10 Reasons My Resume Doesn’t Look Like Yours

resume_2Well, maybe it’s an over-statement that my resume doesn’t look like anyone else’s resume.  My point is that my resume doesn’t follow the ‘normal’ rules, let’s call it the “new normal”.  It’s not that my resume contains any secrets that get it any more consideration, and I’m not doing anything that you can’t find other people talking about on the internet.  Regardless, I think that the old ways of job searching are changing, and our resumes should as well.

1.  I’m American, and Americans don’t have those little squiggly lines, dashes, and dots on their words.  So I don’t get all fancy and say I’m sending someone my résumé, I just call it a plain old resume.  Quite frankly they don’t even really use the accented word over in Europe, where they prefer the term C.V. or Curriculum Vitae.

2.  I don’t care how long it is.  My resume is more than one page, because a professional who has been in a business for any length of time needs to use more than one page.  All the important stuff is on the first page, mind you, but I don’t restrict myself to one page.  Foolishness I tell you.

3.  I leave out the “Objective” heading.  I bet I guess what your objective is…some variation of “I want to work for someone who blah blah blah and will me blah blah blah and I’ll grow as a blah blah blah”.  Yes yes, you want a job, we get it.  Nobody reads them and all it is doing is taking up valuable space not only on the first page of your resume, but on the top of your resume.  That’s prime real estate.

4.  I don’t mention this asinine “Reference Available on Request” mess.  Of course your references are available if the guy you are interviewing with asks for them.  What are you going to do, tell them no?  If you really feel the need to include such things, you might as well just include your references for good measure (although I don’t recommend that either).

5.  I list specific job titles that are designed for people who don’t know what I do.  I don’t just say “Landman”, I might say “Contract Field Landman”.  If it is an application to a right-of-way type positions I might change that to “Contract Title Agent”, because that’s the terminology they are used to seeing.

6.  Which brings us to the topic of the readers expectations.  You need to tailor most every resume to the company you are sending it to.  At a minimum have different versions for different types of jobs that tailors your experience.  For instance, have a mineral leasing resume, a right-of-way acquisition resume, a title research resume, etc.  This will do a much better job of focusing your resume than any silly “Objective” section.

7.  I definitely don’t list bullet points of my job responsibilities under each job.  I just have to assume that they understand the descriptive job titles that I’ve used.  I’ll list specific things I did in that position — “Leased 135k acres in Williston Basin”, or “Reviewed title on 400 lease packets for payment.”  These are things that make you valuable, that make you more than a resume.  If you have a hard time coming up with these examples, ask yourself if you’ve been doing these types of things to bring value to your projects.  The answer may be that you are being too mediocre.

8.  I usually see on peoples resumes who have 10 years or more experience that they will just list “Joe Blow Land Services” 1989-2013.  I generally opt towards listing the actual people / places that I worked for.  However, I can accept that after a certain length of time that resume might be a book.  The solution I’ve started using in certain situation is listing “Field Landman – Randy Land Service – 2005-2012”.  Then I’ll include a line underneath saying something like this “A complete list of contracts worked during this time period is available.”  Then it doesn’t look like I’m trying to hide anything, but I don’t have to include a list of 10 different places or however many you have.

9.  I do keep a “Skills” section, which I regularly see on other landman resumes.  However, as I discussed in #6 above, these skills are going to change based on who the resume is going to — or at a minimum what type of position it is.

10.  Not only do a have a section for “Education”, mostly because I went back to school to finish my bachelors and I am proud of it, but I also have a section entitled “Continuing Education”.  I think the continuing education section can be a very important part of your resume, and quick frankly I’d like to move mine to the first page to make it more visible.  If you aren’t attending at least one major continuing education function a year then shame on you.  If you include this then you’ll know when you need to work harder because your going to include the year when you attended the event.  When you start noticing there is nothing new for two or three years, that’s a hint!  This section is also where I list any association I belong to, or certifications I hold.

Randy Young

Randy Young

Randy is a land consultant with experience in field and in-house land work, land administration, and software consulting with systems used in the land management business. He is an active member of the AAPL, HAPL, and NHAPL and is a regular attendee of industry functions. Randy's latest projects have included land data systems integrations, with a focus on Quorum Land System.

  • Great post Randy! How would you recommend people arrange their resume? I currently have mine setup in the following sequence: objective (taking this out…thanks for the advice), contact info, education, experience, and skills. I have also been giving thought to making a very non traditional resume that separates the accomplishments from the specific companies. So I would have a large accomplishment section that is lumped together and then a very concise list of my work history. My thought is who really cares what you have done for what specific company, but rather put the emphasis on what you have done. What are your thoughts?

    • Randy Young Randy Young says:

      I think the format you use is highly dependent on your experience and what highlights it the best. I have seen the format you mention of using a ‘accomplishment’ type section. I think that is useful if you have a lot of positions that are essentially the same (field landman, 5 times in a row). Although it is useful to show some type of professional progression even through those ‘similar’ positions. Those things may work for one resume and not for another, depending on the contents.

      As for order, that is also highly dependent. A PLM/Energy Commerce/JD might highlight their education up top, whereas you might not want to if it’s not particularly impressive. Contact info should always be at the top I’d wager, the rest will depend on what sells you best.

  • I believe that resumes or résumés should JUMP OUT at the hiring agent when opened via email. TEST: Send your resume or résumé to yourself and see what happens the first time it opens. View the very first thing the hiring agent is seeing. I believe this is very important! You need to grab the hiring agents interest/attention instantly since most of the applying today is done via email.

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