A really good candidate calls me and sends in his resume. Now I appreciate the anxiety and difficulty that people have in finding a job, let alone writing a resume, etc., but this guy’s got more than 20 years of sales and sales management experience. I looked at his resume and had to ask him, “Did you pay money for this?”
The very first page and a half… a whole page and a half…was written in 10 point characters. It is tremendously busy with nowhere near enough white space. The “content” of this first page and a half began with things like “self-motivated… assertive… confident… personable/likable… fast-paced… complex (not sure what that means)… collaborative… committed to professional growth… effective… productive under pressure”, etc. These were followed by comments like, “leadership philosophy, do your best and have fun… making things happen…strong strategic account planning and execution with creative approach to problem solving… tenacious drive.” And on the first page there were nine text boxes that had things like, “new market development and growth… up selling… cross-selling… C-level sales presentations…” in them. Even Starbucks isn’t this busy on Saturday morning at 8 AM.
In the middle of the second page he begins his “professional experience.” He provides NO dates… you read right …NO dates of employment for each one of the experiences he describes. He describes what each company does but does NOT give the name of the last five companies that he’s worked for. He describes them with things like, “business intelligence and analytics software firm,”… “This billion-dollar company that provides electronic design automation software.” NO dates and NO names of companies. No wonder he isn’t getting any interviews.
I could go on and on but I’m sure you get the picture. For what it’s worth, the observations get worse. This fellow paid $500 to have somebody write this. Unbelievable!
Any reasonable businessperson should be able to write their own resume. Some resume writers really know what they’re doing and some don’t. Here is the challenge that resume writers have – none of them really ever found anyone a job. They may write a seemingly good resume but they don’t really find anyone a job. They often write resumes that they think hiring authorities and companies want to see. They will tell most consumers that their customers “like” the resumes they write. This fellow, a very accomplished twenty-year sales veteran, should’ve been able to see that this resume wasn’t going to get him anywhere. What a candidate thinks of her resume and what a resume writer thinks of the resume they write may not have anything to do with what the hiring authority might want in a resume.
Here are a few basic points about resumes that keep it simple
People don’t care about your “professional summary,” “objective,” etc. They care about, “what can you do for me TODAY!” Remember that whoever is reading your resume doesn’t really “read” your resume. They scan your resume to see if they know the companies you worked for, what you did at those companies in terms they understand and what your performance was. It’s that simple. 99% of the people who initially look at your resume DON’T READ IT!! They scan it. If they see what they like, they set it aside and either really read it later or simply call you for an interview. It’s that simple! Just because, for instance, you know what your company, ABC, Inc. does, does not mean the resume reader will know what ABC, Inc. does. There are 1.7 million businesses in the United States and I guarantee you very few of them state what they do in their name.
There are thousands of books and articles about resumes. I’ve written one of those books and a number of articles. Some of the folks that write them know what they’re doing and some don’t. Use common sense. Ask yourself, “is this resume going to compete well with the 180 other resumes the hiring authority is going to be sent? Does it tell people who I’ve worked for, what they do and how successful I was?”
I told my candidate he ought to ask for his $500 back. Probably should’ve minded my own business.