Nadine Cheung Presentation

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  • Every word you use in your resume and cover letter should focus on one thing: explaining to a hiring manager why you are the solution to their crisis of an open position. You should explain how you can excel at every task they need done.
  • When we hear people say they sent out 50 resumes, we shudder. Blanketing hiring managers ’ inboxes will never get you in the door for an interview. Instead, we recommend being strategic and focusing on a much smaller number of jobs that you would be perfect for. And spend as much time as necessary tailoring your cover letter and resume to explaining how your skills can be applied to that job to solve the problem for the manager -- they have an open position.
  • Let’s take a look at an example. Evan Dierlam recently relocated from Texas to New York. Evan had worked as a writer and editor, as a business analyst, and as a production coordinator to produce digital content for magazines. He was qualified for a lot of different jobs. His approach to his resume was this: He created a master resume that listed every job and every skill in detail – it was two and half pages long. Each time he applied for a job, he edited it down into a tidy, focused one-page resume that fit the job.
  • Evan applied for an open position at mediabistro and recently got hired by mediabistro as a web production assistant, where he uses his technical and design skills.
  • Based on the job description, Evan created a single 1-page resume that featured his appropriate skills – and he got the job!
  • Contacts and recruiters sift through many resumes, especially when the open position is posted online or on a job board. Showing a little personality in your cover letter will help you stand out among the rest.
  • He told us that the job allowed him to move to the tech industry, which is one he wanted to be in and that the salary for the job was 50% higher than in his current job. Here ’s the letter that got him in.
  • {Nadine, I ’m thinking that you should first read this out loud from beginning to end -- over three slides -- and then come back to this slide to begin deconstructing.} What did Lorin do right? First off, the letter is addressed to Greg, not Dear Sirs or Hiring Manager. Tone: casual, friendly, authoritative. States in the first and second sentences that he knows the company well. Expresses his deep interest in what the company does: new technology.
  • He continues to prove that he ’s tech savvy (rather than saying I’m tech savvy) by name-dropping MacRumors, Daring Fireball, and Flipboard. He shows that he knows the agency ’s business, which is focused on consumer technology, and he shows how he could help them with it.
  • Here he gives demonstrates his value -- he has connections in New York and at Apple! But he loves Miami, which is where the agency is located. He shows personality by joking about a man-crush on basketball player Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat (though he actually misspelled the name. Should be Dwyane Wade). It didn’t matter because his letter was so good!
  • Being experimental, can also mean playing with your resume design. In this example, Kathleen Heaney landed her dream job as Web Director for Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, a syndicated morning radio show in New York. She said, “I totally reconstructed my "typical" resume for something more eye catching and noteworthy. I knew I needed a change after applying to endles jobs with no reponse. I took a chance with my girly bike graphic, but when asked in the interview "Why a bike?" I simply replied, "Because I'm going places".
  • The job description itself can be the best guide for which words to include. Look at the job description and see what the job requires. Be sure that your materials include those specific skills.
  • Valerie Pearcy used key words in the summary of her resume to encapsulate a 15-year career. She uses them as a sort of general headline to explain who she is: Senior-level director and a specialist in creative leadership. Below that she uses three main search terms: business management, customer operations, and organizational change agent. But she doesn ’t stop there. Below the summary of her experience, she includes a list of 12 terms that describe her special skills. For example, Strategic Planning and Executive Leadership, Customer Experience Development and Management, etc.
  • (read two slides first) She opens by saying, essentially, I have a personal connection to the company and to the people who work there.
  • And with these materials, she landed a big job as the Director of North American Customer Operations for HomeAway, overseeing a team of 200+ people.
  • If you limit the amount of jobs you pursue, you ’ll have time to adequately research the companies. The benefit of knowing the company is that you can alter your tone in your materials to match the company. A small startup will have different expectations than a Fortune 500 corporation and your materials and presentation should match the personality of the company.
  • Tyler Harbaugh graduated in May, and in the weeks before his graduation, he knew he needed to “step up his game” and separate himself from the competition. He had discussed the innovative nature of QR codes in his classes and how popular they’re becoming. For those of you who aren’t familiar, a QR code, or Quick Response code, is a kind of barcode that can be decoded by QR barcode readers, camera phones and sometimes webcams, and reveals or links to text, a website or other data.
  • One day, Tyler saw a QR code on a soda cup, which linked to a website, and soon found others that linked to videos. From there, he got the idea to include a QR code on his resume…
  • … that linked to a 30-second YouTube video pitch of himself. This innovative resume landed the recent grad a coveted internship for The OutCast Agency in San Francisco.
  • It may seem like a no-brainer, but checking your work a few extra times can ensure that your resume and cover letter look polished.
  • I hope you learned a thing or two about how to create a successful resume and cover letter. Thanks so much. We’ve got time to take a few questions….


  • 1. Nuts & Bolts of the Search: Successful Resumes & Cover Letters Deconstructed NADINE CHEUNG @nadinecheung Blogger and Editor of The Job Post Mediabistro Blog Network #careercircus
  • 2. First off, some tips
  • 3. What’ s the goal of the resume?
    • A resume doesn’ t get you a job.
    • If you’ re lucky, it gets you a meeting
  • 4. Think of a single goal
    • Every word used in your resume and cover letter should focus on explaining how you can be a solution for the open position.
  • 5. Tip #1: If you want the job, customize
    • Tailor your resume and cover letter for every single job you pursue
  • 6. Evan created a master resume
  • 7. Job description
  • 8. Evan created a one-page, tailored resume that got him the job!
  • 9. Tip #2: Show them you are human
    • Sometimes that means being experimental
  • 10. Be experimental
    • Mediabistro reader Lorin Munchick recently landed his dream job as Business Development Director at Max Borges Agency, a PR firm in Miami
  • 11. Lorin’ s experimental cover letter
    • Greg,
    • I wanted to reach out and make a connection after doing some cyber stalking and seeing that Max Borges is looking for a Biz Dev pro. After I did some due diligence on what your team is all about, I realize I need to be in that position. I do have a solid job now: good team, industry trend setting products, double-digit growth yearly, but my passion has been, and always will be, new technology.
  • 12.
    • I can't wait to scan my RSS feed from MacRumors and Daring Fireball first thing in the morning or read my Flipboard while grabbing a sandwich at lunch. I want to bring my A game to your group, a skill set of creating relationships and growing business proven across several industries. The singular focus at MBA of consumer technology is a truly unique selling proposition, one that I would love to champion.
  • 13.
    • Having experience both at national level agencies in NYC and with Apple gives me a great foundation to help grow your business. Enjoying the South Florida lifestyle and having a healthy man-crush on Dwayne Wade, there's no place else I want to be more than Miami.
    • I've attached a top line resume to this email, and hope to get together soon to discuss the possibilities of working together in the future.
    • All the best, Lorin
  • 14.  
  • 15. Tip #3 Balance being human with being aware of keywords
    • Many companies use resume-scanning software that searches for keywords
    • Even those that don’ t use scanners often have humans who scan resumes for key phrases.
  • 16. Use key words effectively
  • 17. Valerie balanced her strategic, keyword-oriented resume with a very humanizing cover letter
    • She recently landed a senior-level job at the vacation rental website as Director of Customer Service, overseeing a team of 200+ people.
  • 18. Valerie ’s cover letter opening
    • Dear Hiring Team, I ’ m excited to speak with you about the Director of North American Customer Operations opening at HomeAway. I ’ ve had the pleasure of working with members of your executive team (Lynn Atchison and Carl Shepherd) during my prior tenure at Hoover ’ s, and I ’ m equally excited about the prospect of playing a key role within Jeff Mosler ’ s Customer Experience team.
  • 19. After outlining her experience, she closed her letter this way
    • On a personal note, I was raised in a household where the coffee can on top of the refrigerator stored every available extra dollar, used by my parents to take my sister and me around the world on many travel adventures. Those memories have shaped my ongoing passion for travel experiences.
  • 20. Tip #4: Know the company you’ re pursuing
    • And create materials that are appropriate for that business
  • 21. Tyler included a QR code
  • 22. The QR code directed users to Tyler’ s site…
  • 23. … where he made a simple video pitch
  • 24. Tip #5: Don ’t make careless mistakes
    • Take enough time to check grammar, spelling, and all facts
  • 25. Thank you!
    • Read Nadine Cheung’s career coverage on
    • mediabistro’ s blogs, including:
    • FishbowlNY
    • MediaJobsDaily
    • @mbJobPost