Is Your Resume Presentable?

Presentation is your first impression. Much like when you meet someone for the first time and you know that they’re forming their first impression of you. Of course we always hope it will be a positive one and it is the same principle with your resume. The presentation of the document is the reader’s first impression. You can either delight them and encourage them to learn more or you can turn them off and make them run in the opposite direction.

After completing approximately 400 resume evaluations over the past 10 days I noticed a very tragic pattern. Executives were using resume layouts and formats that were elementary for their level of expertise and experience and entry-level and professional job seekers were using resume formats from over ten years ago that use objectives and two inch margins. Shocking I know!

How is it that out of 400 job seekers only two people had somewhat decent resume formats and presentation strategies? Lack of education and information is my diagnosis. Here is the remedy folks: DO YOUR HOMEWORK! I am going to provide you a quick checklist to compare your resume to and see if it would hold up to the standards of today’s job market.

1) Resumes longer than 2 pages for professionals or 3 pages for Executives will not work. How much information do you really think a recruiter can read in that initial seven second review? Certainly not three pages worth of information.

2) The first third of your resume is the most important. If you are not utilizing an introduction/profile that contains a professional branding statement, industry specific keywords, and a career summary that highlights your value proposition you will get lost in the stack of every other boring resume recruiters receive.

3) Do not use more than one font on your resume. Use the same font for the entire document. Using different fonts screams **MISTAKE**. And also that you pay absolutely no attention to the details.

4) Do not use different font sizes on your resume in another place other than your header. Using a size 12 font and size 11 font in your professional experience section will be a red flag.

5) Please, please, please do not utilize 1 inch margins. That is like waving a flag that says hello, I’m writing a college term paper versus applying for a professional position within your organization.

6) Do not use more than one type of bullet. Using different bullets throughout the resume especially in the same section (namely professional experience) just seems disorganized and tacky. Streamline your approach, be consistent not confusing.

7) Watch your page length and spacing. Again, 1.5 spacing or double spacing seems juvenile. We are not in high school we are in the corporate world and a VERY competitive job market. There are no excuses, now you know.

8) Attractive formatting is everything when you are trying to land the job of your dreams or just any job for that matter. Do your research! Don’t just go to the sample resume sites out there check out professional resume writing samples from actual professional resume writing services. Compare your resume to the samples you see and then you will know right off how you measure up. If your work is significantly different then a professional’s work chances are you could probably use some help.

This is not an all inclusive presentation/format list and does not include advice about any issues other then resume formatting. This is just a checklist to see if you are on the right track or not. If you’re not, which in my experience seems to be most of us then get help! Either get out there and research what you’re doing wrong and find ways to make it right or hire someone who can. This isn’t just your resume people, it’s your career and your life.

How to Structure a Presentation That Sells

You know all about your products and services, you know all the features, the advantages over the competitor’s products and the benefits that you can deliver. You understand the problems that your prospects face on a daily basis, or what they would like to achieve. Now all you have to do is create a presentation to describe all this and make them want to buy it.

How should you structure your presentation for maximum effect?

Here is a 10 step model which will have them begging for more.

1. Start with a “SMART” objective (SMART = Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic and Timely). Decide what it is you want to accomplish with your presentation and how you will measure your success. This should be in terms of what your audience members will do directly after they have heard your presentation.

2. Now, start your presentation by grabbing the audience’s attention. The reaction your are looking for is for people to think “I thought this was going to be good, but wow! this should be great, I really will have to listen”. Rhetorical questions are often a good way to achieve this.

3. Once you have grabbed their attention it is usually worth a sentence or two to establish your credibility. Why should these people listen to you? What experience do you or your company have in this area?

4. Now given that you are trying to sell something, whether it is a product, a service, a solution or maybe just an idea or way of working, then you need to identify why it is needed. Because without the audience knowing that they need something there is no way they will spend money, time or resources on obtaining it. Usually the best way of doing this is to describe the problem they are no doubt experiencing without it. So describe the problem and the pain, make it as real as you can.

5. Having established the problem (or opportunity if you prefer to remain positive). Now is your opportunity to establish a vision of success. How wonderful it could be, if you no longer had that problem. It is vital that your audience buy in to this vision of success, that they really want it or need it. If they only pay lip-service to this vision of success they are unlikely to buy.

6. Now, tell them how your products, services, solutions, or ideas will work to start delivering that vision. You may like to use cause and effect models, or problem/ solution models to help achieve this. As long as this middle part of the presentation is structured so that your audience can follow what you are saying, the actual structure is of less importance. Don’t forget to describe the benefit (“the what’s in it for you”) for every feature you mention. If you can’t think of a benefit to go with a feature, don’t mention the feature.

7. Once you have fully described you offering, finish with a summary of the benefits.

8. Now, given that this is a business presentation, and no-one can do business on their own, now is the point in the presentation where you put in the call to join together. Tell your audience that by working together you and them can achieve their hopes and desires.

9. In fact by working together you can achieve the vision of the future that you laid out near the start of your presentation and that they all bought in to. So restate the vision, now.

10. Finally, you can have a Question and Answer session, and thank the audience for their time, but the last thing you should say before you sit down, is your call to action. Your call to action is an instruction to the audience on how they can fulfill your objective which you identified, right back up in step 1.

Structure your presentation around these 10 steps and I guarantee you will generate a better response.

Presentation Photos For Residential and Multifamily Real Estate Projects

Too often we don’t spend enough time creating the quality project presentation we should for our projects. One big factor in this is failing to humanize the presentation with photos of the subject matter. For residential and multifamily real estate investment projects and proposals this is in my opinion especially important.

Investors need to comprehend and accept the quality of the investment. Accomplishing this objective is the sum of several factors, but one is the visceral recognition of the reality of the project, the value of the project, the future of the project, and the reasonable expectation of the principal for the investment. Great photos are a big step toward accomplishing this end. Great photos is more than simply picking a few likely buildings and taking photos.

The first consideration is lighting. You want to present a sunny well lit perspective of the scene you are shooting. You don’t want the picture to appear to bright or to show glare. Probably a good morning light or late after noon angle is the best.

Second, you want to offer perspective that is pleasant. Good views of the entry way or photos of the entire building that offer a good view without trying to take in too much. Also, close up photos of particularly attractive items are good as well. Additionally, if you focus on a particular type of construction you want the reader or viewer to capture that idea very clearly as they look at the photos.

Third, your photos should relate to your message. Some photos may be of the surrounding neighborhood for example or of vehicles in the parking lot because this tells the story about the community. Portrayed correctly surrounding area photos build confidence and help create the larger story in the investors mind.

Now that you have the photos, many principals will simply throw up the photos throughout their documents and material with little or no description. Don’t fall into this trap. Instead insert the photos into Powerpoint or some other tool. Resize them consistently. Place descriptive labels in an easy to read attractive conservative font with each photo.

Personally, I like to include the photos as a labeled album in my business plans and then to intersperse key photos in business plans, investor presentations, and other documents to further support the story. Also, the photos may turn out to be a great start on your company website or project website. Investors are really only limited by their imagination regarding the broader range of uses they can find for their photos.