Lasting Resume Impressions
By Ann Everhart and J. Michael Worthington Jr. of ResumeDoctor.com
Your resume will be your first impression you have to make to an employer. Recruiters tell us that you have less than 5-10 seconds to make that impression, so you had better make it a good one. Recently, ResumeDoctor.com asked their recruiter network to share some of the more peculiar details included in people’s resumes.
Including an objective on your resume can usually only hurt you. Not only do you risk pigeonholing yourself, but also more often than not, most objectives are useless fluff that say nothing about the candidate’s background. They simply wind up taking valuable space where instead you should be grabbing your reader, telling him/her who you are and what you do. Here are a couple of objectives that did little to grab their reader:
- I am looking for a new position due to panic attacks
- To make money so I can buy things
A resume is a marketing tool used to showcase your skills and qualifications. You need to sell yourself in a way that will make you stand out from any other candidate. Here is a candidate that might have taken things a bit too far:
- I once walked from Florida to Cuba, I have a cape, but I do not wear it. I know the exact location of every virus in all the computers throughout the nation. I do not sleep, as there are more important things to do. I have read Microsoft Knowledge Base, War and Peace, and the entire set of New World Encyclopedias in a single afternoon and still had time to rewrite Access, stop an earthquake from destroying Los Angeles, and call my mother.
One of the biggest problems most candidates have with their resumes is that they are too duty-oriented. Rather, you should be showcasing your accomplishments that can set you apart from similar candidates. We can only hope that these accomplishments are what the employer was seeking:
- Able to fit a whole Moon Pie in my mouth
- Greatest accomplishment - getting shot 70 feet out of a water cannon
- Work well as a team or one on one (wink, wink)
- I have never been convicted of a sex crime
Obviously listing one’s education and training is paramount, but if you have a college degree like this candidate, there is no need to include your primary school education:
- I've gone to many schools due to moving around a lot. Some I remember are Lochlomond Elementary, Westgate Elementary, Sinclair Elementary, Stonewall Jackson Middle, and Pace and Pace West High School. Some were in Manassas, VA, some in Fredericksburg, VA, I think, and Pace West was in Gainesville, VA.
Unless it is relevant to the position you are seeking, hobbies and personal info should be left off the resume. Obviously, these candidates never quite grasped this concept:
- Remain active by spending time with my 17 children that resulted from 9 marriages
- Jell-O wrestling in bathtubs
- I enjoy collecting erotic pictures
- I'll go ahead and mention some of my interests and activities. I like skating, both with in-line skates and ice skates, and I like hockey and like to watch hockey games, and I also like video games, though there's a lot of games that I can no longer enjoy, but I still can enjoy some of them
- I love to FISH, I am an avid Fly Fisherman, I have been Fly Fishing for a very short time, but I enjoy it a lot. I make my own flies, which makes it even funnier
- Love, love, love doing body shots
There is no need to include the phrase: “References Available Upon Request,” on one’s resume; this is understood. Furthermore, including your personal references on a resume is not a good idea; you do not want to risk employers calling your references before you have had a chance to talk to the employer first. One recent candidate not only included his references, but also wrote a story about each one. Here are two of his references, (he actually included six):
- Some of my Friends are: Jim Thomas. I have known Jim for about 10 years now, I claim him as being one of my brothers. We met each other in high school, and have been friends ever sense. He is currently working for Ann’s Flowers in American Fork, and he lives with his Wife and two Children Tyler and Sara in Pleasant Grove, UT. 555-1234
- I have Known Tony for about 8 years. We also met in High School. He lives at home with his Mom and Dad and brother. He is currently not working, and is taking care of his mom who has been ill for sometime. 555-1212
However, the guy that takes the biggest prize for “bonehead moves” on a resume is the recent candidate who included a form/application for employers to fill out on each resume he sent. Apparently, if you wished to interview this candidate, you had to apply with him first.
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