Education Career Services

March 16, 2009

Continued: Paper Equals Perception

For anyone who may be a tad confused, the following is a continuation of our previous submission….check it out and become caught up before continuing this submission.


What I see must be the logical choice. In the world of perception, what does the element of sight “see” on the page?


Spacing: is the white space symmetrical, reader-friendly, and comfortable (too much white space indicates waste or diminished skill; if not reader-friendly would one even bother to review; is the reader comfortable with the look or are the words or margins cramped with too much information)

Tone: is your tone assertive and confident (using passive verbs indicates a passive character or work ethic)

Balance: are you prioritizing value and maximizing the hot zone (placing key strengths and bottom-line results at or near the bottom of the page is not effective as you have the readers attention for approximately 12 to 15 seconds)

Focus: are you in control (do the readers have to guess intention? If so, you are telling a potential employee you are looking for an interim job and not a committed career)

Objectivity: just the facts, please (by using a first person approach, you introduce emotion and subjectivity—not necessarily a positive)

Metrics: show the reader what you deliver by showcasing quantifiable accomplishments (saying you are a team leader, in and of itself, means nothing. How many individuals or departments did you oversee, what was the challenge, your action, the result, and are any programs you initiated currently in use)


With each class, with each training session, and with each faculty development program, what and how something is written is much more powerful than what is actually said. Simple errors on print display more than a misspelled word. One mistake creates a perception of complacency or of one not being detail-oriented or sloppy. Another example my professor described of how one error changes perception was as follows (and this one I do remember): “While at a local IHOP, I ordered a stack of pancakes and cup of juice. Friends ordered omelets and coffee. When the waitress returned with the stack, I noticed there were no bottles of honey. Once the young waitress returned, I leaned into her area and asked ‘if she could give me some, honey.’ Unfortunately I paused between the words ‘some’ and ‘honey’ (notice the comma). The waitress was rather upset.”


Examining the statement causing the tension, the waitress perceived my request as inappropriate while that was never the intent. Consequently, we truly are what others believe us to be! Leading me to ask, what does your résumé portray?


Developing marketing materials, catching one’s work ethic, character, and persona can be most challenging. As our career blog progresses, you will be (re)introduced to concepts, designs, and tips to assist you in paving your career management success not only for the student of today, but for the executives of tomorrow.


Maybe I should have paid closer attention during graduate school?



Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

Education Career Services:

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