Your Resume: Pack it Right!

I am so excited to partner with CalAgJobs as a resume writer and career coach. For this inaugural blog post, here’s some comprehensive advice in the form of a story to illustrate your strategy for resume composition. 

Your Resume: Pack it Right!

Once there was a very creative recruiter who thought of a novel way to screen job applicants. In preparation for his tropical vacation, he requested candidates to submit a fully packed carry-on suitcase instead of a resume.  He provided the location of his vacation so each applicant could thoroughly research what was necessary. The best-packed suitcases would demonstrate the applicant’s understanding of his needs and would score an interview.

On the job posting’s closing date, the recruiter found 300 suitcases in his office. He swiftly evaluated them. Suitcases in poor condition or with spelling errors on tags were immediately discarded. Over-sized ones, which were not carry-ons, were rejected for non-compliance.

Among the remaining, some appeared promising externally but contained disorganized or irrelevant items, indicating a lack of research regarding the recruiter’s destination. Unfortunately, suitcases with useful items buried under unnecessary ones were also eliminated due to the recruiter’s time constraint.

Resumes as Suitcases

Of the 300 suitcases submitted, there were five in his “yes” pile, and here’s what these bags had in common; they were:

  • The correct size for a carry on; these applicants followed directions for what to submit.
  • Clean and neat. It was obvious the packer took great care to provide the best presentation.
  • Packed with the most important items placed on top, immediately creating a strong impression of the applicant.
  • Packed with only relevant items. These applicants researched what the recruiter would need on his vacation and selected only items that would be useful to him.
  • Easy to understand. In a few of the “yes” bags were odd items, such as a pair of hiking boots which seemed out of place for a beach vacation. However, there was a note attached that read, “There are beautiful mountains near your destination, you won’t want to miss exploring them; these will make your hike comfortable, enjoyable and more efficient, as you will be able to climb the mountains swiftly and pain-free,” making it clear why they were included and highlighting the benefit for the recruiter.

Learn From Your Own Resume

Moral of the story… when “packing” your resume, follow instructions for how to submit it, make it neat and easy to read, and put the most important items on top. Include only relevant information and if it isn’t clear why it’s relevant, explain.

In later blog posts, I’ll provide additional strategies for effective resumes and other career search advice, but for now, keep this story in mind. Best wishes job seekers and enjoy all your journeys, whether they be to tropical destinations or to the job that’s right for you. Check out for more free content and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to be in the loop!

Jodie Rettinhouse