Can you critique my resume?

It’s OK to move this to MPSIMS if it belongs there. Wherever you want, mods.

If you know what companies I work for/am applying to, which might not be hard to figure out based on this information if you’re in the industry, please don’t blurt it out in the thread. I’m not ashamed of where I work but I’d prefer it not be easily searchable on google–thanks in advance!

I tailored my resume pretty specifically to my current job and the job I’m looking for, since the company I work for and the one to which I’m applying are quite similar. I REALLY want to get this job, since my current employer recently sold half of itself to this other company, and they’re on the way up. My current employer is on the way down as a result of the sale. The position is a step up from my current one, but not a large one; neither position requires a degree. I definitely have the requisite experience for the one to which I am applying–no degree is necessary and they vastly prefer applicants who have claims experience. So the job offer fits me to a T! Pays better than what I’m doing now, too.

I hope you don’t mind that I blurred some words to protect the guilty (heh heh). And the resume is a word doc, I just made it a picture so I could blur stuff. I appreciate any advice about word choice or the activities I chose to include. I think I probably used too many ampersands, but they are necessary to fit it all onto one page. I also made mention of high school and college achievements; is it tacky to be doing this now (I’m 26)? I’ve only had one really good career-type job, everything before that was mostly college and then one part-time retail job. I wasn’t sure if the high school leadership/educational stuff could still be relevant. Anyway, I think those things helped me land my current job (the HR lady where I work was in the same service fraternity as me in college!) so I wasn’t going to take them out unless people think I should.

Thanks thanks thanks! Link:

I’ll take a stab at it, but I should first say that while I do know (after reading your resume) what industry you are in, I don’t know anything about that industry. Also, I’m not going to point out the many good things about your resume, just the things I think you could do better (Ego Stroking is down the hall on the left :p).

Some initial observations:

Do you have to keep it to just one page because they asked you to do so, or just because you think it will give you an edge somehow? Even so, you might be able to re-format with different borders, text size and structure to give you more room.

I don’t like that font, it looks blocky, but maybe that’s just a hangup of mine, and as a resume screener I wouldn’t let it effect my final decision.

Commercial workers comp - Is ‘comp’ a word that the people reading your resume would find an acceptable abbreviation? If so, fine, but I found it to be a bit jarring.

Great phone manner - I’d avoid using the word ‘great’. What does that mean anyway? Loud? It makes you feel good when you talk? Try to think what it is that they specifically want from your phone manner. Do they want you to be courteous/pleasant/professional? In short, get a better adjective.

Your instincts were right about the ampersands. Lose them (if you can).

I don’t know what Acord means - I guess you do, so I’ll leave it.

Checking in movies should be checking-in movies?
You were valedictorian? Awesome, and good luck!

One more thing, if your university credentials are as good as you say, but you did not end up receiving a degree, you definitely need to to attach an official transcript of your academic record from Purdue - people are probably going to have questions about that but they might not even bother unless they see an official transcript.

Agree with Isamu.

Having hired for a similar position (a few years ago, in another country, but still), I’d also say ditch the activities. Makes it look like you’re still a kid.

I just don’t like the formatting. Maybe it’s the font bothering me, I dunno. The bullet points in between the Header and the line are a bit jarring.

Does you call centre roll let you fill in for claim handlers? Have you done any of that? Assisted anywhere?

Also, you repeat the word skills a lot in your objective. It’s right up the top and the first thing I’ll read. I’d reword it. Maybe insurance industry experience?

I’d have questions about your education, too - you talk it up in terms of being valedictorian and having a great GPA from a top school but you didn’t finish. I’d at minimum be prepared with a great story as to why not.

Good luck.

I just tried to check it out…I review resumes for my friends a lot.
The link isn’t working for me.

My general thought completely based on what people say in this thread: if you have a full page of stuff, and are using ampersands to make extra room, but then aren’t sure if you need old high school stuff - you probably can drop something old and make the other sections look more professional.

I’ll check back after work to see if the link works for me then.

ETA - tried one more time. I’ll take a quick look now, and probably pay more attention to it tonight anyway.


Ok…here are my quick thoughts.

Some of this is really picky…feel free to ignore any of it. Just bring things up for discussion and thought. And keep in mind I’m doing this before coffee. :slight_smile:

Overall formatting - The indentation doesn’t look right to me. You have bullets that call out new sections. The non-bulleted lines should line up with the first character of the bulleted lines. I think that will make the entire page look cleaner.

I avoid abbreviations and common slang. Is there a reason you call out “Cell phone” instead of “Phone”?

“Applying my existing claim skills” - I’m not sure I like the word *existing *in there. I immediately think “Well, that’s better than applying your non-existing claim skills…”

I’d also try to avoid using skills three times in the same sentence - How about “My claim, industry, and customer service skills”?

I agree with **Isamu **- spell out compensation instead of comp in “workers comp”.

If you need to save space, you don’t need to list specific companies in your summary section. List the accomplishment, and they’ll read the company name in the work history section.

Does Luncheon attendee mean something special in your field? It sounds to me like there was a general conference, and you went to some lunch where there were speakers. I’m not sure how that’s an honor. Of course, if it’s an industry recognized conference and invitation only, then leave it in.

For the exceeding goals statement - I’d replace “every single” with “all” - and then change goal to goals.
Employment - I’ve never seen a job listed as “to current”. For some reason, every resume I’ve ever dealt with used the something like “August 2008 - present”. I’m not sure what you have is wrong - it just isn’t what I’ve seen done.

The phrase “Responsibilities include” can be dropped.

“Claims filed both live over the phone…” As opposed to those zombie phone calls we’re so fond of here on SDMB?

“…claims from insured, & rental…” Is"insured" industry slang for customers of the insurance company? Can you say it without slang? Also, the comma before the & isn’t correct.

First line under Blockbuster - you don’t have parallel constructs here. Cash Register Operation uses a verb, while the rest are gerunds - checking, cleaning, stocking, preparing, assisting. Note all the "ing"s.

Is the reason for leaving that you got the job just above it? Do you need to mention that - perhaps you’re trying to show you left of your own choice, as opposed to being fired? When I read a resume professionally, I don’t question people’s reason for leaving…especially if there is another job that lines up chronologically.

For activities - it’s a tough call. I’m in my late 30s, and I still have some activities listed…but they are recent things I’ve accomplished outside of work. I have items that show success in my personal life, such as running charity events and coaching at a local high school. I’m not sure the ones you list are needed…but it’s a personal decision.

Good luck!


I don’t like the use of “every single” in your Honors section. It seems very…pedestrian? Something. Not right.

Thanks all, very good criticism thus far. Stuff I wouldn’t have picked up on or just had mental blups about (like comp instead of compensation, whoops). Workers comp is definitely a very common industry term, but compensation is more professional. Plus HR will be seeing these before a hiring manager gets his hands on them, so it makes sense to keep the longhand version.

It doesn’t “have” to be one page, I suppose. I have just always had a 1 page resume and I thought it was supposed to be that way. And I’ll take a second look at the typeface. I got that resume template off word like 4 years ago and I’m sure there’s a more attractive option out there.

The reason I dropped out of college was because my full tuition scholarship had run out in spring of '07 (after my 4th complete year). And during my first semester without the scholarship, I racked up a lot in loans (had to pay for living expenses, too). My parents did not contribute to my education and tbh I just buckled under the mountain of negative cashflow. I was also clinically depressed (but untreated) because nearly all of my friends (and all of the best ones) had graduated and left me behind.

I don’t think the depression aspect of the situation sounds so great in a job interview, but there were also financial concerns which I would be more likely to play up. Since I was on my own when it came to paying for school, it made me feel better (at the time) to start making money instead of accruing more debt.

I thought it was pretty good overall. I think you can tighten up the objective and delete the activities, but everything in between is ok. Yes, there are a thousand nitpicky things that could be changed, but I didn’t spot any glaring error that would exclude you from consideration by a reasonable person.

As a hiring manager I need to know why you are right for the job I need done. Your objective (once you fix it), summary, honors, and the first part of your employment history (the relevant part) take care of that. After that, chances are I stop reading anyway. I’ve got about fifty of these things to get through, and yours was good enough to avoid the discard pile.

As for the nitpicks – personally, unless there were some kind of game-changing fact to reveal, I would not bother with any detail from your older jobs (we can surmise the general duties of a CSR at Blockbuster, and it’s not specifically relevant to the job you’re after). Also, as you’re in the insurance biz, your audience knows what “workers comp” is. That includes the HR people. No need to spell it out. (No points off if you do, but I don’t think you win any for spelling it out). And no need to specify that you take “inbound” calls, etc., etc. But none of those changes should win or lose you an interview.


Hey! I am a little bit curious as to why the high school band stuff is on there. I am in music ed, and even in pursuit of those kinds of jobs, I think it would look a little funny to say I was the high school band section leader or whatever on my resume. Maybe since what you do is not music-related it will seem interesting or impressive, I really don’t know. Advisors and recent grads have said that all high-school stuff is out, and the grads aren’t usually any older than 23, so they had to fill a whole page with only 4-5 years’ worth of accomplishments.

We’re hiring now (not anything close to your industry) so I’ve been reading a lot of resumes.

I agree about dropping the high school stuff. I also agree about making current present. The Blockbuster job term should be in months also, not summer, to be consistent. If there is no gap, I’m not sure you need to give a reason for leaving, since it is obvious.

Exceeding your goals is not an honor, and should go in the job description section. I assume your audience knows what the first item under honors is - I sure don’t.

Most importantly, I would add a section on Skills. It is much easier to figure out if a prospective employee can do anything for me if I see the skills she has broken out. I then read the rest of the resume to get an idea of other strengths and weaknesses and how strong those skills are based on experience. Someone having a skill from a college class is not the same as having that skill from 7 years of work experience.
Good luck!

I don’t remember the exact month I started with Blockbuster which is why I didn’t put it on there. I know the ending month since it’s the same as the month I started at my current place. But I didn’t write down my start date there and it’s been lost in the mists of long term memory storage.

I’ll definitely think about moving the “exceeding goals” line down under the job description. But it’s more of a skill. I never thought about having a skills section but I think it’s a good idea. I can drop off the high school stuff to fit that in, I think.

I’ve been including the music stuff and the volunteer work with Alpha Phi Omega to show that I’m a well-rounded individual. And like I said, the hr person who was responsible for hiring me was an APO member in her college days (same college actually) so we shared a few common anecdotes about the place. I don’t know how responsible it was for me getting hired, but it definitely had a greater than zero positive effect. I’m reluctant to take it off because it helped me before.

Skills I’ve seen are more along the lines of knowing Word and Excel. If you put these down, which you should if you know them, exceeding goals would look out of place. If you feel you are short on skills it might be a good placeholder, though.
But jobs should have, of possible, basic details on times and place, which you have, responsibilities, which you have, and performance - and exceeding goals is a good measure of that.

You don’t need an objective or a summary. You’re objective is to get a job, that’s self-evident. Your summary is redundant.

Which do you feel is more valuable with landing your job at this point, education or experience? Put whatever you feel will help you the most FIRST.

You might want to add SKILLS to your jobs. What software did you use. One thing today is employers DO NOT LIKE to train when not needed. If you put specific software you can use straight off, that is a big plus for them.

Leave high school off, it’s been too long ago. Just put what university you attened and the dates you went. Of course don’t say you graduated if you didn’t. You can explain on the job application or interview you didn’t graduated.

That said, remember there is NO RIGHT and NO WRONG about a resume. The one that gets you an interview is the one that works, so try different formats.

Also remember to Google yourself and see if any info on that resume is going to come up in a search. You don’t want an employer to be directed to your Facebook or MySpace or any other page.

Join Linkedin as well. It may not help but it won’t hurt.

Also I would add a line about References: Available upon request.

Also make sure your references are willing to give you good references and QUICKLY get back to the employer.

One odd thing I found in this job market is employers are checking my references BEFORE they even call me for a first interview. I normally don’t put references down till after the first interview (I say "Upon request) but some online applications force you to put them in or it won’t submit.

Good luck

If you don’t chose to take the advice about dropping “Responsibilities include(d)” make the use of it consistent.

Kill the indent in the bullet formatting.
I suspect that the Luncheon attendee is a company honour? If it will make sense to them, ignore us but it’s very odd phrasing.
You’re right about &.
Delete the “reason for leaving” bullets.
The balance is good on the space allocated for each job but your bullets need work. Some of them seem to not be a single idea. Sentence structure needs work. (yes I realize the irony of this fragment but this is a post and it is a resume :))

For instance "Processing personal lines towing/roadside assistance claims from insureds, & rental reimbursement claims from … Is that one type of claim or multiple?

Also your last bullet for current employer. Try this instead:
Validated fax claims during transition of…

Good point on the SKILLS section…I forgot about that in my lack-of-coffee review.

Also…one thing I was taught after my last layoff was to list achievements, not responsibilities. If you can, show how you made a difference while fulfilling responsibilities. “In charge of increasing sales” isn’t as impressive as “Beat sales goals by 150%”…stuff like that. I don’t buy into it as a hard-and-fast rule, but it might help with a few items.

Lots of companies use keyword scanners. Some might look for “workers compensation” instead of “workers comp.” Also, some HR person might decide it’s a professionalism-thing - they are hiring people who effectively represent the company, after all.

It’s not likely to make a difference, but it is possible…and to me that makes it worth doing.


More thanks! I no longer have a facebook account, deleted it ages ago. I used to have a myspace a couple years back though, I’ll double check whether it comes up when I google myself and delete it if I need to.

I already have a linkedin profile but I never use it for anything.

As far as “references” go, I can’t get references from anyone I work with. They are legally not allowed to give out any information on me except my name, job title (and possibly job description–maybe), and my length of employment here. My company actually contracts out “references” to a third party call center which provides this information in a way that is completely detached from any possibility of a personal recommendation. This was made very clear to me when I was hired here, and is very common in large corporations (I’m told).

What’s the point of references when none of my bosses or coworkers can say anything about me? It’s a legal liability thing on their part.

Since when is it unprofessional to use industry jargon?

This thread is about on par with most others I see on the SDMB about resumes, with a lot of well-intentioned advice that, in my opinion, focuses more on the window dressing and less on the substance. We have all been inundated with advice from “professionals” about fonts and spacing and bullets and active v. passive and word choices and references and a lot of other things that really do not contribute much to the employer’s decision making process.

Instead of approaching a resume like it’s a magic ticket that will work for you if only you can get it perfectly right, think about the process from the employer’s point of view.

“Mr. Employer, I know you need (not want, need) someone to do insurance claims for you. I happen to kick ass at claims processing. Here is my resume, brimming with evidence of my qualifications/skills/experience specific to your needs. Let’s talk about what I can do for you.”

Frame the conversation like that, then decide for yourself the relevance of stylistic nitpicks and which clubs you belonged to in high school.

Good luck with the job search.

That’s the case for my company also, and many people understand it. If you know someone who has left an old company, that might work.

Markxxx said:

I used to think the same thing. But we have an approval process for those we can phone screen, and it seems that some people got approved and some didn’t based on what was in their Goals statement. Don’t make it generic, like contribute to company success, but do make it something like utilize my interpersonal skills to improve customer experience and repeat business.

My thoughts:

Ditch the Objective. One, you should include highlights within your coverletter (you ARE including a coverletter whenever you submit your resume, right???), and two, you’ll have the title of the actual position for which you are applying (which should also be stated within your coverletter). Honestly, businesses could care less what YOUR objective is–they’re more interested in what you can bring to the table to help them meet THEIR objective.

Change the font. Seriously, on quick glance there’s nothing about this resume that makes it stand out (in a good way) from all the dozen of resumes that might be received with it at the same time for the same position. You want something that will be eye catching, memorable, but professional.

Focus on your skills, instead of your employment positions. For example, I notice that there’s a lot of customer focused interactions within your positions. That may be one of the features that you focus on and list the duties which related to that (instead of listing the employers then listing the duties). Also, all the duties as they’re listed tell about what you did, but none of them tell about the IMPACT you made as a result. How many average calls did you screen each day, for example.

Remove the reason for leaving past positions. Don’t include that on a resume, ever. They’ll ask during the interview. Same thing with your high school graduation information and unless you’re applying for a position playing a musical instrument, that should go as well. The only items on your resume should convey how that will enhance a prospective employer’s business.

Good luck!