Resume and Interview Tips from a Recruiter

Recruiter Dave Benach has some more words of wisdom to share with FWJ readers:

Now, drilling down a bit more to specific qualifications, here’s what I look for when reviewing a resume:

Category Experience

It’s great that you’ve written 79 marketing slicks for a large law firm, describing every practice area they serve in detail. At least, it’s great if I’m looking to hire a writer with legal experience! If I’m sourcing for a writer, I want you to come to me with prior experience crafting similar kind of content. Given current market conditions, no hiring manager wants to go on an adventure with someone unproven and untested in their specific area of business. So, accept the fact that you can’t be everything to everyone, and focus your applications on your core competencies.

Proof is in the Pudding

Show me targeted samples of work. If the job requisition calls for a writer with experience in the pharma/biotech industry, include some samples of the materials you wrote for a drug manufacturer, targeting both patients and physicians. Then sprinkle in some of your other samples to show me you’re capable of a variety of styles, and we’re in business. If you do not have samples that are relevant to the job posting, you can be assured of a polite, but very clear, “no, thank you” note.

Share Samples You’re Proud Of

Please, PLEASE do not send me work that’s mediocre, simply because it has a big brand name attached to it. If I bring you in for an interview, I want you to be excited about the work you’re presenting. Nothing turns me off like a candidate who’s ho-hum about their own work.

Fresh Samples Please

Make sure your samples are current. Honestly, I don’t care you wrote the user manual for PageMill 1.0. Work begins to look dated after 3-5 years, so keep it fresh.

Finally, some pointers on the interview. These are nothing but common sense, but are all based on repeated experiences in an interview setting (they also make for good stories over drinks):

  • Arrive 10 minutes early.
  • Bring a neatly-designed book with your samples.
  • Dress business casual/elegant.
  • Don’t wear excessive jewelry or perfume.
  • Spit out your gum before you walk in the door.
  • Turn your cell phone off. OFF off. Not on vibrate, shriek-like-a-schoolgirl-when-it-goes-off-in-your-pocket off.
  • Bring enough copies of your resume for everyone you’re scheduled to meet, and 3 extra copies should they pull people in at the last minute.
  • And finally, please do NOT show excessive skin/cleavage.

Dave Benach currently works as a recruiter in the advertising and marketing industry. In his spare time, he’s learning what it means to be an Internet publisher. You can read up on his efforts at






3 responses
  1. Suzanne Levison Avatar
    Suzanne Levison

    Oh..and turn off your cell phone before walking in the door to meet clients or search consultant.

    Treat everyone you meet prior to and after the interview as if they were a company employee

  2. Phil Avatar

    I enjoy shrieking like a school girl 🙂

  3. Kristen Bennett Avatar

    It’s nice to hear a recuriter’s perspective for a change! Good insider perspective.

    A couple of Don’ts that might also be helpful are about questions–Asking no questions at all can kill and interview, as it looks like the jobseeker just isn’t interested in the position as anything other than a mere paycheck. However, asking the wrong questions, such as automatically inquiring about salaray and paid leave and so forth, can be just as damaging. There’s a full list and article here–

    –for more information. The article comes from, which is a job board that offers 1.5 million job postings, along with tips on resumes, interview preparation, career advice, and so sorth. It’s free to sign up; I’m sure it will be helpful to others who are reading.

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