NORTH BEND – Your résumé is like your face to an employer and too many people don’t bother brushing their teeth.
Jennifer Lynham, owner of Résumé Ink, said nothing can make an employer write off a candidate quicker than a typo.
“[Your résumé] is the only face you have. [Typos] show no attention to detail, that you’re not conscientious or putting your best foot forward. It really shows how smart you are,” Lynham said. “It’s like going to an interview with a big piece of broccoli between your teeth.”
The North Bend woman recently started the résumé revising business after a long career in advertising writing.
The 2003-2004 president of the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University and spent six years in New York City working for a Manhattan advertising agency. For the last five years she has run her own marketing business called Lynham Ink, which was the 2002 Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce New Business of the Year award recipient.
The certified professional résumé writer has worked for RésuméEdge.com and over the years has helped put together hundreds of résumés.
From New York, Lynham was recruited by Wieden Kennedy, a Portland, Ore. advertising agency with a client list that has included Nike and Microsoft. Lynham met her husband in the Northwest, and the two settled in North Bend.
Lynham works out of her home office, but generally meets clients at coffee shops or chats on the phone with them about their résumés and career goals. Clients can e-mail, mail or drop off résumés at her office.
“I can work with anything,” she said. “Some people don’t have résumés, but I do have online forms people can use to fill out. If they’re not computer savvy, I can work with them.”
Lynham said her services are a great option for those who don’t have time to work on their résumés or who have trouble objectively determining what their strengths are.
“A lot of people don’t understand some of the accomplishments they have made are as great as they are. They don’t put their best out there,” Lynham said. “It’s important to have a third party who doesn’t know you very well to tell you firsthand.”
What sets Lynham apart from big online résumé factories is her personal attention to each client’s career dreams and accomplishments.
“I talk to the people. I’m not a certified career counselor, but I do a lot of that by getting to know what a person’s hopes and dreams are for their career. I think that’s really necessary,” she said.
Résumés and the way people search for jobs is changing, Lynham said. To stay ahead of the game, Lynham regularly talks to human resource managers to find out what the new trends are. Computer scanning is one of those trends. Résumés received via e-mail are usually put through a scanner that looks for certain words, depending on the job the applicant is applying for. The computer usually scans about half of each résumé and spits those with the words it’s looking for into one pile, and the rest to the recycling bin – a human may never even see most résumés.
The key to getting into the right pile is knowing which words to use.
That’s why Lynham has her clients send her a sample of the job description for the position they are applying for.
“I research these things during my off time. Generally, you can tell from the job descriptions,” Lynham said. “Structure is important, and it’s good to have a computer-only résumé and one you can hand out for humans to see.”
For a résumé and cover letter package, Lynham charges $215. But considering her quick two to three day turnaround and ample experience, it’s more of an investment.
“It gets off their plates a lot sooner,” she said. “People say, ‘Yeah, I need to get my résumé together,’ and then you talk to them four months later and they still don’t have it together.”
Lynham also does thank you letters and follow up letters – little notes that Lynham said can turn into big opportunities.
“There are certain ways to use thank you and follow up letters to market yourself again,” said Lynham. “I end up listening to people a lot and I hear things that can help the individual.”
The wordsmith also suggests writing different cover letters for different jobs. She helps clients determine the things they can mention in every cover letter as well as what they might want to leave out. Lynham will help clients search for jobs online, too.
One of the biggest mistakes Lynham sees is writing job descriptions into résumés instead of giving a more personalized account of what the applicant brought to the position as an individual and what they accomplished.
“An office assistant might say he or she is responsible for filing, scheduling appointments-just writing down what they do every day. A hiring manager would know that. What they don’t know is why you do it better than anyone else,” Lynham said.
At the end of the day a résumé can only get you so far, Lynham said. One must also know the right places to send them to.
“A lot of people post it on Monster.com, but only five percent of people ever hear back from employers on Monster,” she said. “Some people have fantastic résumés and they’re sending them to the wrong jobs.”
* Lynham can be reached at (425) 652-8104. Visit her Web site at www.RésuméInk.com or e-mail her at jennifer@résuméink.com.
All Résumé Ink services are confidential.
Staff writer Melissa Kruse can be contacted at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org