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Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Your Resume is Speaking
I see hundreds of resumes a week that have been submitted for review to our firm. I rarely meet these people although I do get to know many of them when they contract with us to have their resumes professionally written. In fact, I get to know some clients very well because they return to us year after year for updates, they refer their friends and colleagues, and even sometimes send Christmas presents!

I’ve notice over the years that resumes “speak” about their owners. It’s not necessarily a matter of words but rather a matter of seeing the thought, or lack of thought, that is behind the words. For example, a resume that is sent to us that contains a picture of the job seeker tells me the job seeker is either not seeking a job in the United States or is ignorant of the hiring laws here that disallow pictures.

Here are a few things that resumes “say” about their owners:

Stuck in the 70’s. I see so many resumes that look like they were written before computers. They follow the old style of large left margin, plain typeface, no design elements, etc. Sometimes, they will have “Confidential Resume” at the top. Most of the time, these resumes are written by people who have several years of experience with one company and haven’t had to worry about a resume in a very long time.

NOT detail-oriented. Spelling and other mechanical mistakes occasionally occur in resumes, usually because people have come to rely on spell-check and don’t pay attention to proper proofreading. When it becomes a problem is when the owner of the resume has proudly declared him- or herself “detail-oriented” in the summary section. A programmer that does not catch syntax mistakes would give any potential employer a reason for concern.

Knows the value of first impressions. I will occasionally see a resume that has good design elements and is appealing to the eye. I recently saw one that was very nicely done with a color border at the top, good use of margin for pull-out sections, and had excellent organization. Unfortunately, that’s not common.

Knows how to use Adobe Acrobat. I just love pdf formats for resumes. The reason is because I know they will open without anything screwy happening to the format when it defaults to my system specifications. Recruiters like them too. I don’t know how many times I’ve opened a Word resume and the resume’s owner had left the track changes button on so all the edits showed on the final document. The Template Wizard is another frequent pop-up on documents. Put it in a pdf and you don’t have to worry about it.

Bob’s Resume.doc. Bob? Bob who? How many resumes of Bobs have I seen? Just the name of the file tells me if the owner has thought of the end-viewer or not. When someone thinks about the presentation, I know that person would be someone who would think about the presentation made to the interviewer or on behalf of the new employer to customers. Resume file names that don’t have both first and last names are like cans of soup with the labels removed. You never know what you are going to get until you open it.

Probably the most important thing a resume says is whether or not the owner cares enough about his/her career success to invest in a great marketing document. That investment can come in the form of hiring a professional to prepare it or simply come in the form of hours and hours devoted to strategizing and developing a great resume. That investment can also come in the form of knowing when to let a professional handle the job rather than attempting to do a specialized job armed only with the tools of the amateur. What does your resume say?

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 /


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