2.13.2008

Feeling better about my own resume all the time

I'm collecting resumes at work for a part-time position. So far I've received about 3,475,011. Because it looks like everyone wants to work at a library. I wondered how I was going to be able to weed them down to an acceptable number, but as soon as I started looking at the resumes I realized that some people are going to make it very easy for me to remove theirs from the pile.

Here are some of the things I'm learning. May they be helpful to you in your own job searches.

If you hand-deliver your resume, it's a good idea to wear something semi-nice. And to be polite. Also, in this case it's actually a good idea to drop it off in person, because if we get a good impression of you then we write a little note on the resume before adding it to the 6-ton filing folder.

You don't lose points for not writing a cover letter or using nice paper. But those things do earn extra points and make your resume stand out favorably. I guess I'm shallow like that.

When I tell you that you need to bring in a resume, giving me a deer-in-the-headlights stare and telling me you don't have one is not a good idea. Because I'm not actually going to waive that.

Each section of your resume does not need its own page--if your resume is 4 pages or longer it had better be because you have 45 years of relevant experience, including Queen of the World.

Please do not use more than 6 different fonts in a resume. It makes my brain leak out my ears. Also? White space can be very important in contributing to the overall look and readability of your resume. Please try to include some.

On the subject of font and eye strain, something larger than 8 point is preferable, thank you. As much as I love me some sexy librarian glasses, I prefer to wear them for cosmetic reasons--not because I actually need them.

I am so over that generic Objectives section. Just scratch that. It adds nothing.

You might want to consider a grown-up email address. Something with the word "whatever" in it does not give me great confidence in your work ethic. Neither does "lazy," "sexy," or anything to do with pop music stars.

Your resume should not include adhesive tape, white-out, edits written in pen, or any combination of these things.

Please do not submit a photocopy of the resume you created 20 years ago, even if you took the time to fill in your current information with pen and post-it notes. Yes, I'm sure you did get rid of your computer and printer when you moved, but I'm betting you could have figured something out.

Anybody have any others?

22 comments:

TOWR said... [reply]

"I am so over that generic Objectives section. Just scratch that. It adds nothing."

I cannot tell you how many of my friends have asked me to review their resumes, and I have told all of them to bag the objectives section. "It's a big load of crap--everybody knows what your objective is: get a job with that company. Let's not blow smoke up their @$$. They know better. Let's give them a little credit."

I've also recommended that people include a more professional email address. ;)

Desmama said... [reply]

Gadzooks. DesDad had to go through resumes a while back for a position at his work and he brought a few home. I was ready to toss them all, they were all just awful. It was kind of . . . amazing.

Valli said... [reply]

Yes, Objectives section does no one any good. I recently reviewed a resume that used three types of bullets and just as many spacing variations. It didn't accentuate anything it was just distracting.

Jon Boy said... [reply]

I'll take the font thing a couple steps further: you really don't need more than two.

Also be aware that everyone already knows about tricks like leaving off dates to cover up gaps in employment. I think it's best to be up-front and have an explanation ready. Most people are aware that changing jobs every few years is common and that it's also fairly common to be laid off and be out of work for quite a while.

bawb said... [reply]

Each section of your resume does not need its own page--if your resume is 4 pages or longer it had better be because you have 45 years of relevant experience, including Queen of the World.

No kidding. If the first page of a resume doesn't convince me, the rest isn't going to change my mind.

BEFore said... [reply]

After you've narrowed it to an interview pool, do you plan on Googleing the names? Apparently that's common nowadays.

On that note, have you ever Googled yourself? It's always funny to see where you do (and don't) show up.

G said... [reply]

Hi, I've been lurking...

I would add that once you're a grown up with college and/or real work experience, it's time to ditch that "Outstanding Student" certificate you got in the 5th grade. I mean really, no one cares if you got some silly award in high school anymore unless it's SUPER relevant.

Kelly said... [reply]

Wow. Just wow.

Not that this has any relevance, but I've been told recently that the whole "Interests" section is coming back into fashion. For awhile, career people were telling me not to use it, but now it's seen as a way for people to remember you. That is, if you have interesting interests. One guy remembered me two months after our first 20 minute interview as "the swimmer."

abby said... [reply]

I never liked the objective section but I had friends tell me to put it in my resume. I got jobs with it and without it. I use the resume wizard in Word and have at least three people read it over for me.

Azúcar said... [reply]

Nemesis, I laughed hard at this one. I’ve been either in HR or a manager for ten years now. You would not believe some of the resumes that I’ve had the privilege of tossing. I can pick a great resume out in a snap, and a bad one out even faster. Here are my tips:

1. Unless you are really, really, really, ridiculously good looking, DO NOT attach a photo of yourself to the resume. Even then, don’t. Seriously, I had a number of uglies attach their photos, not a good move. If I can’t even stand to look at the pic you attached, I’m not hiring you.
2. Don’t use stupid paper for your resume. Anything with rainbows, or hearts, pastel pink, or space-themed is NOT a good idea.
3. Don’t put personal, confidential, or illegal for me to ask information on your resume. This means your height, weight, orientation, race, age, marital status. You might think you are being helpful, but if we decide not to hire you, you could sue us because you included information that could be used in a discriminatory manner. Your resume will get tossed and we won’t even tell you why.
4. Do run your resume through spellchecker. Because if you write “Detial oriented,” you’re not, and I won’t hire you.

The email thing drives me nuts. Get a new email address; they’re free and I guarantee you won’t get an offer letter sent to spankitcathyawesome@whatever.

Maggie said... [reply]

How about these:

Please spell check your resume. Also have a smart friend or relative check for errors such "there" when you mean "their."

Do not tell me your hobbies. I don't give a damn what you do for fun as long as you do your job.

Miss Hass said... [reply]

Ah, I do not miss the days of sorting sh***y resumes for my boss. I never gave her the ones with glaring typos, irrelevant work experience and cover letters addressed to the wrong person (really, is it that difficult to double check the job?).

I think in a lot of cases a cover letter can be helpful--especially in explaining gaps in employment.

Also, I hated seeing job descriptions such as 'answered telephones'. We ALL know what a receptionist does. What did you do as a receptionist that sets you apart from every other person with the same job description? Did you maintain the calendar for the entire office? Did you also plan parties as a part of that job? Did you have to make up lies for your crazy boss whenever she was late for a meeting? (Maybe don't include that one.)

As for interests, if they're relevant go for it. Like if you're applying for a maintenance job and you really enjoy cabinetry work...relevant. If you're applying for a receptionist position and you like stripping on the weekends...irrelevant and SO not getting you that job.

Hannah said... [reply]

Whoa. I can't believe people turned in resumes with those things! Good luck with that...

Rynell said... [reply]

I am also "so over that generic Objectives" section.

I have edited and sifted way too many resumes. Let me just say, if it can't be condensed into one page, most potential employers absolutely will not consider it. Only the relevant stuff is actually important.

And no photos, not stupid symbols (bullets are bullets, mini-hearts are not bullets), no weird colored paper or font colors. No excessive use of varied fonts.

It should be my personal cause to create acceptable, even outstanding resumes for people. I cannot handle seeing any more resume atrocities.

Kelton said... [reply]

It costs about $8 to buy a domain with an e-mail account at places like Godaddy. You can even set it to permanently forward to your "jgdragonmaster666@aol.com" account, but it looks a lot more professional to have something like: mail@keltonbaker.com (mine)


As a real estate agent, it always blows my mind to see new agents with their newly- minted business cards having a generic or even stupid email addresses. Can anyone take you seriously as a professional when your email is pinkhairbarbie29@yahoo.com?

blackjazz said... [reply]

I have to admit that I haven't needed to update my "resume" (or CV as we call them on the other side of the pond) for quite a while.

I've worked for quite a lot of companies and I think it's important to list everywhere I've worked, but that would make the document too long. The way round it I used was to list on the front page a summary of my employment history - one job, one line. Then the rest of the pages (not too many of them) provide more information on each job. The most recent positions are first and tend to offer the most detail. I agree about the education thing. The only thing I make clear nowadays is that I do have an honours degree.

On the other points, I've never included "Objectives" on my CV and never been asked what they were or why I hadn't included them. So I agree with that one!

I'm not so sure about listing interests though. I can see that they may not be relevant, but so what? They can prompt a casual discussion (which can be valuable) and, depending on what they are, they can indicate that the candidate is a well-rounded individual with social skills. I wouldn't list weekend stripping... but sporting interests, gardening, musical ability and lots more things is, I think, worthwhile.

Good point from Azúcar about personal information. I'll make sure I don't include that next time. You learn something every day...

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

I'm am just laughing so hard. And now I'm opening Word and checking my resume. I'm not even looking for a job. Although I think I'd make a great part time librarian.

jeri said... [reply]

I think the MS Resume Wizard shouldn't allow you to change the font to anything but Times or Ariel. If you're putting the whole thing in Comic Sans, it should automatically catch on fire to save you the trouble or bringing it in.

Don't turn in resumes that are (or have been at any time) very wet. That's disturbing. Print it out again.

A girl ahead of me for an interview once had a blue, fuzzy cowboy hat on. The position was for a receptionist, and not a pole dancer. I was glad she was first in line because I got to collect the extra brownie points for being in a skirt and blouse.

N.F. said... [reply]

A friend just recently told me to scratch the Objective part on mine...so glad to read here that many others agree!

Rachie said... [reply]

I was the assistant manager at my last job and had to weed through the crappy resumes so my manager didn't. I can't tell you the things I've seen in resumes that I seriously wanted to call the person in for an interview just to ask them WHY they'd put such things on them.

For example, I once had a girl notate that she owned steel toe boots under the "Skills" heading. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? The next thing in regard to the objectives section...I had some one list "Anything you've got available". Oy.

I agree about the resume being very long as well. I don't need to know that in 1987, you worked the cash register at McDonald's. I think the last three or four jobs are acceptable, personally. I really hate resumes.

chosha said... [reply]

I was a research assistant for a while and the professor I worked for had me print out his resume for him. It was 46 pages long!!!! In this case it was appropriate for the job, because it was his full academic resume, so it included all the books and journal articles he'd had published and all the conferences he'd spoken at, that kind of thing. But 46 pages!

I was floored, too, by how much he'd already done in his life. At that stage my CV fit on one page without me even trying.

April said... [reply]

I, too, hate the objectives section. It's a waste of valuable selling space!

I've looked over several people's resumes over the years, and they always look at me like I'm crazy when I demand they cut it down to one page. Yet, who always lands the job? Moi.

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