Monday, October 21, 2013

Clichés and Other Worthless Garbage on Your Resume

Any time the topic of resumes comes up, invariably the conversation turns to the appropriate length of a resume, too long with too many pages seems to be a concern. I suggest that if you have a lot of applicable experience, and if it requires more than a page or two, so be it. But there are ways to conserve space, measures you can use to determine the best way to get the most out of the document meant to open doors and give you a chance to then impress, in person.
The fact is that many people have a lot of needless stuff on there, either because it is a part of the resume template or they think it is necessary. Let’s consider a few of them.
This is an optional item, but if you think it is necessary, keep it short, real short. People wrongly assume this is where they can impress a reader by using flowery words to set themselves apart. This is not the space or method to do this. If you need more than one sentence to express your Objective then write a cover letter.
Here are some examples of overused and meaningless phrases:
“…I enjoy a challenge…”
“…where I can maximize…”
“…I can utilize my expertise…”
“…problem solver…”
Would you be even applying if you didn’t possess these traits? And don’t worry if you don’t have these catchy little (worn out) clichés – no one is going to assume that you don’t enjoy a challenge or that you don’t want to maximize something and, if you possess expertise, it’s listed elsewhere in your resume. Likewise, if you are a problem solver it will be exemplified with your ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Don’t take up space stating the obvious, save it and elaborate at the interview. Furthermore, if you don’t think the organization with which you are applying is a top- tier, world-class, exceptional, well-established, growth-oriented company, you wouldn’t be applying; brown nosing won’t increase your chances for an interview.
This is another potential space saver because it’s not necessary. I recognize it is a humanizing feature and, in reality, most people are hoping a hiring manager shares the same likes, making it more likely to secure an interview, which is the time and place for this when they suggest, “So tell me about yourself?”
And last but not least, a totally unnecessary space taker-upper is, REFERENCES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST. Well, of course they are! It’s not necessary, leave it off. Adding Hamburger Helper increases the volume of content but it doesn’t make it any better; you want 100% prime cut meat without empty filler.
If the purpose is to save space and construct the most effective resume, the items I’ve described above can only distract from the good stuff you want them to see. Your resume is meant to represent you as a document listing your qualifications and accomplishments, as it relates to your work and career in a manner that will attract attention. Sadly, in the current period that is more likely to mean key wording, which you must also consider because a software program is likely to be the first reviewer of your resume when it is received by human resources. But at some point in the process a real person will read it and you want it to have teeth, with facts and figures, accomplishments and qualifications that subliminally scream out to the reader, see this person!
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