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What a Resume Is Not

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
POSTED: September 16, 2008 at 7:24 am

by Darlene Zambruski, Managing Editor, CPRW, SME

1. An exhaustive listing of everything you’ve done: Hiring managers aren’t interested in details from the beginning of your academic/professional career. Rule of thumb is to go back 10 years for IT professionals and no more than 15-20 years for those in other industries. Hiring managers won’t read excessive data, and by including too may years of experience you may be excluding yourself form consideration due to age discrimination.

2. A document that will guarantee an interview or job offer: A resume is the beginning of your job search. It cannot guarantee the end result. No matter how beautifully a resume is written, if your background doesn’t closely match the requirements of the job you will not be called in for an interview.

3. A document that will please your spouse, parents, colleagues, etc: The only audience that matters are hiring managers. Relatives, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances may be well-meaning, but they are not experts in resume writing.

4. A document that reflects your personality: Unless you’re in the performing arts or involved in a creative industry, a resume should be professional – period. Use of designer fonts and unusual formats will get you noticed and quickly dismissed as not being serious enough for the position.

5. A document that tells the hiring manager what you want: Hiring managers don’t care what you want – they’re interested in what you can bring to their companies in terms of increasing profits or reducing costs.

6. A document that is perfect in every way: Organization of data and showcasing accomplishments are what matter most in a resume. Worrying about cosmetic changes (eg: should there be one or two spaces after periods?) or tweaking the content (eg: should it be oversaw or managed?) till the end of time won’t garner an interview. In fact, endless revisions will cause you to miss out on important opportunities. Hiring managers aren’t looking for perfection in a resume, they are looking for hard skills that you can bring to their companies.