Professorial Advice: Dr. James Modlin

By Katherine Segovia,
Stillman News Writer

While resume writing is a tricky task for most, it is a necessary step in securing a job. James Modlin, an instructor in the Stillman School of Business’ management department, calls resume writing an art and asks that his students work on their resumes during the first few classes.

When writing a resume, Modlin said, it is best to stick to one or two pages, depending on the extent of the applicant’s experience. He said one should think of that one-page resume as the front page of a newspaper and prioritize their experience.

“Think about, ‘Where is the headline for that edition?’ It’s at the top of the page, where people’s eyes automatically go to,” Modlin said. “Take your resume, fold it in half, look at the top half and then look at the bottom half. Make sure the top half is really catching their attention. That’s where you want to have the big stuff.”

Modlin said the purpose of a resume is not necessarily to get hired, but to get an interview.
Once an interview is secured, it is important to prove yourself to the hiring manager.

As a former hiring manager, Modlin said first impressions are one of the most crucial moments of an interview.

“First impressions are key. Generally, within less than the first minute that I have spoken with a person, I sort of have an idea if we’re going to go any further,” he said.

Once the interview is over, Modlin said, one should be polite, thank the interviewer for the opportunity and to come across as positive and excited without being pushy.

“If you’re not excited about this job, I’m not sure if I’m going to be excited about you. So be excited. Be authentic. Reemphasize that, ‘This sounds like a great opportunity. I really think I would be a good fit in this organization. I really think I’d be able to make a difference. I’m really looking forward to it,’” Modlin said.

Modlin also advises that the interviewee send a handwritten or emailed thank you note and to inquire what the next steps are.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 22nd print edition.

Contact Dr. Modlin at

Contact Katherine at


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