Four Resume Disasters That Kill Job Searches

A lousy resume kills job searches. Well, OK, maybe it doesn’t KILL them. Someone will hire you eventually for something. But they can really hurt you.

Even resumes from services that charge huge fees can be disasters. One man asked my opinion about a resume that an online service did for him—for a hefty $800 fee. I had to tell him he’d been ripped off. The copy looked like a high school student had written it.

Here are a four common resume disasters. There are, of course, many more.

1. The On-and-On-and-On Resume

A Chicago woman sent me a resume that was seven pages long. No matter how fascinating your career might be, no one wants to get seven pages from you. You need to select the best information.

Imagine that basketball great Michael Jordan was writing his resume—not that he needs one! We COULD list every single game he’d ever played and give his statistics from each one. But that would be utterly tedious.

Even the most die-hard basketball fans would be snoozing before they got a quarter of the way through it.

This kind of resume puts employers to sleep.

Instead, Mr. Jordan might write this:

Career Highlights:

  • Six times NBA champion
  • Five times NBA Most Valuable Player
  • Six times NBA Finals MVP
  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year
  • 10 times scoring champion
  • 14 times NBA All-Star

You get the idea real fast, without all the details. Less is often more.

People at the beginning of their careers should usually limit themselves to one  page. People farther along shouldn’t exceed two or three (of course, there are exceptions to any rule).

2. The Slop-Another-Job-On-Top Resume

That resume worked for you a long time ago.  And the next time you looked for work, you added your latest job on top. You repeated that process every time you’ve looked for a job. But that method doesn’t work. It’s important to evaluate and reevaluate yourself as you move through your career. A few things to consider:

  • Your skill set has enhanced/changed. Is that reflected on the resume?
  • How have you responded to changes in technology?
  • What is relevant/not relevant in today’s market or for the job you want?

A client from Kenilworth sent us one of these. He wrote a resume after graduating from college. Even since then, he’s pulled out that same resume and put his latest job on it. It was like a fifty-year-old man walking around in his high school gym clothes.  We fixed that quick so that he looks like a real professional.

3. The Yep-I-Was-There Resume

I’ve seen thousands of resumes, and a large percentage of them focus on duties and responsibilities. They pay little or no attention to what the boss most wants to know: what results do you get? Even a lot of top performers do this, making themselves look bland, ordinary, and even boring.

Remember, your resume is a marketing document. If the boss reading it doesn’t get excited enough to pick up the phone to call you, it isn’t doing its job. The boss is eager to find someone who can help with his/her problems, so show you can cut through problems like a knife through butter. Show the boss that you get results.

I was astounded to see a resume from a client from Highland Park. This man had done mind-boggling work, creating facilities of a size and with features that hadn’t been done before. But it all focused on his duties. Blah blah blah. No wonder no one was getting excited.

4 .The Linger-Forever-in-the-Online-Database Resume

When applying for jobs online, it’s imperative that applicant tracking systems will find what you transmit. Otherwise, your resume will be lost in a sea of bits and bytes, destined to never see the light of day.

Applicant tracking systems are software packages employers use as electronic recruitment tools. Since employers can receive hundreds of applications for a single job posting, it’s impossible to read or even manually scan all of them. They use this software to select the best few—at least, according to the software.

You need to understand the power of keywords, how to use them, formatting that will allow your most critical information to be found by these systems, and much more. Just one example: information that you put into a text box may well be invisible to the applicant tracking system.

A man from Winnetka came to see us after being out of work for eight months. He’d diligently applied to jobs online, but had zero interviews. I doubt any human being ever saw this resume.

NOTE: If all you’re doing in your search is submitting resumes to online postings, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. You’re competing with a huge pool of applicants for jobs that quite often are not the best jobs.

A Poor Resume is a sign of a poor job campaign

While a resume is only about 10% of what it takes to get hired, Still, it is a critical 10%. Do it right. Poor resumes almost always are a sign of a poor job campaign.

Successful executives often decide their job search is too important to do alone. At Lucrative Careers, we’ve helped countless professionals transform their resume from a bland, template-based chronology to a dynamic document that stands out from the competition.

Want us to fix your resume and/or discuss your job search? We’re happy to have a no-obligation phone call.  You can call Steve at 847-673-0339 or Jack at 847 251 4727 or send us a note at

Do You Hate Your Job?

A lot of people hate their jobs. There’s no shame in that—as long as you don’t stay. Spending your precious life doing things you hate is bad for your body and mental health. It drags down the people you care about.

Hopefully, you remember a time when you felt passionate about your job. When Monday morning came, you were charged up to go to work.  So what can you do to get it back—or get it for the first time?

A first step is to diagnose the problem and see what’s missing. Make a report card for your job, giving grades (on the scale of A – F) on your satisfaction in these areas.

Money – If you’re not paid what you’re worth, it can make you feel resentful and unmotivated. How happy are you with your compensation package? GRADE ___

Professional development  Is there room for you to grow professionally and build your strengths and skills? Does your company encourage professional development? GRADE _____

Right responsibility – Are you appropriately challenged by your job, or do you find yourself bored? Or are you overwhelmed most of the time? GRADE____

Philosophy of your company/organization – Does the company you work for support your mission? Do they treat people as you would like to be treated? Is the company ethical? GRADE_____

Geography – Do you like the area of the city/country/world where you live and work? Is your commute acceptable? GRADE ____

Strengths – Does your job focus on the things that make you feel invigorated, energized, and focused. It’s hard to feel fulfilled if our job constantly demands that we be something we’re not. GRADE ___


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We Jumpstart Careers  — CALL US TODAY   847-673-0339 (Steve) OR 847-251-4727 (Jack)

Or Contact Us  

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Mission – Do you ever think about why you’re here on this earth? Many people feel they have a calling in life. Often, this stems from a “wound” or negative life experience. John, who grew up poor, loves helping people to develop their own businesses and invest their money wisely. Marco, who grew up being mocked for being Mexican, is a passionate teacher who encourages Latino kids to take pride in their heritage. GRADE____

What’s your passion?- Helping others to learn? Protecting the environment? Creating a healthy work environment? Making computers systems run right? Fighting for social justice? Helping people to be financially secure? Is your work in synch with your calling? GRADE____

Look over the grades. What areas get low grades? Maybe things aren’t as bad as you thought? Or maybe they’re worse.

Are the low grades fixable where you are—or do you need to make a move? For example, the money might be fixed by asking for a raise. The types of responsibilities might be fixed with a transfer to another department.

If they’re not fixable, are you up for making a move? We hope so. Don’t spend any more time than you have to in work that isn’t right for you.

Here are three examples of actual people (minus the real names) we helped:

Changing careers – Jenny was successful in an administrative role, but found her job report card filled mostly with C’s and D’s—and there were no A’s. She decided to stop putting up with it, and got in action. Since she didn’t know what she really wanted to do, she met with us, and we recommended work in sales. Jenny is now selling medical equipment–and loving it.

Changing Companies – Dave thought he wanted to change careers, but as we talked about his situation, Dave realized that there was nothing wrong with his work in IT. The problem was that the work environment at his company was toxic. He decided to find a job at another company–and he’s passionate again.

Staying put–but making changes – Sometimes, people can stay right where they are, but need to make changes. Mark found that the company’s paperwork requirements exhausted him and robbed him of productivity and job satisfaction. We helped him set up conversations with superiors who agreed to form a committee to streamline the paperwork. He also negotiated for administrative help to take some of the work of his plate, freeing him to focus on more important–and enjoyable–things. This radically changed his job and his satisfaction.

Don’t put up with work that is robbing you of your vitality and joy. If you want to have a conversation about your situation, call us: 847 673 0339 or send us a note.

Special Offer: Career Action Plan Meeting Cost: $0

Due to the popularity of our last offer, we’re doing this again.

We are giving away just a few Career Action Plan Meetings. Act Now

Meet with nationally-recognized career coaches Jack Chapman and Steve Frederick–in person or by phone– for a two-hour session to address your career issues. Jack is the author of the popular book, “ Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 a Minute.”  These meetings normally cost $225. What’s the catch? There is none–except that maybe you will so benefit from our meeting that you’ll want more. Sort of like when a baker gives away samples of warm chocolate chip cookiesl.

What is a Career Action Plan Meeting?

We will take an in-depth look at your career history to see what you’ve done, what makes you “tick,” and how you’ve made decisions to get where you are today. Then, we’ll zero in on your current situation/dilemma. We’ll get to the root of your career issue(s) and provide a step-by-step plan to fix them.

What issues do we help resolve?

We can help with most any issue that’s in the way of your career satisfaction, including:
  • Unsure of what to do next;
  • Stymied by age discrimination;
  • Wanting to take their career in a new direction;
  • Fed up with being underpaid and underappreciated;
  • Unsure of how to make their retirement fulfilling.

Here’s How to Apply

Send an email to With CAP SESSION in the body of the email, briefly describe your career situation and what change(s) would be ideal, as best you know. If you have no idea what you want to do next, just say that. Please also attach your resume. We will review all applications, and award just a few CAP Meetings to those who face difficult situations or ones we find intriguing.  The offer is open to anyone in the US and Canada. Again, we can meet in person or by phone. Everyone who sends us a resume will get a complimentary copy of our publication, The 12 Biggest Mistakes Job Hunters and Career Changers Make–and How to Avoid Them. Questions? Call Steve Frederick at 847-673-0339.