Interview with Resume Expert Igor Khayet

We recently sat down with Igor Khayet, Founder of MyResumeShop, for a timely chat on the present and future of resumes.

1) So you got your MBA at Yale, no doubt learning about macroeconomics, financial regulatory reform, and other weighty issues of the day – how did you get started studying resumes, professionally?

I have always had an interest in career services. While working for IBM, I was a member of the Undergraduate Recruiting Team. I also serve as an admissions interviewer for Georgetown University and worked for the Yale MBA Admissions Office as an admission interview. The method by which organizations (academic institutions, corporations, and non-profits) select employees and students is fascinating and I have always wondered why people blow off the recruiting process. This is especially true with college students who oftentimes do not realize the intense time-commitment it takes to secure a personally rewarding job. I entered this field to help students achieve success in whatever passion they have.

2) What are some positive trends do you see in resumes?

There are definitely some positive trends happening in the resume industry. It is almost categorically accepted now to leave off recommendations and an objective statement from the resume (both of which waste valuable space). Additionally, employers are beginning to demand proof of "impact" more so than they have before. This should be the overarching goal of resumes: proof that you have positively changed organizations that you have been part of, making them more efficient and effective at providing goods and services. 

3) What are the biggest mistakes people make?

The biggest mistake people making on their resumes is failing to understand how a resume will be used. A resume is a marketing tool or advertisement that sells the employer on wanting to interview you for the position. People make a host of mistakes because they lose sight of the purpose of the resume. They discuss irrelevant work experience, pack the page with useless information, use formatting that highlights the wrong aspects of the resume, and focus too much on what they were "supposed to do" and less on "what they did and what impact it  had.” 


4) When should people put their education first, ahead of experience? And when is it time to put education at the bottom?

The decision on how to order the sections of the resume should be based on what you are applying for and the relevance of your experience. For example, let’s say someone has an MBA from a top-tier school and her experience is mostly in sales but they want to transition into finance. Most resume writers will tell you to always put experience first if you not a current student, but in this case you should put your school first because it will be more impressive than non-relevant experience. In summary, this decision is made on a case-by-case basis. 

5) Is the cover letter on the decline? And if not, how has it evolved considering so many people now apply to jobs online? 

Cover letters can either be your best friend as a recruiter or your worst enemy. Well-written cover letters show passion for the position, explain extenuating circumstances, and sell yourself over other candidates to land the interview. Bad cover letters are generic, poorly-written, and say nothing new that is not already covered in the resume. If you're going to write a cover letter make sure it adds value to your application but also be prepared for the fact that it may never be read. Online recruiting has increased the amount of applicants for each position so in some cases recruiters may require a letter but never actually read it. When sending a cover letter through email always attach it in a separate document (use PDF when you can).

6) How do LinkedIn profiles fit in to the hiring equation? Will they someday replace resumes? Should people writing them expecting a different sort of audience?

LinkedIn has emerged as an important tool in the job search process, helping you organize your contacts and network with people you meet in your personal and professional relationships. Eventually, the resume itself will change dramatically as technological improvements allow individuals to create profiles of themselves that include actual work products (allowing employers to more easily identify talent). LinkedIn profiles are searchable, open to all of your contacts and can include live links to websites, all of which differentiate it from common resumes.

7)  If you could give folks one or two sentences of advice about their resumes what would it be?

The resume is not simply a formality, it is the essence of why some applicants are interviewed and eventually hired over others (the most qualified candidate does not always get the job). Spend considerable time putting yourself in the shoes of the recruiter, understanding what they are looking for in the position, and then crafting a resume targeted toward that goal.