PROMOTION-SEEKERS: To win promotional or job interviews – whenever you want them . . .  from now until you retire, Customize Your Résumé. BE ORIGINAL.

That means you must avoid the trap of following the “Boilerplate Herd.”

You must stop making yourself invisible by putting yourself into the box of a generic, one- or two-page reverse-chronological, “fill-in-the-blank,” “Spaghetti” template résumé.


You don’t want your résumé to blendinlikejustonemorestrandofgpaghettiinabowl. Like this:

 You want your résumé to STAND OUT, LIKE A MEATBALL on top of that spaghetti. Like this:


When you CUSTOMIZE YOUR RÉSUMÉ to the specific requirements of each opportunity you seek, you STAND OUT. You are AN ORIGINAL.

Your custom résumé will make you memorable. It will tell the story of your relevant Representative Professional Accomplishments and Special Skills and Abilities.

And more than that – You want your résumé to show the “authentic you,” not read like a bunch of Mad Libs strung together (a hat tip to Deborah Drake for this idea.)

When you do that, decision-makers will immediately recognize that you are the perfect TOP CANDIDATE solution to their job need. And that’s when your phone will ring with interview invitations.

It’s one thing for me to say those words, and quite another for me to prove my point with real résumés.

Which I’ll do in a minute, but before I do, let’s take a short detour down Memory Lane.

Be Original. Customize Your Résumé.

I’d like you to reacquaint yourself with your current résumé.

Please stop reading, get it, and reread it. In a minute I’m going to invite you to see how it stacks up with the two I’m going to show you.

. . . 

All done? Good. What did you think of it?

When you last used your résumé, how long did it take before you began getting interviews?

If you customized it to the requirements of each opportunity you sought, I bet decision-makers interviewed you very quickly.

If you were ignored more than you were interviewed, I bet your résumé was like most everyone else’s:



Just another boring reverse-chronological listing dates of employment and job duties, (what I call a “Spaghetti Résumé,” or more specifically, “Job Search Junk Mail.”)

Does that make sense?

If so, now you know why they didn’t call and they didn’t write.

When you look like everyone else, they have no reason to inteview YOU.

Template résumés invite decision-makers to ignore you

Browsing the Web just now, I visited a number of sites offering templates into which you copy-and-paste your stuff, and create what they say is a professional a résumé – in 10 minutes.

If you believe that — SUCKER!

All you’ve created is more Job Search Junk Mail.

It’s time to show you the powerful difference between template Job Search Junk Mail and a TOP CANDIDATE résumé customized to a specific opportunity.

Here’s an Engineering Manager résumé I found on a template site. My only change was to give the person a catchy, gender-neutral name.

Please click and read Ignore Me’s résumé

Let’s assume you have to fill an open position for an Engineering Director. You’re considering Ignore Me, and one other candidate.

What did you think of Ignore Me’s résumé? What were his accomplishments? His contributions to profitability?

Do you want to interview her?

Does her résumé make her STAND OUT as a TOP CANDIDATE, or is it Job Search Junk Mail?

Please click and read a MEATBALL’S targeted cover letter and custom résumé.

Quite a difference between the two, right? And maybe yours as well?

First, he and I created a databank of his relevant professional accomplishments – the ones of which he was most proud – that we would use to build his custom credentials.

Then we selected and customized only those accomplishments that were 100% relevant to the requirements of this position.

On paper, it was a no-brainer. The decision-makers saw that with his custom résumé, he was an ORIGINAL, obviously a TOP CANDIDATE, and they had no choice but to interview him.

Before they did, we used his new custom credentials and the actual position requirements to practice interviewing. 

An apt pupil, he learned when to speak, and when not to. He learned what to say, and what not to.

He became the youngest of the five finalists.

For jobs at this level, the CEO never interviewed the finalists. He only looked at their leftrésumés and left the hiring decisions to the field.

After reading his résumé, the CEO enthusiastically pronounced it “disruptive” and wanted to meet the engineer behind it. They flew him to Corporate, where he interviewed with the CEO, COO, CFO and Corporate HR Director.

The other four finalists disappeared. Poof!

And within a week, my client became Division Director of Engineering.

The other four finalists all had more experience than my client. Unfortunately for them, they also followed the “Boilerplate Herd.”

And all of them were lost out to the man who customized his résumé and became an ORIGINAL.

My next post will be  . .  BE YOURSELF. 

Until next time . . . Be the MEATBALL, not the spaghetti. 

And Remember . . . You CAN be a TOP CANDIDATE . . . each time you apply.

Best regards,

Don –


About Don Headshot

About Don Burrows

For over 30 years, Don has helped job- and promotion-seekers, ignored by recruiters for work they've proven they can do, create custom résumés and targeted cover letters that won them interviews as Ideal Candidates. Today, he focuses on employed, high-five-figure, mid-career professionals passed over for promotions they know they've earned. Using his TOP CANDIDATE FOR PROMOTION™ system, he helps them win interviews as TOP CANDIDATES - whenever they want them - from now until they retire. He can be reached at