ROCK YOUR RESUME w/ Katharine Underwood, Fortune 50 Recruiter

Learn how to create and maintain a stand-out resume from Katharine Underwood, a Fortune 50 company Manager of Employment and University Relations.

ROCK YOUR RESUME w/ Katharine Underwood, Fortune 50 Recruiter

Sep 15, 2019 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

“Ultimately, your resume is a personal document and it needs to feel authentic to you because it’s how you are presented to the professional world.” – Katharine Underwood

Let’s face it…searching for a job feels just plain awful most times. Doesn’t it?

It can feel so awful in fact that we’ll stay at our current mediocre jobs just to avoid it.

It’s scary to step out of the familiar territory of our current job (or to search for a job while dealing with the emotions of being forced out of a previous job).

Our jobs mean so much to us. We spend so much time with our co-workers and invest so much in our employers. The income we gain from our work is something we rely on for our families to survive and thrive.

The stability our jobs seemingly provide along with the discomfort of the job search is what is keeping a lot of women stuck in mediocre positions.

But, what if searching for a job could feel easier?

What if when you hit submit button on a job application you knew that your resume represented you in a strong and authentic way so much so that if you didn’t get an interview you knew it was because the job wasn’t a good fit vs. questioning if you did enough on your resume to represent yourself in the best way?

Imagine what could open up for you if you “rocked your resume” by creating a compelling and persuasive document.

You’d likely be applying for more jobs because you felt confident in what you were presenting…and because of that confidence and number of applications you’d like be getting more interviews….which means you’ll probably get more job offers….and more job offers means your opportunity for growth just expanded in a whole new, big way.

And to think….it all began with that one little document – your resume.

Having a strong resume is the key that can open the doors to what’s possible for you in the job market.

This is why I brought my friend, former client and POWERHOUSE recruitment manager Katharine Underwood on the “Become an Unstoppable Woman” podcast this week. I wanted her to teach you how to rock your resume so you can stand out from the crowd in a powerful and authentic way.

Katharine knows her stuff when it comes to resumes. She’s seen tens of thousands of them at this point in her career and hired over a THOUSAND people.

(Fun facts: Katharine used to work for Walt Disney where she interviewed students to work at Disney World! She’s now the Manager of Recruitment & College Relations for a Fortune 50 company.)

Katharine’s straight-forward, action-oriented tips will give you the clarity you need to create (or update) your resume even if you aren’t currently looking for a job.


  • Why it’s important to rock your resume
  • How a resume serves as your professional foundation
  • Why it’s important to have an updated resume at all times and how often to update it
  • What things you should and shouldn’t put on your resume to “rock your resume”
  • How to tailor your resume to tell a powerful story to a recruiter
  • Why quantifiable data is important to include on your resume and how to maximize that data  
  • The impact of lying or over-embellishing on your resume 
  • How many pages your resume should be
  • Things that should naturally fall off your resume as you grow
  • What to put on your resume when you have little experience (including what recent college grads should do)
  • What to do if you have a gap in your resume
  • How to find out who could be recruiting for the job on LinkedIn and what to say to that recruiter
  • The power of networking AND having a strong resume 
  • Why it’s important to apply for a job even if you aren’t completely qualified 
  • Where to put your most important parts of your resume and how to draw extra attention to them

Be sure to listen to the ROCK YOUR RESUME interview in the player at the top of this page.


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Katharine Underwod on LinkedIn

Full Transcript:


This is the Become an Unstoppable Woman podcast with Lindsay Preston Episode 17, Rock Your Resume.


Welcome to the Become an Unstoppable Woman podcast, the show for goal-getting, fear-facing women for kicking ass by creating change. I’m your host, Lindsay Preston. I’m a wife, mom of two, and a multi-certified life coach to women all over the world. I’ve lived through enough in life to know that easier doesn’t always equate to better. We can’t fear the fire, we must learn to become it. On this show, I’ll teach you how to do just that. Join me as I challenge you to become even more of the strong, resilient, and powerful woman you were meant to be. Let’s do this.


Hi, friends. Welcome to the Become an Unstoppable Woman podcast. I’m so glad you’re here. Today’s episode is jam-packed with information all about how to create a standout resume. I have a special guest on today who I actually went to high school with. We were on our dance team together in high school. Then after we graduated, we kept in touch here and there with different college events and things of that sort. We went to different colleges but then we grew apart.

Then when I started coaching, I randomly put on my Facebook page one day that I was running a free challenge and I opened the opportunity up to my Facebook friends to come and join me if they wanted to try out one of my new courses, which is now the life leverage 21-day challenge course. My friend Katharine jumped on it. From there, I ended up teaching her in that program, as I said, she was one of my beta testers for that program. Then, she ended up going through my becoming a support a woman program and my become authentically awesome program. She was in the first group of both of those or all of those programs.

It was such a joy to reconnect with her in a very deep and meaningful way with coaching. She was already living an amazing life. She just was really interested in what I was doing and learning more and getting even better which just shows that even if you have a great life, learning these techniques and strategies can make your life even better. From that, we’ve kept in contact and we see each other when we’re in town.

It’s just been so fun to work with her. Recently, I’ve had a lot of clients who need some resume help. A lot of times when people come to work with me, they’re out of pivot or just a huge transition in their careers. With that, they need to update their resume. The first person I thought of was Katharine. Katharine has hired, get this, over a thousand people in her career. She is a recruitment manager for a Fortune 50 company. Previously, she worked for Disney and she helped do college recruiting for Disney World.

How amazing is that, right? Katharine knows her stuff when it comes to seeing resumes. She’s seen thousands upon thousands of resumes. Our interview today is incredible. You’re going to walk away with so much information to allow your resume to be an authentic expression of who you are, to allow you to stand out and confidently go after the jobs that you want to.

This interview was so much mandatory about Katharine just because I think we’ve known each other for so long. It’s so comfortable to talk to her about these things. She has such a passion for it and just as full of so much information. I hope you enjoy this interview with Katharine today. I know that I did and I hope you get a lot out of it. Without further ado, here’s my interview with Katharine Underwood.

Katharine, thank you so much for coming on the Become an Unstoppable Woman podcast today. I have told listeners all about you in the intro and I can’t wait to talk about rocking your resume today.

Katharine: Thanks. I’m excited to be here as well. I’m excited to talk to you.

Lindsay: Okay. Let’s go first. I always want to know the why behind things. Why is it important to have a strong resume? Is it something that’s still looked at? Is it still something that’s important in the job market?

Katharine: Absolutely. Think of your resume as your professional foundation. You might have things that compliment your resume, maybe you have a LinkedIn profile, maybe you have a website where you showcase things like videos or photography or creative designs that you might be involved with, but we always go back to your resume is your professional foundation. It’s still the document that is used for that transaction between a recruiter and a potential candidate when you’re searching for a job.

Definitely, having a resume is going to be important when you are in a job search or otherwise. I mean, oftentimes jobs fall into your lap, you talk to somebody who knows somebody who refers you to somebody and those are the times when you want to make sure that you already have your resume prepared. Things can move really, really fast in the recruiting world. If you are being contacted by somebody and need to submit a resume within a day or two, that’s not the time that you want to think, “I need to update my resume.” You want to already have a really solid resume at that point.

Lindsay: Katharine, how often would you recommend updating it?

Katharine: I would say once or twice a year. I always like to think about it either at the end of the year or the beginning of the year. That’s when a lot of people are assessing their career, they’re thinking about potentially changing jobs. At the end of the year, you can reflect back on what you did and what were the accomplishments that you had that year and what were some of the successes in your role. It’s always a good point maybe around the end of the year, start of the new year to dust it off and then always mid-year as well. You’ve maybe the hit some goals in your job, there could be things that you want to make sure you’ve added to your resume at that point. Think of it as one to two times a year is a good rule of thumb.

Lindsay: Awesome. What are the things that we should be putting on our resume?

Katharine: I love this question. I feel like recruiters get asked all the time. How can my resume stand out or what should I be including? There’s always this idea that resumes go into these black holes and recruiters are never looking at resumes which is not true. Recruiters are constantly looking at resumes. A couple of things that you can do to make sure that your resume is powerful and that it stands out, you want to make sure that you are tailoring your resume, always, always back to the job in which you are applying.

I will see candidates come through with their resumes and there’s a really hard time for me to make the connection with this candidates experience and the job that I’m recruiting for. If you are a job seeker, you’re somebody that is actively applying for jobs. It’s your role to make the connection for the recruiter. If I’m a recruiter and I’m having to connect the dots and read between the lines and make assumptions of like, “How does this resume fit this job,” the truth of the matter is a recruiter is probably going to move on to another more competitive candidate.

You want to tailor your resume to the job in which you are applying. How do we do that? In its most basic form, just take the job description whether you do it on your computer or you print it and just get a highlighter, take that job description and start highlighting the bullet points from that job description that are jumping out at you. Most job descriptions are going to have the most important job duties at the top. Then as you get further down the list, generally those things are still important but not as important as the first bulleted points of the job description.

Just take your highlighter and start highlighting those key phrases, those key attributes that that job is looking for. Then quite simply, take your resume and start to incorporate some of those words or those attributes into your own personal resume. That is going to help the recruiters start to understand your story, understand your background experiences and try to make the connection between your resume and your profile and the job and the requirements which they’re looking for to fill that role. That’s always step number 1 is make your resume really powerful by connecting the job duties and what you see in the job posting connecting that with what you have there on your resume.

Second thing that I always recommend is you want to make sure that you add what I call the meat and the potatoes to your resume which I know sounds silly. If you think about it, you don’t want appetizers, you don’t want dessert, you want the meat and the potatoes that are going to fill you up. When you’re thinking about what your resume is going to contain, the words that you’re putting on your resume, you want to really make sure that you’ve got quantifiable bullet points and other parts of your resume, that speak to what you did in that role and what was the impact that you had on that team or within that role.

It’s really important to be including numbers, be including metrics, be including results and outcomes in your bullet points. If you think about a resume, typically it’s one to two pages. It’s not a lot of room to try to tell sometimes your whole story about who you are. If you have little room and you need to make a big impact, every single line item that you have on there, your bullet points are really going to matter.

You want to maximize them, you want to add numbers, and you really want to show the impact that you had in the role, and whether it’s your current role, or maybe it was a role that you had in the past. Those two things are what I generally start with, tailoring your resume, and then having a really impactful resume profile with quantifiable numbers in your bullet points.

Lindsay: Wow. Those are great tips. I feel like you could just leave the podcast right there-


Lindsay: -and get what you need out of that, but I have so many other questions, Katharine. Okay?

Katharine: Well, and it’s common sense. I feel like when I talk about resumes and I talk about this, a lot of people are like, oh, yes, I get that look at the job posting and tailor it to your resume. I know that it’s common sense, but Lindsay, I tell you this because people don’t do it. They’re busy, they don’t have the time or the knowledge or the skills to sit down and do this. They submit a resume that maybe doesn’t present their professional experience in the way that they’d like it to be presented. That has an impact on the recruiter who’s reviewing your resume and you want to be as competitive and you want to be the right fit candidate for that job.

Lindsay: Okay. First question for you. What if you’ve had a job where you don’t really have the numbers of anything that you’ve created? If you’re in sales, you can pull those numbers. What if it’s just like a customer service job, an admin job? What can you pull there?

Katharine: I have to challenge and say, you can always pull something. If I think about customer service, let’s say that you were working in a retail capacity, you can definitely probably say interacted with and engaged with customers. Now, was that two, or was that 200 per day? That’s a huge difference, and so you want to start to show the recruiter the impact that you had in that role.

Think about if you don’t have those quantifiable, “I increased revenues,” or, “I did this or that,” you still did something, your actions had meaning. You were engaging with people, you were doing transactions on a cash register. You were doing something that you can put a number to it. I would always tell people to think through what your job duties were and what a typical day looked like and then try to put some numbers around that.

Lindsay: That was a great example, right there. Was it two customers a day or 200? That would make a huge difference if you’re a recruiter.

Katharine: Exactly.

Lindsay: Wow, they’re doing all these customers all day long. Really going back and saying, what can I find data-wise that will make me look impressive, is that what I’m hearing?

Katharine: Exactly. This is the point in which I also want to remind people, you never want to lie or over embellish on your resume. We do find situations where people will flat out lie about degrees that they obtained. They will lie about places of employment. A lot of companies are doing background checks. They are confirming your education is accurate and true. When we find out that candidates have lied about that information, generally we will pull that offer, and we will rescind that offer because they have falsified their information.

Lindsay: I remember one of the jobs I worked at, we did something, and Katharine, you probably remember it more, but something where we were able to track down their college degrees, is that something that you guys do too?

Katharine: We do. Where I currently work, some of our jobs require a degree for that particular role. We have to ensure that the degree that this candidate is stating that they have obtained is truly a degree that they have obtained. We work with folks who are verifying through the school systems and education, they’re verifying that all of that is accurate and true.

Lindsay: Yes, bottom line, don’t lie.

Katharine: Don’t lie. [laughs]

Lindsay: Don’t lie.

Katharine: It’s never good. Don’t lie.

Lindsay: Don’t lie.

Lindsay: Let’s go back to the resumes for an example. I know back in the day when I was applying for jobs a lot, right out of college, especially it was, keep it to one page, but I know with more experience, you can do one to two pages. What’s your thoughts on that?

Katharine: Yes. I love this question too because I have seen 10-page resumes and that is definitely too long. It’s really going to depend on your experience. I think if you have less than 10 years of professional work experience, one page is probably just fine. If it needs to spill over into the second page, I think just be mindful of what that additional information, what value that additional information is going to contain. There’s going to be certain things over the years that probably need to naturally just fall off of your resume. For example, if you have gone to pursue your associate’s or bachelor’s degree or higher, and you’ve obtained those degrees, then you probably want to remove your high school information.

That’s no longer necessary since you’ve done secondary education. Also, some jobs that you might’ve had whether you were in school or kind of earlier jobs in your career where you’re talking about, maybe it was in retail or that customer service role, as you gain more experience in your career, those are probably jobs again, that are just going to naturally fall off your resume because you want to focus on other parts of your experience that maybe are a little bit more relevant. I think if you’re just coming out of school, if you’ve got 0 to 10 years of experience, a one-page resume is going to be perfect. For those folks that have more experiences, I think it’s definitely fine to spill over into two pages.

Lindsay: Awesome. Let’s talk for a minute then about right out of college or just entry-level years. What would you consider what like first three, four years working-wise?

Katharine: Entry-level is probably those first two, three years in a role that you might be straight out of college, maybe it’s a role that you needed to pursue a degree for, or it’s that kind of job. I consider that entry-level.

Lindsay: With those, I remember that was the hardest time to do a resume because I didn’t have that much experience other than working at the restaurant and those customer-service type jobs. What can those people put on their resumes?

Katharine: For individuals that have pursued school, and now they are out of school, they’ve gotten their degree and they’re ready to get the job market, you’re right, you feel like, well, it’s a catch-22. “I don’t have the experience to get the experience, but I need to experience to get the experience.” It’s just this cycle. What I always tell people is focus on what you’ve done in school. What classes have you taken that were really meaningful to you? What major projects did you participate in? You always want to make sure that you’re talking about the work that you did individually. If it was a group project, focus on the roles and the tasks that you had personally, and focus less on as a team, we did this.

Well, the recruiter is going to want to know what specifically did you do? What was your role on that team? You can definitely focus on classes you took and projects that you participated in, but don’t forget about some of those more well-rounded experiences as well. You might’ve had a working experience while in college, and that shows great work ethic, it shows time management.

Don’t feel like you can’t put some of those part-time jobs on there as well, but thinking about things that maybe you’ve done in your community or even in a leadership position within an organization there on campus. Did you lead an event? Did you fundraise while you were there? Think of those things, maybe it wasn’t “a professional job” but you were learning professional skills and you can take those skills and you can translate them into that professional world and into those jobs that you were trying to apply for.

Lindsay: Yes. That’s great advice. On that next question I have, what if you have a gap in your resume as a lot of women do because they take some time off to have a child, how do you encounter that?

Katharine: This is where I think it’s important to talk about the two different styles of resumes. The first style of resume is called a chronological resume. That typically is what I see most of the time. A chronological resume is exactly what it sounds like. You are going to list your work experiences, your education, your accomplishments in chronological order, starting from the most recent at the top. I would guess that most people, most of your listeners probably do have a chronological resume. It’s typically what is taught in the school system.

Our career center is going to teach a chronological resume style, but there is a second style of resume called a functional resume. A functional resume will focus on skillsets, on competencies, on accomplishments, and it’s presented in a way that it’s not focused on the job titles or the length of time that you were in a job, and it’s more so focused around the skill sets that you have.

For women who have maybe been in the workforce have left the workforce and are ready to jump back into the workforce, I think a functional resume is a really good option for you, because you’re focused less on maybe that gap of employment, you’re focused less on, “I was away from the workforce for a certain number of time or years.” You’re more so focused on somebody’s skill set on the projects they were involved with, on what they really bring to the table. It doesn’t really matter as much about, “Well, what job are you in and how long were you there?” You’re saying, “I’m presenting my skills to you, and I’m presenting what I can bring to the table,” essentially.

Lindsay: Yes, that’s great. I do have a question, though. I know and I hear this a lot, before or when you’re applying for a job and you’re filling out through maybe the company’s system and they will ask for dates. Some of those systems, I know, will just flush people out if there’s a big gap or other things. What do you say there, Katharine, to those people and with those systems?

Katharine: Again, be truthful, be honest, that’s the time to put the accurate dates in there. If you feel like, “Oh, my gosh, it’s going to automatically take me out of consideration, maybe there’s an opportunity to connect with a recruiter or somebody at that company, through LinkedIn, or other networks that you might have and maybe there’s an opportunity for you to try and tell your story in a more personal way to try and get across to that recruiter, “Hey, yes, I do have this gap in my experience, but I’m ready to be in the workforce and here’s the skill set that I bring. Here’s why I feel like my resume and my experience is a match for this role.”

It’s really hard to say, our applicant tracking system at the place where I work doesn’t do that. We’re looking at every single resume application that comes through. I can’t speak to systems that other companies might use but if you do feel like that is happening, then maybe there’s a way to make a connection with somebody at that company, you can try to have a conversation over email or the phone or LinkedIn, whichever way you can get in touch with them.

Interviewer: That’s genius.


That’s like a mic drop moment. Okay. What would be the easiest way– you mentioned LinkedIn, but how could you figure out who could be recruiting for that job?

Katharine: It’s a little bit trickier. To nail down, the actual recruiter might be a little bit harder. I think your best bet is to try to make a connection with somebody within that company. Maybe it’s not the person in HR, but generally, people at the company, if you can reach out to enough people, somebody is going to know somebody in HR, that’s going to know somebody in the recruiting department. You can approach people professionally on LinkedIn and just explain to them, “I see that you work at X company, I’m interested in connecting with you, I recently applied for a job there. Do you know anybody in recruiting that you could connect me with. I’m really interested in this opportunity, and here’s the reason why.” It’s a simple way to make an introduction to somebody.

Interviewer: Yes. Once again, it shows the power of networking, right?

Katharine: Exactly.

Interviewer: Let me ask this, Katharine. In the entrepreneurial space, it’s obviously a big deal for us to network, not only to find clients and all that stuff but just to build people who may help us market. In the workforce, it’s just as important to market it sounds like to, in essence, maybe get ahead for job opportunities. With that said, is it or do people really have an upper hand if someone is recommending them versus just going through a system?

Katharine: Gosh, that’s a hard question. Honestly, I think it really truly is going to depend on the company and on that person. I hate to say that it depends, but it really truly might depend. There is power in networking and there’s power in knowing as a candidate, what you’re looking for, and articulating that to somebody, whether it’s a stranger, or whether it’s a close friend that you have at that company. I just believe in the power of networking. I think that if you do it in the right way and you approach people from, “Hey, I’m asking for your help or assistance,” and less from the angle of, “You need to do this for me,” or, “You need to get this for me,” angle. If it’s done in the right way, I feel like oftentimes, people want to help other people.

Sometimes that can have an impact, that can open a door, that can open a conversation and maybe it doesn’t lead to exactly what you want at that point in time but like you said, in the business world, sometimes those connections and those conversations that you have might pay off in the long run. Maybe it’s six months later, and maybe it’s a year later. We hear that often where somebody wasn’t a right fit for this role but a year later, were like, “Oh, my gosh, we’ve got this great opportunity, remember that one person?” You have to just have that persistence and that professional persistence, but networking is going to pay off in the long run.

Interviewer: Yes, I completely agree. Okay, so let me tell you something else, I hear a lot, Katharine.

Katharine: Okay.

Interviewer: That is from women who have gone out, they apply for a lot of jobs, maybe they’re in transition, and some of them are still, honestly, I would even consider it trauma almost of when they graduated college, like back in 2006, 2007 and you remember the market then crashed.

Katharine: Exactly.

Interviewer: Then they’re all still fearful and they’re having to go out and find maybe a new job or whatever. They take it very personally when they don’t get interviews. What is the norm for how many jobs should you apply for with your resume before you think, “Is it something wrong with my resume?”

Katharine: Yes, a couple of different things here that I want to touch on because I get asked a lot of times about the job qualifications. I think a lot of early-career professionals, I don’t know if they’re just doubting themselves, or if they’ve just been conditioned to think this way, but I hear a lot of like, “Well, I’m not qualified for that job. I’m just not even going to apply.” I always tell people to apply to the job. [chuckles] You never know what’s going on behind the scenes. You could apply for that job and maybe they end up changing the requirements or lowering or bringing the position up to different level.

There’s so many different things that can happen based on when you apply to a job, or like I mentioned earlier, maybe you’re not as fit for that job, but the recruiter who’s reviewing your resume thinks, “Oh, my gosh, this person would be a great fit for this job, it’s not yet posted that I know it’s coming and I would love for them to explore that job.” I always, always, always tell people, don’t limit yourself in applying for jobs. Even if you think I’m not qualified, you should apply for the job anyways, because you never ever know what’s going on in the back end. Always apply for the job.

Again, tailor your resume and try to make the connection for the recruiter as to why you’re a good fit for that job. If you are applying and applying and applying and applying, and you are just not getting anywhere, I totally get that and it feels very defeating. We put a lot of emotion into our job and our work and our role and there’s a lot of feelings associated with that. You spend a lot of time at work and with these coworkers and so when you feel like you have found that perfect job online, there’s a lot of emotion connected to it. I totally appreciate that.

If you feel like something is not going right, because I’m applying and I’m just not getting anywhere, then I think, first things first, taking a hard look at your resume and figuring out what is going on. Whether you’re not tailoring it just right or maybe you need a career coach or somebody to take a look at it or even just somebody in your network, it can be a family member, it can be a friend, it can be an acquaintance or connection, just to ask somebody, “Hey, can you take a look at my resume? I’m just not getting any hits. I’m not getting any calls from recruiters. I’m getting no interviews, I don’t know what’s going on, can you just take a look at my resume?”

As a recruiter, I get that question a lot from family members and from friends, and of course, I love doing that but it doesn’t have to be a recruiter, it can be anybody in your network that you trust. I always tell people, your resume is very personal. When you do ask for guidance or review of your resume, take people’s opinions or people’s suggestions with a grain of salt, some things might work, some things might feel really good to you like, “Oh, wow, that was a good suggestion, I need to do that.” Other things may not feel good to you.

Ultimately, your resume is a personal document and it needs to feel authentic to you because it’s how you are presented to the professional world. People are helping you out with advice, just take it with a grain of salt, there might be some things that you want to change. There might be other things that you feel like, “You know what? This feels true to me, and I don’t want to change it.” Just keep that in mind.

Interviewer: Yes, with that said, Katharine, I see all these different styles of resumes out there now, on Fiverr, even you can go and have it all professionally designed, some people will have pictures. I even read an article recently with like, they’re turning into almost like a dating profile, it looks like.

Katharine: Oh my gosh. [chuckles]

Interviewer: Tell me, what should we have on there and what should we not? Now you mentioned the data and having that great data, but what are some other things that it’s like, “No way, absolutely keep those other things.”

Katharine: Okay, I’m a firm believer that you should not have your picture on your resume. I know your picture is out on LinkedIn and recruiters are probably going to be seeing you on LinkedIn but on your resume, I’m like, just leave it off. Leave off your picture. I’ve seen birthdays on there. I’ve seen marital status on there. I’m like, don’t put any of that on your resume. We don’t need to know that [chuckles] right now.

There’s lots of resources out there. There are a lot of templates out there. If you just Google resumes, my goodness, you will get a thousand images of people’s resumes. A couple of things that come to mind, if you want to use a template, I think that’s perfectly fine. It might be the point that you need to start. If you don’t have the document right now, you might want to start with a template, but just be careful because sometimes templates can feel a little– you can tell that it’s a template, essentially. You can tell that somebody was just typing in a box and formulating this very structured resume.

If you’re going to use a template, try to make it as personal as possible. If people are cutting and pasting from other documents, I’ve even seen people with appears that they cut and pasted from like an old job description and that’s what they’re using for their bulleted points, just know that those things, you need to look over them and really tailor them because a recruiter can spot that pretty easily.

The other thing is just being mindful of the fonts that you’re using, the sizing, making sure it’s all consistent and correct. If you want to use colors, I haven’t seen that here lately. Some people have added some color to their resume. I think it’s just knowing the audience and knowing the company that you’re applying to. If you’re applying to a fun, creative company culture that just seems like it would be appropriate, then definitely think about how can you add some color, how can you make your resume stand out with different bullet points or shapes or things like that. I’ve seen that a lot for a lot of creative type of roles, graphic designer, obviously, videographer, things like that.

That’s what I think are the basic dos and don’ts when it comes to the actual document. If you are going to have multiple pages, let’s say that it does spill over to a second page, I always think it’s helpful on your first page to say one of two and then your second page to say two of two, because if your pages get separated, then they know that they belong together and you can put your name on the top of the second page as well.

Lindsay: That so smart. I’m just going through my head. Katharine, have you seen anything that’s come through your door or your email box, whatever you want to call it, where you’re like, “Oh my goodness, people do not do that.”

Katharine: Sometimes people write paragraphs, plural of information. It’s almost like they’re writing a novel and really, your resume should be a very high-level summary of your work experiences because your resume is your ticket to the film conversation, which is then your ticket to most likely an interview. if you’re spilling your whole life story in your resume, it might feel a little overwhelming. I’ve seen that sometimes. I literally have seen a 10-page resume and it was like a novel. They were just writing a story for every single one of their jobs.

Again, a recruiter has very limited time. If your resume is not competitive, they’re going to move on to the next candidate. You want to be concise. You want to be results-focused. You want to have details in there, you want to have it tailored. Recruiters going to skim it and look at some of those high level, even if you want to bold or underline a couple of your items that draws your eye into those areas of your resume.

Obviously put the most important parts towards the top of your resume because the recruiter is going to start at the top and make their way down to the bottom. You want to make sure they make it all the way down to the bottom and you keep their interest. Don’t put the most important things way down the bottom. They may not make it that far, but those are some of the foundational concepts that come to mind when I think about just the structure of a resume.

Lindsay: I love that tip too, of keeping their interest.

Katharine: That’s the honest truth, and I know it’s hard to hear because people spend a lot of time on these documents. They spend a lot of time applying, but right now, it’s so competitive in the job market and a recruiter has limited time. They might be scanning your resume for 20, 30 seconds and they’re trying to determine is this somebody that I want to continue looking at the resume, continue to speak with, or is it somebody that’s not a fit right now?

Lindsay: Katharine, there’s something I want to go back to that we talked about a bit ago and that was applying for jobs, just apply. I saw a stat and I’ll put it in the show notes. I don’t remember where it comes from, but something along the lines of women are only applying for jobs when they feel like they have a 100% of the qualifications where men are applying when they have around 70%. Have you heard of that stat too?

Katharine: I’ve heard something similar and I agree. That’s why I mentioned earlier, when I talk to especially women a lot of times, it’s like, “Well, I just don’t think I qualify for that,” or, “I don’t have this one–” Really particular skill set that they mentioned, you have all these other ones, but I don’t have this one and the job posting. I just want to just shake them and say, just apply anyways. You never know what’s going to happen. You never know what that recruiter and hiring manager on the backend are going to see in your resume, what they’re going to like in your resume.

There really is no harm and very low risk to applying for a job that maybe you think you’re not qualified for. The worst that can happen is that you’re going to say, “Okay, I got a rejection letter and I’m not being considered for that role. That’s the worst. There’s little risk and just go ahead and submit your resume. Whether you think you’re a good fit or not, you’re never going to know unless you apply. You might as well just do it.

Lindsay: From what I’ve heard with women that I’ve spoken to with clients and such, they get so worried about that rejection. That’s where I just want to put in there. That means you’ve got some self-work to do and some self-love to do because it’s not personal. Right, Katharine? It’s just business.

Katharine: It’s business, right. Every company out there is trying to find the most talented individual for the role in which they’re hiring. They are looking for that right fit candidate. If you weren’t selected for that role, you weren’t the right fit for that role. When you’re applying for these jobs, maybe you want to feel like, “I’m confident in my abilities. I know that this is the right fit for me, but ultimately, it may not be,” and that’s okay, because that probably means that there’s something else in their horizon that’s going to be a better fit for you.

Lindsay: That’s where you have to trust the universe. [crosstalk] coming. Okay, Katharine, I want to wrap it up. Last question I have for you, I think is what are some of the best resumes you’ve seen and why? I know you’ve touched on those points, but just recap it for us, then this is a great resume.

Katharine: In my mind, the best resumes are going to be tailored to the job description. When the recruiter is reviewing that resume, it’s just clicking. It’s just connecting. Like they got that. They got that. They’re just going through and it feels so natural, because what you’ve done is you’ve taken the job posting and you’ve worked that into your resume. The best resumes are going to be those that are tailored, those that have powerful statements around the role that they did, quantifiable numbers.

They are going to show results and the impact that you had in that role for whatever job that you were doing and it’s going to be concise. You’re putting it all together in this great package with a pretty bow. You’re just shouting out to the world like, “Hey, this is who I am. This is what I’m looking for. Here’s why I’m going to be a great addition to your team.”

Lindsay: Perfect. I just want to touch on there. A lot of times, what I hear that holds women back is not the skills because they’ve shown that women actually are more qualified than men a lot of times in their roles, but it’s the competence piece.

Katharine: Exactly.

Lindsay: Putting yourself out there and knowing if you get rejected, it’s not personal. Keep going and bragging on yourself, showing you can do this.

Katharine: I know. I tell people, I’m like, I know this might feel uncomfortable, but trust me, your resume in an interview is like the one time that you really need to be tooting your own horn and bragging on yourself. That’s the time to really sell your experience, your depth of knowledge, your skill set, whatever it is, that’s the time to really bring it to the table and to speak in terms of your role and what you did and what you were responsible for and the results of the impacts that you’ve had.

Because when you go in with confidence and you can articulate all of that, it’s just powerful. Again, it’s common sense, but so many people can’t do that and they’re not prepared to do that. If you go in and you can rock it, it’s going to set you apart from the other candidates.

Lindsay: If you’re having trouble with that, that’s where you need to do again, some inner work. All right, Ms. Katharine, tell us where everyone can find you.

Katharine: Yes. you can follow me and connect with me on LinkedIn. I am Katherine Underwood. I believe I’m the only Katherine that spells her name K-A-T-H-A-R-I-N-E. Last name Underwood. Connect with me on LinkedIn. I’d love to hear any questions or anything that you might have messaged me and we can connect online.

Lindsay: Katharine, thank you so much for doing this. I said in my email earlier this week that I’m used to having you as a friend and then a client and now as a podcast guest. I’m just the luckiest girl in the world. Thank you for doing this.

Katharine: It is definitely mutual. I’m so excited to get to share this with you and with your audience. I appreciate the time here, I really do.

Lindsay: Well, we need to be thanking you. You gave us some major greatness. If you all have any questions, please go find Katharine on LinkedIn. She is more than willing to help you out and make sure you can go rock your resume.

All right, my friend, that is all I have for this week’s episode. Did you hear a little doggy in the background? That was Katharine’s dog, Abby, who was making a very brief appearance. I tried to edit it out as best I could, but there it was. I hope you still enjoyed it regardless.

Next time on the podcast, I’m going to be talking about confidence and how you can build your confidence because I am finding, as we talked about on this episode today, that so many women are holding themselves back because they don’t feel like they have the confidence to go after what they want and I’m over it. I’m over it in myself, too. We’re going to be talking through this together on the next episode. Join me, it’ll be live on October 1st– Can you believe it’s almost October? 2019.

Last reminder, I always say this but yet, I see the download numbers, I don’t see the numbers changing as much for those that leave a review. If you are listening to the show and you have not left a review, please go to that. Otherwise, it just seems like a lot of times I’m putting this out into the world and I’m getting no feedback. I would really appreciate if you go, especially on Apple Podcast and leave a five-star review and tell me a bit about what you love about the show. Honestly, those reviews mean so much to me and it only takes a few minutes to go do it. So please, please go leave a review. It would mean the world.

All right. That’s it for today. My little line, I got to leave you with and that is you’re only as unstoppable as you believe you can be, so believe in yourself. You got this.

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  1. Best of Moments From "Become an Unstoppable Woman" podcast - […] Episode 17 ROCK YOUR RESUME w/ Fortune 50 Recruiter, Katharine Underwood.  […]

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Hi! I'm Lindsay

Hi! I’m Lindsay Elizabeth Preston. I’m a certified & trauma-informed life & leadership coach who has spent the last decade helping successful women create lives that feel as good on the inside as they look on the outside by using my neuroscience-backed coaching process called, Awakened Woman.

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