Resume Help/Need help?


Hi Dr Converse,

I came on the site thinking I needed to find out some things about applying for a job.  But now, I'm not so sure.  What is wrong with simply finding the right job for me and then filling out the application?  It doesn't seem that complicated.


Hi Frank,

The process may not "seem that complicated" but it only seems that way.  The process is just as complex as doing anything else well.  Try to think of job searching this way: you are looking for a job that you believe you will like and for which you are qualified.  You think your next step is to present yourself to the employer and let them make a decision.  But what you are missing is that for your application to even have a chance at being successful, you must present yourself in the most positive way you can.  Many years ago, one expert in our field noted that the job does not always go to the person who is most qualified, but rather to the person who knows the most about how to get hired.  If you believe that simply sending in an application makes you the one who knows the most about how to get hired, you are not being realistic.

If you were going to school and had an exam to take, would you go into the exam without studying?  If you had a band, would you simply book a gig and play in public without ever having rehearsed?  You get my point.  Every endeavor that is worthwhile needs preparation, and that includes looking for a job.

In this case, "preparation" means researching the employer to find out everything you can about them, it means telling the employer SPECIFICALLY why you are the best candidate to meet the needs that they have, it means preparing your documents in ways that respond EXACTLY to what the employer is seeking, it means you have practiced responses to the likely interview questions until you can make your replies without a lot of "well," "uh," and "mmm."  And it means preparing in so many other ways.

One of the reasons many people are unemployed today is not so much that there aren't jobs.  People are being hired every day all over the country.  The reason is that many of those who are applying are simply unprepared to do so - and many of them don't even realize it.  Preparation is the key, Frank.  Unless you do your homework, prepare, practice, and educate yourself about the process, you are going to get beat by better-prepared competitors every time.

I hope this helps.  If you'd like a free review of your resume, cover letter, etc., send them to me at the address below as attachments to an email.  I'll be happy to give you some feedback.

Best wishes,

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Ralph D. Converse, Ph.D.


I can answer questions about general job searches, resume construction, crafting an effective cover letter, and how to prepare for, and conduct, a winning interview. My speciality is the field of education, but I also have extensive background in business and administration. I know what works and what doesn't work and I can make your application package stand out from the rest ... because that is what you have to do.


I have interviewed for, and held, dozens of jobs in a career going back more than 42 years. I have taught at all educational levels including middle school, high school, community college, and university. In more than 42 years of experience on both sides of the job-search process, I have interviewed hundreds of applicants and have reviewed literally tens of thousands of job application packages. I am the author of 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them! I conduct workshops for job seekers in a variety of locations every year.

Music Educator's Journal, Teaching Music, Music and American Culture (forthcoming, 2013), Last Teacher Standing: The Job is Yours Now! and 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them!

B.A. New Mexico State University; M.Mus. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D. University of California and University of North Texas

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