Monday, December 26, 2011

6 Funny Résumés—Make Sure Yours Isn’t One

Republished, with edits, from another blog

I have shared some serious advice on creating a resume that will get you hired. But what about resumes that are so awful they’re funny? Can any amount of advice save them? Of course! Most of the bad resumes I have seen fall into one of these types. If you have one of these, mend your ways immediately.

The Epic

I understand you are excited about your accomplishments, but recruiters are usually busy people (actually, it’s wise to assume everyone is—no one reads resumes for pleasure, whatever you may have heard). Of course, if you have fourteen years of relevant experience, your resume might be correspondingly long (but not fourteen pages: three would be quite enough and more than most recruiters would read through). I’ve seen resumes from youngsters fresh out of school that run into over three pages. Actually, most fresh graduates seem to think the longer the better, and they couldn’t be more wrong. Leave the intricate details of that mid-term project for the interview, and only write a two-line summary in your resume.

The Formatting Nightmare

Are you using more than two font styles in your resume? Have you used italicized, bold and underlined text in various places? Do you have an entire page in bold text? Are you using shadows, embossing or other effects? If you answered yes to any of these, your resume fits this category. And beware: seeing a chunk of text in a different font makes me wonder if you lifted it from somewhere else and neglected to match the format of the rest of the text.

The Capitalizing Craze

When I see a statement like this (unfortunately more frequently than I’d like to): “Handled Mortgage Accounts of USA clients; collected Mortgage payments and looked after Housing Finance”, my mind is riddled with questions. How did he decide that “accounts” should be capitalized and “payments” shouldn’t? Why was “clients” left out—were they just not important enough? I have enough to worry about without being drawn into existential angst by a resume. Then there are the ones that don’t capitalize city names or months. If you’re emulating e. e. cummings, at least be consistent. Perhaps most important, don’t capitalize the entire word unless it’s an acronym.

The Eye Test

And some take the advice for keeping the resume brief so seriously they reduce the font until the resume fits two pages. Have some mercy on this aging recruiter (and we're all aging, I assure you) and keep your resume at a font size of 10 or higher.

The Personality Pageant

Keep the non-professional info in the small “Other Interests” section. If you have applied for a graphic designer position, your “Achievements” section listing your basketball triumphs and your dancing activities says less than nothing to me.

The Bad Speller

That you can’t use spell-check doesn’t speak highly of your abilities. If the same resume says “analysist”, “reprasantative”, “beverage” and “Octabar” (and that’s a real-life example), it’s not likely to get any further than my desk.

If your resume doesn’t fit any of these, congratulations! Now all you need to do is ensure your amazingly competent, interesting, team-playing, well-managing personality shines through those two sheets of paper. Best of luck.

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