How to Write a Resume

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You may have heard complaints from friends and family like, “I’ve applied to hundreds of jobs, but nobody ever calls me back.” Statements like this may surprise you since help wanted signs are everywhere, but often, the issue isn’t a lack of employment opportunities. You generally still need an impressive resume to score a position even when your area has plenty of job openings. After all, it’s unlikely you’ll be the only applicant, so you need something that sets you apart from other job hunters.

Many hiring managers view hundreds — sometimes even thousands — of resumes for each open position, and they typically spend less than 60 seconds looking at each one before deciding whether the candidate is interview worthy. In fact, nearly 1 in 4 hiring managers confess they spend less than 30 seconds reviewing each resume. You have very little time to make a favorable first impression, but you can up your odds by providing accurate, appropriate information.

When you finish with your resume, don’t forget to write a matching cover letter. Download one of our free cover letter templates and get started.

Feeling the pressure yet? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve created this detailed guide to take you through every step of the resume process, from choosing the correct format to avoiding red flags that may cost you your dream job.

The Basics of Resumes
Submitting a resume for an available position is the equivalent of swiping right or clicking the heart on a dating profile. You’re connected with the other party, but that doesn’t mean you’ve officially scored a phone call or a face-to-face meeting. Your words are important, and the wrong phrase can get you sent to the rejection list. That’s why it’s crucial that you learn the following resume basics before you apply for another job.

What’s the Purpose of a Resume?
Anyone can express interest in a job opening, but that doesn’t mean they have the right skills or training. A resume lets an employer know that you’re qualified for a position, either through your educational history, work experience or a combination of the two. You can also share volunteer work, internships and externships on a resume if they help show why you’re a great fit for the position you want.

Think of a resume as your social media profile for hiring managers. When a stranger sends you a friend request or comments on a group post, you may skim their profile to learn more about them. If they seem like an okay person, you may decide to give them a chance. However, inappropriate content or posts that don’t mesh with your beliefs may cause you to press the ignore or decline button.

A resume lets an employer know that you’re qualified for a position, either through your educational history, work experience or a combination of the two.
This is basically how things work in the business world, too. When you apply for a position, the hiring manager glances at your resume quickly before deciding whether you’re worthy of an interview. Red flags, such as typos or profanity, may keep you from landing an interview even if you’re well qualified for the position.

What Are the Main Elements of a Resume?
For starters, every resume should have your name at the top of the page so the hiring manager knows who you are. You should also include contact info, such as your phone number, email address and postal address.

After you provide this basic information, create an objective for your resume. An objective lets the interviewer know who you are, what experience you have and what type of position you want. Keep your objective short; one to three sentences are enough.

Back up your objective by listing key skills, employment history and educational background. If this is your first job, focus on skills, training or volunteer work instead. You can also list freelance gigs when relevant. For example, a five-star rating at a 1099 gig delivering groceries shows you have strong customer service skills, and a freelance blogging gig indicates you have excellent verbal communication skills. Mention that you volunteer at vacation Bible school if you’re applying for a daycare, and share your role as a foster parent for furry friends to help you land a gig as a vet tech.

Some applicants also add hobbies, interests, spoken languages, publications, projects and industry awards to their resumes. These can help you stand out if you’re applying for a job where this information matters, but sometimes it’s overkill. You may want to mention that you’re bilingual if you’re applying for a call center job, but it may not matter if you want a job at a local clothing boutique. Tailor your qualifications to the position you want unless you’re creating a general resume that you plan to use for multiple applications.

What Are Some Red Flags for Hiring Managers?
Hiring managers skim your resume quickly in search of obvious red flags. Grammatical errors and typos can immediately land you on the rejection list and so can profanity and slang. You should also avoid anything that hints toward instability, such as mentioning you’ve had 20 jobs in the last five years. Keep personal info, such as the fact that you have kids or are married, off of your resume, and don’t include a photo unless you’re applying for a modeling job.

Inaccurate info can also cost you a position, especially if it’s obvious. Don’t pretend you have a degree that doesn’t exist, and be truthful about certifications and work experience. It’s easy to get caught lying on a resume even if nobody calls to verify your information.

Steps for Creating Your Own Resume
Resumes come in different formats, including chronological, functional, combination and targeted styles. Your education, employment history and career goals should influence which type you choose. Job hunters who want a classic resume should go with a chronological format, while applicants with more education than experience can benefit from a functional resume. A combination resume lists skills as well as chronological work experience, and a targeted resume focuses on qualifications that match a specific job listing.

The steps for creating a resume are generally the same no matter which format you prefer. We’ve broken them down for you in our step-by-step instructions below.

1. List Your Contact Information at the Top
A recruiter shouldn’t have to go on a scavenger hunt to learn your identity. Make it obvious by including contact info at the top of your resume. Start with your name then provide a phone number, email address and mailing address. You may also want to include a link to your website, portfolio or LinkedIn profile. Consider using a slightly different font for your name so that it stands out.

Your contact information may look something like this:

Lincoln Tavera
123 Main St., Boston, MA 02111 | (123) 456-7890

Do not include your date of birth or Social Security number on your resume. You should also avoid sending a headshot unless your potential employer specifically requests one.

Avoid using a nickname, and make sure your email address is professional. Some hiring managers may reject your application if you use an email address like even if you would have otherwise been contacted for an interview. Potential employers want to know that you can separate your personal life from your professional life.

2. Share Your Objective or Summary
As we mentioned earlier, some hiring managers don’t even dedicate a full 30 seconds to your resume, let alone take time to look at the entire thing. That’s why it’s important to highlight why you’re a qualified candidate before they even have time to review your full employment history or educational achievements. You can do this by creating an objective or summary.

Anyone can use an objective statement on their resume, but it works especially well if you have more training than actual work experience. Your objective lets you highlight your education, such as a degree in business administration or an internship at a respected magazine. You can also mention skills or qualifications, such as an outgoing personality or a strong knowledge of Adobe PhotoShop.

Here’s an example of a brief objective statement:

Retailer manager with 5 years of experience seeking a leadership role where I can utilize my strong customer service skills to boost sales and improve shopper satisfaction.

A resume summary works best when you have relevant experience to summarize. If you’re a teacher seeking a new position, you can mention you’ve taught for 17 years at an elementary school and hold a certificate in special education training. Mention your management experience at a local health care clinic if you want a front desk position at a hospital, or share how your skills as a sales manager boosted company revenue by 12% if you’re seeking a new commission-based job.

When writing a resume summary, you may say something like this:

Results-driven social media manager with seven years of experience ready to revamp your brand’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles. Previous campaigns averaged an 85% click-through rate and boosted lead collection by 30%. I’m creative, engaging and up-to-date on current trends.

Remember to only choose a statement or objective for your resume. Including both can make your resume look cluttered and unprofessional.

3. List Work Experience
Work experience lets a hiring manager know that you have the skills needed to do the job. There are several different ways you can approach work experience on your resume:

List all jobs in chronological order, beginning with your current or most recent position and working backwards.

Only list relevant jobs, such as jobs involving children or education if you’re applying for a position as a daycare manager or sales jobs if you want a marketing position.
Mentioning volunteer work, internships and externships in the format usually reserved for employment history if this is your first job.
Listing all of your jobs is common if you use a chronological format for your resume. However, this is not ideal if you’ve had numerous gaps in your employment, even if the gaps were due to unexpected circumstances such as illness or a spouse’s military relocation. If you have an extensive work history, limit yourself to the last 10 or 15 years. It’s not necessary to mention that you made hamburgers or washed cars for a year in high school unless you’re a recent college graduate.

Focusing on relevant work experience works well in a targeted resume, and it can make you look more stable. You may consider yourself a jack of all trades when you think about your eclectic work history, but a hiring manager may deem you unstable or fear you may leave for a different industry.

Don’t forget to mention achievements, preferably ones that you can back up with data. Mention if you improved company revenue by 15% or decreased customer complaints by 10%, and highlight achievements, such as an employee of the year award or a certificate for managing the top-earning sales team.

4. Include Your Educational Background
Many employers prefer candidates with some type of formal training even if you don’t have a college degree. List all of your relevant education on your resume, from the bachelor’s degree you received 10 years ago to the special certifications you earned during summer break. You may also want to mention internships and externships, especially if you haven’t had much work experience in your field yet.

When you list your education history, put your highest degree first, such as a master’s degree or doctorate. Follow this up with other degrees or certifications, even if you haven’t completed the program yet. For example, you can say you are currently pursuing a master’s degree in creative writing if you already have a bachelor’s degree in marketing. List your master’s degree first even though it isn’t complete then mention your bachelor’s degree below.

You may also find it helpful to mention awards or special honors, such as a 4.0 GPA, on your resume. Leave this information off if your GPA reveals that you barely survived your college years.

5. Mention Your Key Skills
When adding skills to your resume, make sure you include a combination of hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills involve a specific program or duty, such as being able to use Microsoft Office Suite or bake an apple pie from scratch. Soft skills include career skills and personal traits, such as being an effective leader or having an outgoing personality.

Focus on skills that match what the company wants. If the employment ad says a company wants someone who won’t flake on work constantly, mention that you are dependable or punctual. If you’re applying for a customer service position, don’t mention that you’re CPR certified. Instead, say that you have strong customer service skills or enjoy working in a fast-paced environment.

Don’t lie about your job skills, especially when listing hard skills. It’s likely your potential employer will find out, as many companies test applicants prior to offering them a position. You may also have a probation period after you get the job, and your boss will quickly notice if you can’t actually create an Excel spreadsheet or use Slack to schedule meetings.

6. Proofread Your Resume
A single typo may result in a rejection letter, so proofread your resume before you submit it. Consider having a second set of eyes, such as a friend or former colleague, look at your resume as well. Sometimes our brains skim over our own mistakes because we know what something is supposed to say, so enlisting help makes it easier to catch errors you overlooked.

Double-check your contact info, too. A hiring manager can’t offer you the job of your dreams if you accidentally transposed some digits in your phone number or listed an email address that you rarely check. If you’ve recently moved, make sure you have the correct postal address listed.

7. Include a Cover Letter
When you apply for a job, include a cover letter with your resume. This is an optional step, but it may help you land the job you want. In fact, some hiring managers automatically reject resumes that aren’t accompanied by cover letters.

A cover letter gives you a chance to showcase your personality and explain things listed in your resume. You can highlight achievements, mention how you learned about a position and discuss why you feel you’re a qualified candidate. This is a good time to name drop by saying sales manager Jackson Baker told you about the open position or Professor Johnson, a long-time friend of the company’s owner, referred you.

A resume is an essential part of your job hunt. Increase your chances of scoring an interview by crafting an impressive resume that reflects your skills and personality traits.

10 Things You Need to Check Before Submitting Your Resume

Whew! You’ve revised your resume, updated all of the information on it and incorporated all of the right keywords. You must be exhausted and so ready to apply to your dream job. However, before uploading that PDF resume, there are a few key things to double-check.

1. Spelling
The number one thing to check on your resume before clicking ‘submit’ is your grammar and spelling. Don’t just rely on Microsoft Word to catch misspellings — read and re-read your resume to catch potential errors. Then, send your resume to a friend to have them read through with a ‘fine tooth comb’.

2. Correct Tense (Past vs. Present)
As a general rule, if an action or accomplishment on your resume is in the past, use the past tense. However, if you are speaking about a current role and current accomplishments, use the present tense. Hiring managers cringe when they see this mistake on a resume, so as you’re editing, be sure to use the correct tense: manage vs. managed, deliver vs. delivered, execute vs. executed.

3. Focus
Clarity is key. Your resume should clearly state what you do, what you have accomplished, and what your narrative is. If you are applying to be a social media manager, make sure your experience in that field shines through in your resume. Sure, you have also worked in PR or marketing, but when a hiring manager looks at your resume, they should be clear about the narrative you’re trying to tell. You can ensure that hiring managers and recruiters are clear by focusing your resume on the job you want, not just the jobs you’ve had.

4. Font & Size Consistency
A pet-peeve of recruiters is a resume with three or five different fonts. Stick to the basics — Helvetica, Times New Roman, Lato. Resist the urge to “stand out from the crowd” by employing multiple fonts and various sizes. Two fonts and two sizes, max.

5. Remove Unnecessarily Lofty Language
A resume is not the place to get verbose or to use highfalutin language. Get it?! If you don’t normally use certain language, do not pick up the thesaurus to try to include the most “smart-sounding” words you can find. A resume should be an accurate and complimentary reflection of you and your work product. Using lofty language is a surefire recruiter turn-off.

6. Delivery Format — PDF, please!
You’ve spent hours formatting your resume and getting the bullet points to line up perfectly so that your entire work history fits on two pages. Don’t lose that perfect format by sending a resume as a Microsoft Word doc. Use a PDF and ensure clear delivery. And don’t worry: PDF resumes are no longer a problem for an employer’s applicant tracking system (ATS). Keyword searches and matching requirements will still be possible in a PDF format.

7. Use Numbers & Facts Where Applicable
“Substantiate your accomplishments with numbers,” says Nicole Cox, Chief Recruitment Officer at Decision Toolbox. Some recruiters prefer to see actual numbers (such as “cut manufacturing costs by $500,000”), while others prefer percentages (“cut manufacturing costs by 15 percent”). Either way, provide enough context to show the impact and do not rely on generalities to get your point across.

8. File Naming Convention
Please refrain from naming your resume file “Resume.pdf” or “JacksonResume.pdf” try to be specific. This is for your benefit as well as the recruiter. The best way to name a resume is to include your full name, month, and year. For example, “AmyElisaJackson-May2017.pdf.” This lets the recruiter know who you are and reminds you of the date of the last revision of this resume. This way, you won’t be confused by which draft is which.

9. Readability
When editing a resume or CV, the sole focus is often on the content. However, it’s important to think about the ease (or difficulty) of reviewing the resume. Ensuring your resume is readable is an important final check before submitting it alongside a job application. After all, your resume is a crucial test not only of your skills but of your ability to communicate clearly, succinctly and in a reader-friendly way. Cut the clutter. Hold your resume away from you and look at it from afar — if it looks like a lot to read, then it is. Make sure to leave some white, blank space for ease of reading. Consider using bold font to draw the reader’s eye to important accomplishments, companies, or results. This gives a recruiter or hiring manager the ability to skim and instantly see the key points.

10. Fact check
Fact checking your resume is a must. It’s too easy to fib or tell little white lies when it comes to your impact on a project or when it comes to your skills. A final read through of your resume should be an ‘honesty gut-check.’ “Skills are the most common resume lies,” writes Heather Huhman, career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended. “Telling the truth about your skills can set you up for success. You can still land the [job] by being honest, and can gain valuable training and learning experiences on the job.”

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Be a Winner in 2017.

In more ways than one (or ten), 2016 was my personal annus horribilis. But now it’s done. Kaput. Goodbye, 2017. This is the year to go big or go home!

Everyone has a clean slate. What’s not to love about a clean f’ing slate? Try something new. Be something different. Treat your partner and family better. Get rid of the baggage of 2016. Focus on your career and set your destiny! Be more successful than you’ve ever been.

The only one standing in your way is yourself.

When I was in high school, I worked in my dad’s recruiting office (he was an IT recruiter). There was a poster he prominently displayed on his wall. I do think it shaped my thinking in many ways.

Over the years, some of it went out the window. Especially in 2016. It’s time to remind ourselves what it takes to be a winner. It’s all in the attitude!

This is what my dad’s poster said. I hope you follow this advice. Even when you are faced with obstacles. Especially then. Hope this is your best. year. ever. Go for it!


The Winner is always part of the answer. The Loser is always part of the problem.

The Winner always has a program. The Loser always has an excuse.

The Winner says, “Let me do it for you.” The Loser says, “That’s not my job.”

The Winner says, “It may be difficult, but it is possible.” The Loser says, “It may be possible, but it is too difficult.”

When a Winner makes a mistake, he says, “I was wrong.” When a Loser makes a mistake, he says, “It was not my fault.”

Winners say, “I must do something.” Losers say, “Something must be done.”

Winners are a part of the team. Losers are apart from the team.

Winners see the gain. Losers see the pain.

Winners see possibilities. Losers see problems.

Winners believe in win/win. Losers believe that to win, someone has to lose.

Winners choose what they say. Losers say what they choose.

Thank-You Letters That Win Job Offers

By Wendy S. Enelow

Twenty-five years ago, a resume was just a formality. As the employment market expanded and diversified, so did resumes. Today, resumes are powerful marketing tools designed to sell your skills, qualifications, and accomplishments and give you a competitive distinction over other candidates.

Powerful thank-you letters should integrate the same concepts as powerful resumes — sales and competitive distinction. Thank-you letters are your second-tier marketing communications. Your first-tier marketing communications (resume and cover letter) get you in the door for an interview. After the interview, the savvy job seeker sends a letter that thanks the hiring manager, and further expresses interest in the position.

Post-interview is no time to stop selling — it’s precisely the right time to continue selling your unique skills, qualifications, accomplishments and credentials.

The most effective thank-you letters sell you into a position. Try some of these tips to write thank-you notes that bring you offers.

  • Relate your experience directly to the hiring company’s current challenges. Is the company in the midst of a turnaround? Share your past experiences in change management, reorganization and company revitalization. Highlight the things you’ve accomplished to facilitate successful turnarounds and improve financial performance.
  • Highlight how you successfully solved the major problem they’re facing in a previous role. Imagine the company has to compete in a marketplace they once owned You’d do well with a thank-you letter that shares your past achievements in strengthening market position, expanding customer bases and outperforming the competition.
  • Respond to any objections they communicated about offering you the position. Let’s say that they were concerned that you had never worked in Los Angeles, and don’t have any professional contacts in the area. Use the thank-you letter to demonstrate that you previously entered new markets and immediately developed strong networks.
  • Tell them the one great thing about you that you forgot to mention in the interview. The thank-you letter is precisely the tool to communicate your key achievements, experiences, project highlights and qualifications. Give the hiring committee the ammo they need to make the right hiring decision — you.
  • Sell you! Highlight your specific accomplishments as they relate directly to the company and the position for which you’re applying. If those items were already discussed during the interview, that’s ok. Use the thank-you letter to further expand on them and link them directly to the hiring company’s operations, current needs and future goals.

Using a thank-you letter as a marketing tool can make it longer than one page. That’s fine. The only thing that should dictate its length is the amount of valuable information you want to include. If the company has already extended you the opportunity for an interview, they’re interested and will carefully read any material you forward to them.

Your powerful thank-you letter is your chance to move their interest into a decision to hire!


Interview Questions Candidates SHOULD Ask…

By Debra Donston-Miller

We’ve all been there. It’s the point in the job interview when you’ve answered every question thrown at you in a pointed, authoritative, relevant manner.

“Now, do you have any questions for me?” the interviewer asks.

This is the make-or-break moment of the interview, say experts, especially in a market with more candidates than jobs. It’s your chance to demonstrate your insight into the organization at which you’re interviewing, your industry acumen, your communications and people skills, and your desire for the job.

“The worst thing you could do in an interview — other than passing gas — is to say, ‘I don’t have any questions — you’ve answered them all,’ ” said Mitch Beck, president of Crossroads Consulting, an executive search firm and employment agency. “Who wants to work with somebody who doesn’t have any inquiries about the company? It shows that you have no brains.”

It’s your last chance to win over the interviewer, and this scenario puts pressure on the candidate to enter the interview prepared to ask thoughtful, focused questions of their own, said Cheryl Palmer, a certified executive career coach and the founder of Call to Career, a firm that provides C-level executives with career coaching and resume- writing services.

“That’s your last opportunity to really show to that employer, ‘Yes, I’m the best candidate for the job,’ ” Palmer said. ” I always advise people to do their homework and to work any information they’ve gleaned from their research into their questions so that they really come across as well-prepared candidates.”

Good question

J.B Bryant is president of Strategic Alignment Group, a management consultant that helps businesses identify their competitive advantage. He said job hunters should look at the questions they ask during an interview as their opportunity to create a distinct competitive advantage.

“Something has to set you apart, more so, maybe, in this economy, because the employers are churning through so many potential people,” he said.

A safe way to impress an interviewer is to know everything there is to know about the company , the industry and the interviewer themselves

“Know everything you can about a company before you interview,” Beck said. “Do a simple thing like Google the person you are going to interview with.”

The questions you bring to an interview help the employer determine whether you are a good fit for the company, but they also help determine whether the company is a good fit for you.

Prospective employees may be tempted to take any job port in an economic storm, especially if they have been job hunting for an extended period of time, but a bad fit won’t benefit anyone in the long run.

“I think it’s helpful for candidates being interviewed to come up with good, thoughtful questions that are going to accomplish two purposes,” Palmer said. “They need to be able to demonstrate to that potential boss that they have really thought about the job and have some good, probing questions. But they also need to ask questions that will help them determine whether or not this is going to work out.”

Beck went further, emphasizing that the interview is the prospective employer’s opportunity to convince you that the company will be a good fit for your needs. The interview is also a chance for the job seeker to turn the tables and get more information out of the employer.

“Remember that an interview is a two-way street,” Beck said. “You have to convince the person who is interviewing you that they need to hire you. But remember: You’re not there to beg. They need to convince you just as much as you need to convince them.”

Accordingly, one of the most important questions to ask during an interview relates to expectations, Bryant said.

“In my experience, expectations are not communicated very clearly,” he said. “Most people — at every level — come in, and there seem to be an awful lot of assumptions being made, both on the new employee side and on the employer side. You hear people say that it takes six months to get integrated into a company and to really be productive. Well, it doesn’t need to. If you don’t ask anything else, find out what the expectations are.”

Bad question

Worse than silence are bad questions that a prospective employer can not answer; demonstrate your ignorance; or worse, offend the interviewer that it eliminates a job seeker from consideration.

There are some questions that have always been taboo during an interview — rushing into questions about salary, for example. But have any questions become no-no’s since the economic downturn? No, experts said. The rules are pretty much the same as always.

“The rules are the same — it’s just that ( the questions) count more than ever before,” said Call to Career’s Palmer. “That’s not to say that it was OK to ask about salary ( during an interview) before and now it’s not. It simply means that everything is much more serious because of the competitiveness of the job market. So, things that an employer might have overlooked before are really, really going to be a big deal now because you have so many qualified candidates looking for the same position.”

“Stay away from questions that aren’t going to help you any,” said Crossroads Consulting’s Beck. “Getting into somebody’s personal life is really of no interest. Asking whether someone is pro- or anti-Obama is not a good question to ask. I would stay away from questions about salary. I would stay away from questions about benefits. You want to ask questions that are relevant to the job and to the opportunity that you are being presented with.”

Bryant said it’s important for prospective employees to use their intuition to help determine which questions will resonate positively with interviewers.

“You need to feel out the personality of the person you’re interviewing with,” said Bryant. “Are you going to ask, ‘Are there any discipline issues with my (potential) direct reports?’ before you even get the job? That might be seen as meddling. But, ‘Where did my predecessor leave off?’ That’s perfectly acceptable to ask in an interview.”

5 Things You Should Not Do Upon Losing Your Job

By Steph Tortogo

If there is anything in our careers that is the most normal of all, it would be losing one. We then are inundated with various emotions and all we want to do is just let everything out and stand up for ourselves. But sometimes, there are just things that we should think twice about before doing, especially if it involves our personal feelings. Here are 5 of the things that you must not do upon getting fired from your job:

1. Unless you’re expressing appreciation and gratitude for the time that you’ve spent with the company, never send your former boss and coworkers scathing emails. Don’t even try to confront them of how you badly you thought their treatment was to you. This the business world, and no matter how enormous it seems physically, it is a small world. Word of the mouth goes fast, and this can result to bad record that could impact your life immensely.

2. Never take to your social media platforms or any of your blog sites to rant about the injustice that you felt. The internet has made the world a little bit smaller than it is, and you don’t want to make bad impressions for potential employers and your family and friends who look up to you. Even if you believe that whatever people say doesn’t matter, it will, especially if you’re in the world of business. Take note of what the great Stephen Hawking once said; “People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.”

3. Never look at this occurrence as the end of your dreams. Don’t dwell in the dark or shut everything and everyone out. Don’t pretend or act like there’s nothing wrong because that will just worsen the situation.

4. This may sound pretty hurtful, but it is the truth. Just because of what happened to you, don’t expect that everyone else around you is going to drop whatever they were doing prior to your situation. Life goes on. Instead of sulking about that, take interest in what’s currently going on with them.

5. Despite everything that happened, you should not take too long in looking for a new job. Don’t even hesitate to use your frustration to fuel your determination of becoming a better career person. Go out there as a new you, the one who knows what to do and acknowledges what he or she did wrong in the past, and does her best to not make the same mistake twice.

Charles Schwab CEO Reveals How He Tests Job Candidates by Taking Them to Breakfast, Having Restaurant Mess Up Their Order

What if there were a way for employers to test out job candidates and compare how each reacts to unpleasant curveballs?

Charles Schwab Corporation CEO Walt Bettinger has created such a system. Earlier this month, he shared his secret with the New York Times.Before every new hire, Bettinger takes candidates out for a breakfast interview. But what the potential employees don’t know is that every time, Bettinger shows up early and asks the restaurant to purposefully mess up the order in exchange for a handsome tip.

Before every new hire, Bettinger takes candidates out for a breakfast interview. But what the potential employees don’t know is that every time, Bettinger shows up early and asks the restaurant to purposefully mess up the order in exchange for a handsome tip.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

For an employer like Bettinger, character is everything. He told the Times that his “wrong order” test is meant to gauge how prospective hires deal with adversity.

“Are they upset, are they frustrated, or are they understanding? Life is like that, and business is like that,” he said.

“It’s just another way to look inside their heart rather than their head,” he explained.

What are the other ways? Before offering candidates a position at the brokerage and banking company, Bettinger asks them to tell him about their greatest successes in life.

“What I’m looking for is whether their view of the world really revolves around others, or whether it revolves around them,” he said. “And I’ll ask then about their greatest failures in their life and see whether they own them or whether they were somebody else’s fault.”

Charles Schwab president and CEO Walt Bettinger. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Charles Schwab President and CEO Walt Bettinger. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)