Recently, I spoke with Christopher Baker, owner of Christopher Baker Staffing, about some of the latest trends in resumes for private service professionals, specifically Estate Managers, Household Managers, Personal Assistants and Butlers. As most people know, this unique industry requires some unique features on the resumes – usually factors that you would never see on a traditional business resume.
Reasons for Leaving
“I think everyone should have two versions of their resume,” stated Chris. “One that’s of normal length, and one that is longer and includes the reasons for leaving a former employer. This really helps agencies, so that we don’t have to scramble through an application while on the phone with a potential employer. They always want to know why someone left, and it helps the recruiter to have that available right on the resume.”
The reasons for leaving don’t have to dominate the resume. “Even something as simple as one sentence in italics at the end of the bulleted duties – and yes, I like the bulleted format – that’s all you need to put,” said Chris.
The Full Professional Experience
In the business world, it is common to limit the professional experience on a resume to 10 – 15 years. However, private service requires a more in-depth view of the work experience. In fact, since many household management professionals enter into the industry as a second career, knowing the previous background is especially important.
I will see a resume of someone with 8 to 10 years’ experience as a household manager, but then you know that they are 50 years old. People have whole other careers before private service, and our employers want to know about it,” stated Chris.
In corporate environments, pictures on resumes would be inappropriate. However, in private service, they are the standard. Several years ago, the standard was to dress in a full suit for the resume picture to give an impression of professionalism. Yet, according to Mr. Baker, the standards have shifted.
“I realize that pictures can be a delicate issue, but they are a standard practice in the industry,” said Chris. “A suit can be ok, but it works better if the candidate looks really approachable. For men, that may be a button up shirt and jacket, but no tie. Women, well, they shouldn’t look like the men. So no stuffy business suit, but no too casual either. You want to look comfortable with yourself, pleasant and alert. “
One of the biggest changes in private service in the past few years is the rise of computer skills. More and more employers are demanding excellent use of Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, iPads, smart phones – not to mention custom software for household systems, such as Smart Home technology.
“On the resume, people really need to list all the computer programs they know, and how well. Don’t leave it to be assumed – if you don’t tell us what you can do, we can’t promote you properly to the employers,” stated Chris.
Do You Have Principals or Principles?
“It’s my number one pet peeve,” sighed Chris. “It seems like 99% of the candidates confuse ‘principal’ and ‘principle’…”
Here’s a trick I learned in school: the principal is a “Prince of a Pal” – ending the word with ‘-pal’ is the designation for a person.
The Letter of Introduction
“My top candidates are the ones that write a phenomenal letter of introduction,” emphasized Chris. “Even better, they should write it themselves. This is your opportunity to give me a real writing sample – one that I do forward on to the employers. You can get a framework or template for your letter, but ultimately, the candidate needs to write that letter. It’s like creating a beautiful frame for your resume.”
By and large, most agencies want to receive your resume as a Word document. Practically every agency will transfer your information into their own template, or at least remove your contact information. If it is sent as a PDF or has lots of complex formatting, this makes it difficult for the agency to present you.
More about Christopher Baker Staffing
Christopher Baker, owner of Christopher Baker Staffing, has spent the last 13 years in the private service staffing business, first as a national recruiter and account executive for the nation’s foremost retained search firm specializing in private service for high net-worth families and their offices. Since 2004, Chris has led his own Los Angeles-based company, Christopher Baker Staffing. Christopher Baker Staffing enjoys a reputation of providing personalized and discreet staffing on a contingency basis for clients throughout the country.
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