The Duke MBA
Career Management Center
Resume and Professional
Communications for Alumni
January 15, 2009
Alumni and EMBA Career Services
RESUME in JEOPARDY
MYTH or REALITY
Format doesn’t matter
Focus on where you have been
RESUME in JEOPARDY
MYTH or REALITY
Focus on what you WANT to do
Resume versus CV
Curriculum Vitae Resume
Long (Often over 3 pages) Short (2 pages or less)
Weighted for Weighted for
Resume is a strategic and brief summary of your experience
and accomplishments. It should also show progression.
Content is critical
Not a work obituary
A Great Resume…
Builds A Story
Personal marketing tool
+Convey a positive message about your overall fit
+Use Business language and/or Industry terms
+Show career progression & breadth of experience
Example of Typical Resume Content
Header – Name and Contact Information
+Profile or Qualifications Summary
Innovative, versatile and solutions-driven executive with
Duke MBA and outstanding strategic thinking, analytical
and communication skills. Twelve years of successful
experience in delivering profitable healthcare solutions.
Demonstrated results in the following areas:
Strategic Planning Project Management
Business Development Negotiation Skills
What Do Employers Look for?
Accomplishments & Skills
P = Problem A = Action R = Results
(Plus Learning or Application)
Example: Initiated procedures that increased production
20% and reduced turnaround from five to four days.
Skills Used: Innovation; Organization; Design; Creation
Developing Your Bullet Points
+Your results. Numbers speak.
+Ask yourself “why?”, “for what?”, “what happened”
Include reasoning/specific results of your actions.
+Distracting reader with non-relevant information.
+How bullets position you? – job hopper / innovator /
responsibility slave / specialist vs. generalist, etc.
What Gets Further Consideration?
Background of interest or relevance to reader
A history of excellence and progression
Ability to work well in a team
People skills- ability to communicate effectively
Ability to balance multiple responsibilities
Fit with position requirements
Do not include personal data, religious or political affiliations.
Be specific and interesting.
List roles in service/community groups or business affiliations.
+May include part-time or volunteer positions
Exclude high school activities unless extremely unique or
outstanding (i.e. graduated 1st out of class of 500).
Be honest. Foreign language “fluency” means you can
conduct an interview in that language. “Familiarity” may
be a more appropriate description.
Do the Obvious Well
Appearance – Enticing & easy to find information?
Length – Can you get the same effect with less?
Relevance – How much “who cares” info included?
Active vs. Passive – Use action verbs
Grammar – Watch for misspellings/word use
Truth/Accuracy – Creative writing vs. verifiable
actions and outcomes
Completeness – Is there anything missing?
Summary - Creating an Effective Resume
“Skimmability” – 30 seconds or less.
+BRIEF outline: Experiences, accomplishments,
Prioritized selling points
+Education, experience, accomplishments,
Making it Relevant
+Employers needs and functions.
RESULTS, RESULTS, RESULTS
Network + Passion
More Than 1 Kind of Correspondence
+Inquire about available positions
+“I was referred to you by….”
APPRECIATION / FOLLOW UP LETTERS
+Thank you for….
+After an event to remind recruiter of your interest
+In response to your job posting….
Why Cover Letters?
May be your first contact with an employer
Marketing Tool-distinguish yourself
Explain key resume items
+Add emphasis from resume
+Highlight what might not fit on resume
+Grab their attention
Communicate sincere interest-link
qualifications to requirements of the job
Keys to Great Cover Letters
Personal- know your audience
Network - who helped you get here?
One Page Maximum
Knowledge of the Company/Product
Cover Letter Structure & Content
Length: 3 - 4 paragraphs on 1 page
Same font as resume
Direct letter to person responsible for hiring
+Not To Whom it May Concern or Sir/Madam
To Whom it May Concern rarely has a position opening.
+If completely blind: Dear Prospective Employer
Cover Letter Template
Paragraph 1 – Introduce yourself.
+Why are you writing? What is your interest in company?
+Mention events attended, insights gained, and people met.
Paragraph 2 – Be specific.
+How will your background meet their unique needs?
+Link job description needs with your competencies
You may use bullet points to highlight 2-3 results!
Paragraph 3 – Close.
+Reiterate your interest in meeting them for an interview.
+Indicate when you will follow-up.
Defining Your Hooks
WetFeet suggests themes to your hooks:
+I’m impressed with the risks that Dell is taking by
entering into the consumer electronics market.
+As a fellow alumnus of a Duke MBA Program…
+We share a mutual connection with…
+Dean Sheppard suggested I contact you based upon
your need for a global business development expert…
Contact Person Name
Dear Mr./Ms. :
The Hook: State why you are writing and give information to show your interest in the specific organization. Name the
position for which you are applying and how you heard of the opening. Also mention a specific referral such as a
personal contact within the organization.
The middle paragraphs should create a desire on the part of the employer to know more about you. Explain why you are
interested in working for this employer. Mention your achievements or qualifications in this field, especially those that
meet the job description.
The Pitch: Describe your interest in the corporation. Emphasize your knowledge about this firm (the result of your
research effort) and your familiarity with the industry. Why are your skills and experiences relevant to their
needs/openings? You should present yourself as eager to work for any company that you interview with.
Conclusion/Next Step: The closing paragraph should pave the way for a follow up step. You have their attention so now
what? You should specifically request an interview an appointment or offer to call the employers in the near future to
facilitate an immediate response. Include your phone number and your email address.
Your Full Name Typed
Avoid the Common Mistakes
Carbon Copy Letter Template / Inappropriate stationery
Repetition of phrases/words (“I” is a big one!)
Comparisons and clichés (e.g., people person, hard worker)
Attention to details (Correct company, spelling, grammar, etc.)
Unrelated career goals
Inappropriate tone - trying to be funny
Desperation: “Opportunity to learn” can be kiss of death
Positioning Your Pitch
Avoid framing as what YOU want; rather explain what you can do for the employer
Your Education Their Issues
Your Experience Their Needs
Your Skills Their Culture
Never assume the employer will read between the lines to dig out information