I’ve been asked to review some resumes recently and I was amazed at how sad and uninspiring they were.
One resume included the fact that the job seeker was laid off recently, and that they organized a manager’s files. Another said the person answered phones and acted as a sales clerk. The resume also included a temporary and permanent address.
First off, no one wants to know the soap opera of your life in your resume. Leave off the layoff story and the variety of addresses. Pick one address for god’s sake. And come to think of it, don’t include your address on the resume at all. Your phone number and email address is just fine.
Secondly, you need to juice up the descriptions on your resume. ‘Answered phones’ isn’t going to cut it in this job market.
Are you reading the news? Thousands of layoffs were announced just this week — Microsoft, Williams-Sonoma, Huntsman Corp., Sun Microsystems, only a few of the companies slicing and dicing.
You need to stand out people, not put the hiring manager to sleep.
Am I advocating lying on your resume? Not quite. But let’s put on some rose-colored glasses and describe what you did in more flowery terms, even if you were bored to tears while you were doing your job.
Remember the character Dwayne Schneider from the 1970s sitcom “One Day at a Time”? He called himself a “custodial engineer”, aka, janitor.
Here are some examples of flowering up your resume:
“Organized a manager’s files” could read: “Office organizational expert”.
“Answered phones” could easily transform into “information and communications disseminator.”
And “acted as a sales clerk” should be trashed for “handled hands-on customer interaction and boosted company sales.”
You get what I mean, right? No lies, just a bit of fine tuning.
I’ve also seen many of you using numbers on your resume when they actually work against you. Don’t say you worked on three projects, or wrote ten stories. This does not sound great if you’ve been with a company for some time. Leave out the numbers unless you can say something like, “I managed a staff of 500″ or “I saved the firm $3 million by revamping the communications system.”
In a recession, any reference you can make to saving a company money will get you moved to the top of the resume pile.
It’s time to put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. Will your resume bore him or her to tears? Come on, read it closely right now.
Would you want to hire you?