Archive for May, 2012

What Not to Say Part I

We recently posted an internship opportunity at ACG. Specifically we included in the job description that the candidate must be able to meet very tight deadlines, a reasonable request given that many of our projects are extraordinarily time sensitive and require late evening / early morning work as well as weekend effort. One candidate we interviewed spent 5 minutes talking about how important it was for him to have a good balance between family and work. He boasted how much time he spent with his wife and his weekend activities that included piloting planes and many outdoor activities. Although I commend his honesty, he did not score high on intuition and street smarts. He simply should not have applied for this specific job. Not only that, no company wants to hire somebody who does not have a “bring it on, do whatever it takes” attitude. I give 3 to 1 odds that this person will be unemployed this time next year!

Resume Tip: Eliminate Job Objective

I am always amazed to read “Objectives” on a resume. Isn’t your objective to get a job? You need not articulate that on your resume. Instead, use the “white space” as sparingly as possible, focusing on what distinguishes you as a candidate. One great rule of thumb: if somebody much more junior than you could perform the function that you outline in your most recent job then don’t include it on your resume. Items such as “attended meetings”, “assisted staff in putting together marketing packages” and “made phone calls to relevant parties” sounds more like a receptionist than a real estate professional. Also, don’t add your high school or summer camp counselor jobs to your resume. If that is the extent of your job experience then you might want to consider rehearsing “would you like fries with that” instead of applying for a position in the real estate industry.

If You Aren’t #1, Expect a #2 Response

Do you remember who won the silver medal in any of Michael Phelps swim competitions? Nobody remembers the person who came in second place because nobody cares. Therefore, you should never communicate anything other than a first place finish on your resume. I can’t tell you how many times I have read resumes that states items such as “came in second place in the school real estate competition” or “finished in the top five in my graduating class.” If you came in second place, I would like to interview and hire the person who came in first place, no? The same idea applies to adding GPAs on your resume. Unless you had a 3.7 or better, don’t include your GPA. I had one candidate write that his “major” GPA was 3.1 but she excluded her overall GPA. Boasting about a B average (her overall GPA was a 2.4 by the way) is not all that impressive, although my dad used to tell me that 50% of the graduating class at Harvard graduates in the bottom half of their class!

Help – I Am Overqualified!

A few months ago I sent out an email to fill a controller position for a small family-owned real estate company. I was quite surprised that within 72 hours more than 50 applicants sent me resumes including 14 former CFOs. Given how bad the market is today, many candidates are overqualified for the position for which they are applying. It is essential that you downplay why you are overqualified. The interviewer does not want to feel threatened that you want her job. Emphasize things like “you are hands-on” and “you have strong computer skills” in order to downplay that a former $500,000-a-year CFO is applying for an $85,000 controller position.

Dress For Success

If you have a scheduled interview or an appointment with somebody that might assist you with landing a job, always dress like a million bucks. It doesn’t make a difference if it is casual Friday at the office. Wear your Sunday best…you will surely make a better first impression.

Seeking Philadelphia Analyst

We have an opening with one of our clients based in Philadelphia. This analyst position requires somebody having graduated in 2010 who has excellent Excel skills and an ivy-league type education with great grades. The position pays $65-75K base plus 100% bonus and is with an investment bank-type client. Long hours expected but with great rewards learning from the best in the business. MBAs should not apply. If you are qualified for this position send a resume to

Light on the Perfume Please

Last month I interviewed a candidate who put on so much perfume that I thought that she was interviewing to be a room deodorizer! It was ridiculous and practically made me nauseous. Even had I liked the perfume (which I did not), the smell was so strong that I could hardly concentrate on the interview. Of course this is better than the candidate I interviewed last year who kept passing gas during the interview. You might want to skip on the beans and rice dish before showing up for your interview!

Hand Written Thank You Notes

When you follow up with somebody after a meeting or interview, NEVER use email to thank the person. You will be sorry. In addition to containing embarrassing misspellings and poor grammar, the recipient could easily misinterpret what you wrote. Take the time to write a hand-written thank you note on professional stationary. Very few people do this and it will surely make a fantastic impression!