Stephanie Tate is the university relations manager for Yahoo!. (This is not her picture; it’s a stock photo from iStockphoto.) She took a look at my cover email and resume and critiqued them. Just to prove that I’m not easily embarrassed—and to provide the most value to my readers, here’s what she said:

I’ll pretend that I know nothing of you for this exercise (difficult as that may be) and just look at it through a recruiter’s eyes. :)

First, I’d like to see what you did most recently not at the beginning of your career—the more recent and relevant the better. I had to read to the bottom of both the cover and the resume to find the most recent and relevant. Recruiters have to read hundreds of resumes every week so I may not get through it to know that you are important.

The point of the cover email is to catch the attention of the “recruiter” and make me want to read further. It should call out items of interest that would otherwise not be covered in the resume. Your resume does some of that, but there are areas that are redundant to the resume.

The resume calls out the positions held and a brief description of the responsibilities. What it lacks is the “so what.” What I mean by that is that it needs to call out what the impact/benefit was to the company when you held those roles.

A couple of examples:

  • You are the managing partner at Garage. I want to know that you were wise with the companies you backed and what happened to said companies. As far as I can tell you may or may not be a successful VC.
  • At Apple you were the Chief Evangelist. I don’t see from the resume that it mattered. There are no achievements to speak of. Did it really make a difference for Apple to have a Chief Evangelist?

You are clearly overqualified for a Brand Mgr 2 position and if it came through the normal resume process I would consider it as such. However, because it is tied to a particular position of interest it has a very good chance of being read and forwarded on to the appropriate executive recruiter. If the position was not called out and just submitted into the database it would take a query to be found.

Overall, you could do quite a bit to improve your resume. Everything from the basics of resume writing to the finer points of telling me why you matter over the thousands of resumes I read.

I guess I won’t be getting this interview. I should have taken the interview when the company was looking at me as a CEO candidate. Timing is everything in life. :-)

By the way, this is the end of career week in my blog. Next week is gadget week.