i.e., a computer programmer with a large facial tattoo, etc., you’ll probably have a harder time getting accepted in the general job market. It’s a fact of life and not (yet) against the law. I’m not saying don’t try applying to all companies in which you have an interest if you are outside the mainstream, but be sure to also target companies you know will be more accepting. Just like getting married, you both want to know there is a match in personality. I once worked with a young woman who was really good at what she did, but was habitually late to a receptionist position. She was a great front-office representative of the company, she was very helpful and gracious to incoming calls and visitors, she always made appropriate referrals, and pitched in to help on additional projects happily. Never a misstep, except for being late. You couldn’t ask for a better attitude. But the receptionist for a company CAN’T be LATE. She was crestfallen when she got fired. Now, you’re thinking, “Just tell her to train herself to be on time!!” But, I counseled her to look for jobs where it wouldn’t matter if she was a little late. At the time, there were plenty of jobs like that. Look for the job that is a fit. Don’t try to fit your round personality in a square opening.

Caveat #4: There are Exceptions to Every Rule. If you are an IT person with a lot of experience, do not sweat the two-page recommendation. Information Technology people are almost always the exception to resume rules. Recruiters  for IT WANT to see that detail. But do make a succinct summary and qualification section on the front page. That two-second resume read that recruiters and HR people do is real! Those technical acronyms, buzz words, and versions are all important.

Caveat #5: “Relax Already!” (But not too much.) In that 1989 movie, “Tyoga-mdhe Sea of Love,” Al Pacino’s character, Detective Frank Keller, said it best, after ingesting his share of distilled spirits: “The circumstances are the circumstances.” It is what it is at the moment. Move forward from there.

Here’s your finely-distilled, filtered shot of bottom-line:  A whole lot of the internet advice is very worthwhile. Job hunters should read it diligently and take it seriously. BUT, don’t let it paralyze you or erode your self-confidence. The probability of ANY of these cautionary tales overshadowing years of good work experience, good references, industry knowledge, and your work ethic is highly, HIGHLY unlikely. Not “worst resume words,” not overpowering perfume/aftershave, not your HR-hated hinky walk, not any of that is going to sink you.

94116773_9Now, don’t get it twisted.

I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t make adjustments you think are appropriate. Just take a deep breath, be your best self, and find appropriate sidekicks (resume writers, career coaches, yoga classes) that will enhance and build on your strengths while respecting your personality.  Don’t let all this conflicting head-noise seeping in from a zillion internet lists erect barriers to a positive action-based attitude.

Timeline_Cover_doNotRename62ICONIC BOND DRINK RECIPE: Now, here’s that iconic drink recipe I promised! Colleen Graham at About.com says the following:

“Although the “average” Vodka Martini is better known in Bond’s adventures, it is the Vesper Martini that is the “true” Bond Martini as it was the first mentioned and the one that he claims to have invented in Casino Royale (and the only time he drinks one in the movies or novels). The recipe for the Vesper is dictated in chapter 7 as follows and is named for the lovely Vesper.

‘A dry Martini,’ he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet.’
‘Oui, Monsieur.’
‘Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large slice of lemon-peel. Got it?’

She swears that if you have not had a properly made Vesper Martini you are missing out on a fantastic drink.”

Now, what was it that James Bond said? Oh yeah, “Martini please. Shaken, not stirred.”  Now, go shake them up! 

James.Bond.th  (click on image)

Warm Regards, Sandy, Your Resume Writer

Call or e-mail me. Let’s Get Started on Your Resume!

“While these blogs are humorous in nature, make no mistake about it, career development and job hunting is serious business. It takes research, networking, and knowledge of what employers are really looking for to land the position you really want. These blogs attempt to incorporate all of the above. My intent is to make you smile, but give you serious tools to get where you want to be. Hope you enjoy!” ~ Sandy Jackson, JobTownResumes.com

Images by Shutterstock and Bing free vector images.