The event, held at The CARA Group's Oak Brook headquarters, was inspired by speed dating. The following format was (more or less) followed after enough caffeine was imbibed:
- Everyone had stacks of their own resumes with enough copies for each other person at the table.
- All stacks were passed to the left.
- Participants were given two minutes to view and mark up the top resume on the stack.
- When time was up, the top resumes were placed on the bottoms of the stacks, and the stacks were passed again to the left.
- This was repeated until the stacks made it back to their original owners.
- The idea was that recruiters only look at most resumes for a few seconds to form their initial opinions. Therefore, given only a short time to view and comment, participants were able to focus on those ever-important first impressions—what worked (or didn't) and what stood out.
|Attendees were given two minutes to read and mark up others' resumes.|
Once everyone's marked up resumes were returned, the floor was opened to general questions and discussion. Here are some of the topics that came up:
- Serif versus sans-serif fonts
- Functional versus chronological resumes
- Value of value added statements
- Ideal section arrangements
- Inclusion of months on start and end dates
- Means to emphasize what recruiters want to see
- Mixing present and past tenses for currently held positions
- Ideal page counts
- Tips and tricks
After the general discussion, the group broke into pairs or trios so attendees could receive more detailed feedback on their resumes. Advice and business cards were also exchanged. Finally, CARA’s own Lisa Vitale, a recruiting manager for the company, was kind enough to answer some questions from the group.
|Participants discuss their resumes on a one-on-one basis.|
The seemingly low turnout was actually a boon; the group size was perfect for meaningful discussion with only a little chaos. Attendees left with advice, answered questions, new ideas, and (in at least one case) pastries.
Thank you to those members who made it to the event despite frozen fingers and toes—there would be no event without you. Thanks also to Linda Kelley for facilitating the event and minding the stopwatch to keep everyone on track. Finally, a very special thank you to Lisa Vitale, for sharing her experience, and The CARA Group, for sharing their space.