The Corporate Influence on Private Service Resumes

Private Service resumes are a unique animal. Principals want to know who you are as a person, which used to mean very detailed descriptions of our private lives. Yet the past few years has seen the evolution of the private service resume as more of the principal’s family office or HR department becomes involved in the hiring process. As such, your resume should adopt some of the corporate tactics. Try these four tricks to catch the interest of the screeners:

Concise Profile Section

Previously, your Profile might have included where you grew up, number of siblings, religious affiliation, marital status and other very personal details. This kind of disclosure can make HR people very uncomfortable; legally, they can’t ask you these kinds of things and don’t understand why you’re saying this stuff.

What they really want to know is why you want to do this job. Not everyone understands your passion for service, and making a strong statement about your personal satisfaction is a powerful tactic. Next, they want to know your work style. Are you reserved, or are you more extroverted? Are you a strong leader who can take direction? You may include where you grew up here, but make sure it relates to your work style. For example, a Brooklyn native has a very different style than a PA from Los Angeles.

There are times when a potential employer will want a complete biography. In this case, make it a stand-alone document, not part of your resume. This gives you the freedom to submit it when requested.


Listed Skill Set

In corporate resumes, key words are essential because HR departments screen people based on skill sets listed in job descriptions. In private service, the same thing happens. Solid skills such as “management of up to 10 staff members, event planning for 100 guests and gourmet-quality chef” belong in a bulleted skill set section, usually on the first page of your resume. This helps both the screeners and the principals to appreciate your value right away.

Wondering what to include in your skills set? Review the job descriptions to get a sense for the desired traits and abilities that employers want. In corporate resumes, we match the exact phrases to survive a computerized screening process. For example, if their job description states “proficient in Microsoft Office” but your resume states “skilled in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint,” the computer may screen out because the terms don’t match. In private service this is less likely to happen because most agencies tend to review the resumes personally. However, keep in mind that if the hiring is being managed by the corporate HR team, your resume stands a good chance of being screened by the computers before a human ever sees it.


Professional Associations

Including your professional associations is very important on your resume, especially with more corporate recruiters getting involved in private staffing. As mentioned, they don’t understand our industry. Showing involvement with an association gives credibility to private service as a whole. Remember to list the organization out by full name, not just acronyms, along with their website.


Completed LinkedIn profile has become a go-to resource for recruiters over the years. It is standard practice for the HR department to review a candidate’s LinkedIn profile before scheduling an interview. In fact, many recruiters will use LinkedIn to source candidates without even advertising the job.

While your profile should be complete, remember to maintain your employers’ information absolutely confidential. This goes beyond just stating the employers as “Confidential Private Family.” Think about the details that could inadvertently reveal details about your principals’ private lives. This could be the size of the property, number of children, their occupation, number of residences, and so on.

LinkedIn gives us the opportunity to share more information that would be seen as inappropriate on a traditional corporate resume. For example, most HR departments are not comfortable with seeing a candidate’s picture on their resume, even though this is a standard practice in private service. By giving the URL link to your LinkedIn profile, you can share your photo in a way that is acceptable to the corporate environment. The same is true for hobbies, interests, and charities you support.

About Donna Shannon

Donna Shannon, President of The Personal Touch Career Services, is one of the few career coaches who understands the unique nature of the private service industry. Drawing from both her corporate recruitment and luxury market placement experience, she has been helping job seekers with professional writing services, job search consultations and classes since 2004. Her book “How to Get a Job Without Going Crazy” (2nd Edition, 2012) is available on Donna is based in Denver, Colorado, and works with job seekers across the country and abroad.

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