You need to know how to write a resume…
If only resumes could write themselves, you wouldn’t need to waste your time reading a book. But they don’t, and you do. Except that this book is not a waste of time.
Knock ’em Dead Resumes is a book that follows the idea that one way to conduct a successful job search is to position yourself like a product or business with a future employer as your customer.
If you cannot afford a resume writer this is a solid book with actionable and step-by-step resume writing tips, buy this book.
Why You Should Read This Book:
The key advice or resume writing tip of the book (and I concur) is to primarily target your resume to ONE job, even if you can do multiple. As Martin says, “No one needs a human swiss army knife.”
I’ve unfortunately seen EXACTLY this line on a job seeker’s LinkedIn profile and associated resume.
Don’t be that job seeker. Target your resume. Go after THE job you want. If you cast a wide net, sure lots of jobs may fall in it, but you only *need* one job.
The author’s main intention is to provide you both clarity and a proven box of tools in your quest for your next (or first) job. He believes that as the most financially impactful document in your life, the biggest investment in your future is, in fact, your resume. Indeed, your resume will influence the job you get, and the job you get will contribute to your long-term income potential, so his claim is not so far-fetched.
If you need help to find the best resume writing format and understand how to craft and follow your resume objective, this book is an excellent resource. When you finish the book you will be confident you know how to make a resume.
Yate, Martin. Knock ‘Em Dead Resumes: A Killer Resume Gets MORE Job Interviews!12th ed., Adams Media Corporation, 2016.
Why this book and not another?
This book is overall relevant, actionable and practical.
The techniques and resume writing tips shared are a mix of standard resume writing wisdom and over 40 years of resume writing experience, accented by powerful explanations and exercises help you to focus your resume objective and build a resume that stands out or “Knocks ’em Dead!”
- If you carefully follow Martin’s advice and strategically implement it in your job search and to create your resume, you will learn a valuable life-long skill.
- If you need a resume writing template, he provides multiple versions and styles. You won’t go wrong following one of his resume writing templates.
- If you need resume writing examples from various periods in your career or for a career in transition you will find what you need. Martin provides resume writing examples from many different career choices and periods.
- If you want answers to questions like what is the best “resume objective” and what is the best “resume writing format?” the book will deliver.
Originally published in 1988, completely revised in 2008, be sure to find the most recent version, so that you have the up-to-date and current information (this is a review of the 12th edition from 2016). Resume writing is a rapidly changing field and picking up a decade old book will not serve your goals.
LinkedIn: The Newest of Resume Skills
In today’s market, your resume skills need also to include writing an impactful LinkedIn profile.
And while I didn’t come across any errors or bad advice in the book, the only place I’d offer a critique is the author’s description of LinkedIn and how it is changing the face of the resume and the job search.
We will agree to disagree on the use of the 1st person versus the 3rd person in your LinkedIn profile. I appreciate and see daily the impact of 1st person LinkedIn profiles.
They are conversational and persuasive; when I read a profile written in the first person, I feel like I know the person.
That said for the purpose of optimizing one’s LinkedIn profile if you follow Martin’s advice you won’t go wrong.
Expert Advice: Resume Writing Services
As a resume writing instruction book, Knock Em Dead Resumes is a solid authority. You might read other material regarding how to style your content or discussing the use of 1st or 3rd person, but overall you cannot go wrong with Knock ‘Em Dead Resumes.
Martin is a New York Times bestselling author. So it shouldn’t be surprising that the book is comprehensive walking the job seeker through all aspects of job targeting and resume creation.
He’ll have you identify problems to solve related to your target job, filling out a thorough questionnaire and worksheet that have you outline all pertinent resume content.
He’ll then walk you through creating a professional brand, identify your transferable skills and professional values and then figure out how to demonstrate your mastery. The book provides lists/examples and guides you through the process of putting it all together.
He provides insights and advice into techniques that are likely to bring you the most success. We are in agreement that a combination-style resume is best in today’s job market (over purely functional or purely chronological).
He also provides a questionnaire and template that I highly recommend, the closest thing I’ve seen to practically sharing all his secrets as a resume writer.
One of the best tools in the book is a basic template to collect required info and pieces into a document (master resume) that you can later use cut and paste into your chosen resume template.
Who Will Benefit Most from the Resume Writing Tips in this Book?
The book is written primarily for those following a traditional career path but covers techniques to help those in job transition.
Sample resumes included are for:
If this is your first resume or you haven’t written a resume in
As an experienced and successful resume writer, I will endorse an investment in this book and tell you that tossing $$ at an online resume mill is a simple waste of time.
Why? This book walks you through your work history, Martin asks you tough questions, he makes you do the work and the associated research to accurately target your resume. He provides the support and effective formats for different types of work and situations.
That said, hiring a strategic resume writer can be immensely useful, just be make sure to hire someone like Martin or me, who takes the time to walk you through all the steps in this book (or their own process) and then also provides you the value of their guidance and experience.
Again: Don’t Waste Money On a Resume Mill
Resume writing is not easy nor should it be. If you want a job you love, you need to invest some time and effort in your resume and your job search.
A $150 resume writer might spend one or two hours organizing your work experience, writing a summary and tossing in a handful of “action” verbs to make you sound fabulous, but in this amount of time, it is highly unlikely that they will create a compelling resume.
Indeed, they will follow your guidance, and if you don’t yet know your own weakness, or if you have not yet taken the time to target your job search appropriately, your resume will still fall flat.
A better option? Learn how to do it yourself.
Read it, follow Martin’s instructions and take a few weeks or a month to carefully and strategically write your resume.
I have interviewed, hired, and coached 1000s of employees. With over 20+ years of progressive experience in hiring, training, interviewing, staff development, and coaching I know how to maximize your resume and LinkedIn profile to engage your target audience.
On LinkedIn since 2005, I’ve watched the network grow and influence the field of resume writing and the overall career search process.
Today, my focus is helping people to find their next career — to turn their career into a purpose-driven calling.
A powerful resume can be part of this process, which is why I hold live, personalized one-on-one professional narrative workshops in which I guide you to write the best resume for the job of your dreams.
Alison Rakoto is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Of