Avoid This Hidden Resume (and career) Self-Sabotage

Do you know the common mistakes made with your resume, that only your prospective employer will ever see?

That’s right, no advisor nor coach vetting your resume will ever see it.

Nor will you ever see your own goof-up.  It’s completely hidden.

They simply will never phone you. “What a horrible tragedy to miss that perfect opportunity with a great company simply because you make this one simple avoidable error,” warns Ross Macpherson of Career Quest speaking to HAPPEN members Tuesday in Mississauga. “I hear recruiters complain about it time and again.”

Here’s the trap.  Your great resume can become an unreadable mess that you will never see. 

The tips:

  • DO NOT just cut and paste your resume to make an online Applications
  • DO NOT upload or e-mail your resume as a current MS Word formatted version

Why not just Cut and Paste from MS Word?

This drives recruiters nuts.  Unknown and unknowable to you, many web pages throw away your beautiful flowing resume, and some will actually send an ugly unreadable mess to the recruiter.

MS Word documents include embedded formatting that might fight with the recruiters website.

You could even have all your nice  formatting stripped including hard returns. That makes you carefully formatted resume into a one-line impossible read.

The solution? Do this first before you cut-and-paste:

  1. Open resume in Word.
  2. Click “File” then “Save As”
  3. Under “Save as type” it as type, select “Plain Text”
  4. Rename and Click “Save”.
  5. Open the plain text file and tidy it up. 

Then you can cut-and-paste – making sure that you copy only from the plain text version and keep it in step with your current word-formatted resume. 

Why not just upload or email your MS Word resume “as is”?

 The recruiter (or somebody she forwards it to) may be using software that doesn’t read current MS Word documents well. 

The tip? Save it as a “Word 97-2003” type document.

Check your resume. The more current word versions produce documents with “.docx”. Do not send them to recruiters.

Note: This tip sheet is courtesy of Ross Macpherson of Career Quest.


if you are original and smart, it’s just hard to ignore you.

Those are the words of Lori R Taylor whose blog features this question: “Is personal branding just a bunch of crap?” 

She says basically that branding is real – it needs to be authentic to have any substance or reason.

What to do if You are not happy With Job Transition?

Now answer me HONESTLY … Are you happy with what is going on right now in your Job Transition?

“If there were only more good people, and you met a few today.”

If fact you can.

You could probably use a quick breather from the grind of transition -so take  a look at 50,000 feet rather than the cold pavement.

Of course, in Southern Ontario and lower mainland B.C we have HAPPEN – North America’s largest social group for executives in transition. Each week we meet to interact and hear great speakers tell us what we need to hear.

I’d suggest you look it up and join – I did.

But …  if you are too far away, here’s the next best thing.

You can join a HAPPENing online at least see a video of some of the speakers right now.

  • Need a cheerful voice?
  • Need a good kick?
  • Need to stop fretting about options and alternatives?

Check out the four short videos at http://happen.ca/page/Happenings

 I bet you’ll be immensely reassured and smile more today.

 For another dose tomorrow, visit the websites of those speakers, or look at upcoming HAPPEN speakers and visit their sites.

By the way, Happy Birthday happen! It’s 20 years now.

Personal Word Cloud examples

An Elite Resume Word Cloud - first try

aneliteresume word cloud

George Ridout Word Cloud sample

George Ridout - Lead, Learn, Illuminate

Personal Branding with Your Word Cloud

So what’s a personal word cloud? 

It’s a colorful image made up of special words that reflect the real you.

Email Size Word Cloud

It’s makes you look sharp on all your 21st century media (web site, social networking, email).

And it’s also an easy tool to help you illuminate your goals as you manage your career.

In this article, you will see some examples and get detailed instructions.

First, how did I stumble on this? I was discussing my resume with Martin Buckland of www.aneliteresume.com, and we touched on “personal word clouds” as a new concept.   

Martin coaches and creates resumes … starting with a single powerful compelling word that reflects one’s personal brand. 


That task he leaves as my homework – to come up with that ONE word that illuminates a whole career.

It was so hard for me to settle on a single word.  So I took a initial word list, and added words using font-size and boldness as emphasis.  I ended up with MANY words of different colors, sizes, and styles.

Homework was due and I had no ONE word. “It just looks like a word cloud”, I apologised for not having chosen just one word.

” Hey”, said Martin “why don’t you create a real word cloud out of this.  You can use it to differentiate your email signature. You are more technical so you do it and show me how”.

Then his clincher:  “This is great, I could use it to brand my emails too”.

Wow. That’s how Martin turned my lemon into sweet lemonade.

Let me share with you what I did from there.

George Ridout - Lead and Learn

Personal Branding: Make Your Email Signature Speak Out

Want to boost your personal branding?

Here’s a tip that will set you apart, make you stand out, and speak volumes about your personal brand.

It takes just a few minutes and your signature line on every email you send will reflect the Real You.

Create a special type of image and place it in your email signature.

The others will have a photo or a logo. Fine for them.

You can display a Word Cloud that talks about who you are and what your brand is.  That will differentiate you.

The words you want to show, and their relative size, will be your UNIQUE branding item.

So, what does a personal word cloud look like, and how can you get one.

That’s easy.

1. Go to www.wordle.net and take a couple of minutes to create your word cloud.

It’s a lot of fun. Wordle does all the work for you.

Just paste in your resume, your profile, your mission statement etc. and let it rip.

You can even play with colors, fonts, styles, etc.

Then save the image.

2. Go to your email site (such as Gmail) and update your signature line with the image.

For example, go to Gmail;s settings page and insert your Word Cloud using insert image.

You can even use the image to link to your web site or social network site (e.g. linkedin).

You’re all set.

From now on, your emails will have a unique personal branding

Best Social Networking for Your Career – part 1

At last week’s HAPPEN meeting in Burlington, the guest speakers ran a workshop on online social networking. It impacts your job search in many significant ways.

Martin Buckland of and Barbara Mackie, experts in career use of social media, ran a pragmatic and eye-opening seminar, peppered with audience participation:

  • Martin Buckland, Executive Career Management Services Professional at Elite Resumes
  • Barbara Mackie, professional Social Media expert, Blogger, and Editor at Elite Resumes 

The half-day session included live access to the sites that Barbara and Martin highlighted:

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Blogging Sites such as WordPress (which hosts Martin’s blog)

At one point, Martin asked the group to hold their palms together and pray for an internet connection – and we got one!  

Best practices and plenty of tips were the outcome of the session. The audience was a mixed one in terms of experience in online social networking sites, but this was accommodated well by the workshop facilitators.  Tips for everybody.

The overall message: for Pete’s sake,

  1. BE SURE TO establish an online presence for yourself and you will get not just noticed but noticed by the people who you can associate with for mutual value.
  2. Establish a strategy for yourself with social media 


For LinkedIn

  • KEY TIP: Status updates every day. Rotate among many relevant and apt statuses that you have in a word document that cover your activities and your job search intent in various words
  • TIP: Compose status updates that are a bit seductive or even compelling, such as “Likes a challenge to motivate teams” or “Seeks a new xyz opportunity accomplishing abc”
  • TIP: Customize your LinkedIn URL
  • TIP: Visit the LinkedIn Learning Center – click on all tabs to learn
  • BEST PRACTICE for easy of finding you: Put your LinkedIn profile on your resume and on you email signature line
  • BEST PRACTICE for ease of matching up:  Put Your Whole Resume on your profile as text
  • BEST PRACTICE for Recruiter Invites: Always YES invites to connect with them, sending a nice message such as “Thank You for looking at me” and tell them a little about yourself and how you can be of value such as “Actively engaged in job search looking for opportunity in mechanical engineering in xyz area & I also have an MBA”

Martin and Barb had much more to say as they are both a wealth of gems of information.

I highly recommend that you visit elite resumes and catch up with the changes for yourself.