Expert Advice

Full-length articles, listicles, videos, and other resources to guide you in making great decisions in terms of your resume, interviews, job search, and overall career trajectory.

Here’s a press release explaining the World’s Best Resume Writer Competition and how Cliff won it out of tens of thousands of writers.

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San Francisco, CA: Cliff Flamer, resume expert and career counselor, was just deemed The World’s Best Resume Writer after winning the public vote for the first-ever worldwide resume-writing contest sponsored by Career Director’s International (CDI).

So what makes his resumes the world’s best? Continue reading this entry »

Press, Resumes

Change Your Story, Change Your Life - Book Cover Image

I’ve helped thousands of people change their lives. I want to help millions. So I wrote a book explaining everything I do with resumes.

In this book, I share the perspective of the hiring manager, helping job-seekers know what he/she may be thinking as they read over a resume. I tackle every work history challenge possible and reveal how to tell your own BrightSide story in your resume.

Read Chapter One

Resources

What fun!

KQED called me up to be the San Francisco Bay Area career hero on the California Report with Scott Shafer. Scott let me use his own career as an example for how to find a strength in seemingly irrelevant work experience. We also discussed taking a different approach to networking, and some things that employers look for in job candidates.

Check out the podcast; they even included the original take which has plenty more advice for people looking to beat this tough job market.

Comments welcome. Also, let me know what you’re looking to hear more about. In other words, what should Scott and I have been talking about?

Career Transition, Job Market, Networking, Resumes

I was on a business development call with some colleagues and one of them brought up a difficult client. Someone else chimed in with one of their tougher clients. Then another. The focus of our call became the complainers with impossible demands and shifting expectations…

I admit I’ve had a couple of challenging clients through the years. It’s easy to write them off but it’s always best to look inward before casting blame.

So what’s going on?

We’ve got a rockstar team. Our resumes are the best in the business. People would be amazed at how much thought and time we put into a 1-3 page document. Continue reading this entry »

Career Transition, Job Market, Resumes

Man, what a can of worms!

Ready to move onto the cloud, I decided to leave the old-school off-the-shelf style software of Sage’s benchmark product Act! and go for the hot new thing. The glorious SaaS alternative.

Little did I know I’d find a bizillion CRM (Customer Relationship Management software) options out there–and slowly become an expert in this game, at least from a buyer’s perspective. As someone who’s slogged through CRM blogs, played with countless demos, quizzed living, breathing sales reps, and naively shouted “Eureka! I finally found my CRM” at least 3 times in the wee hours of the morning… I figured it’s time for me to share the journey.

In this post, I’ll go over my experience with Salesforce, AddressTwo, HighRise, Oprius, WORKetc, Batchbook, Pipeline Deals, and Big Contacts–one of which became our CRM here at BrightSide Resumes. Continue reading this entry »

Uncategorized

Give employers the real scoop, not just your work history.

Recessions tend to push hardworking people into two groups. On the one hand is the layoff survivor handling the load of multiple former employees. On the other is the hyperqualified job seeker who nevertheless remains overlooked. Both types of people often need to write a new resume, and neither can afford to do it the same way they might have in the previous millennium. Continue reading this entry »

Career Transition, Job Market, Resumes

People always ask for a list like this so here is some age-old advice to help you prepare for your interview. These are extremely basic tenets that apply to almost everyone looking for work.

Interview Do’s

1) Visit the company’s website to get a sense of its products, services, and marketplace.

2) Spend at least an hour reviewing your work accomplishments and portfolio, especially the ones that relate to the job description. Remind yourself of your contributions to the projects so that you can discuss them confidently.

Also, ensure that your work contains no errors (typographic, formatting, etc) that would reflect badly on your professionalism. Make notes about what you would improve about each piece Continue reading this entry »

Interviewing, Uncategorized

There’s a lot of hacks out there.

Choose wisely when looking for a resume writer. They come from all walks of life, from secretarial word-processors to corporate recruiters to grammar nazis to marketing pros to career counselors to moonlighting novelists.

Whatever background your writer comes from, make sure they’re a good listener. One thing that’s often overlooked as a benefit of quality resume-writing services is the career coaching and interview prepping aspect of it.

I fold coaching into my resume development process, both in my in-person interviews and through my questionnaire.

It’s not just about a piece of paper. It’s about discovering and embracing your story.

Stay on the BrightSide.

Resumes

This question was posed on LinkedIn, receiving unanimous “No way, Jose!” replies from recruiters and HR people. Among the top arguments against video resumes were viewing time, discrimination issues, downloadability, and storage, but I think there’s a much more important and insurmountable factor to consider.

As a resume writer, I’ve examined several companies doing video resumes and even considered starting my own company but after a few interviews with HR folks and some introspection (having been a recruiter myself), I realized that the #1 thing that’s preventing these things from taking off is that they force Continue reading this entry »

Resumes

Here’s an interview I did for a blogger and recent graduate, asking me some popular resume questions on behalf of her fellow Millenials.

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Let’s start with the most common Resume question: Should the resume fit on 1 page or go to 2?

[Cliff Flamer] Ah yes…the eternal question. For recent grads to mid-level professionals I suggest 1 page. Also, career changers often benefit from a 1-pager; it helps them to avoid seeming overqualified with all the wrong qualifications. If you must go for 2 pages (and some recent grads certainly have the experience to warrant this) Continue reading this entry »

Resumes

As a seasoned professional, you have much to offer but remember to make room for new experiences as well.

An effective résumé for will balance your strengths (i.e. what you can teach) with your areas for growth (i.e. what you can learn). In regards to the latter, I’m certainly not suggesting you claim ignorance. Rather, consider showing a recently developed interest in a new industry or field.

This is best done by illustrating how you’ve already Continue reading this entry »

Career Transition, Mature Workers, Resumes

Recently, a resume client of mine forwarded a newsletter article from job board discussing ways to overcome “job gaps” of 3-6 months.

Here’s a snippet from the article, and my subsequent retort as to why we should redefine the criteria for a job gap: Continue reading this entry »

Career Transition, Interviewing, Job Market, Resumes

One of the best kept secrets in job-hunting: The government has offered to pay part of your expenses!

You read correctly: Career expenses, including fees incurred for Continue reading this entry »

Interviewing, Job Market, Mature Workers, Resumes

Networking doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Here are a few pieces of advice to keep the conversations interesting:

Don’t lead with your job title.
Good public speakers never lead with their name or credentials. Similarly a savvy job-seeker should never lead with her job title. Continue reading this entry »

Networking

I agree with the overwhelming response of careerists to spend time networking and doing company research as a job seeker, instead of posting resumes online. The facts are there: online job applications account for 2-5% of job offers.

That said, if you find a suitable company through your networking and research, chances are they are going to ask you to apply online, even if you claim an inside contact. So you’re stuck being just one more needle in the hiring person’s haystack. Here are some quick tips to make your online resume stand out from the rest of the chaff:

LinkedIn's Best Answers, Resumes

It’d be great if you could go out and buy a job at Walmart for someone you love but, unless you know something I don’t, retailers aren’t stocking their shelves with job requisitions (yet).

The closest you can come to giving someone a job, is giving them someone that can give them a job. Continue reading this entry »

Job Market, Networking

Truth be told, some hiring managers will never read your cover letter.

I know screeners who delete the cover letter immediately, some who forward it on to others but never read it themselves, and others who print it out only to staple it behind the resume.

But you know what else they tell me? Continue reading this entry »

Career Transition, Cover Letters

Three job seekers (just in the past two days) have complained to me about their experiences with other resume writers:

“This resume doesn’t say anything about me.”
“They left out the most important part.”
“They just didn’t get me.”

The common thread? Each of these three people paid $150 or less for their resume. They went the inexpensive route, a seemingly smart maneuver when money’s tight. Continue reading this entry »

Networking, Resumes

In Sept. 2008, I had the privilege of attending an HR panel who took the time to share what they wanted to see (and did not want to see) on a job candidate’s resume. Here’s what they had to say: Continue reading this entry »

Career Transition, Resumes, Uncategorized

I’m getting tons of clients coming to me with this very question.

The key is recognizing and remembering that your work experience can play a *supportive* role as well as a leadership role with organizations. The two need not be mutually exclusive.

If you’re over 50, you’ve probably had the experience of being labeled as overqualified. And in response to this unwanted job-search slur Continue reading this entry »

Interviewing, Mature Workers, Resumes