Friday, January 23, 2009

Resume Tips - Beware!

So I thought it would be interesting to do a Google Blog search on Resume Tips to see what kind of advice is floating out there. Kids are told nowadays to be careful of the information you find on the internet, that it is not always reliable, and so forth. I've never thought about it too much...until now.

The first result was an article from posted earlier today on "How to Make a Resume." The advice contained herein seemed to come straight out of a resume book from 1990, even down to using fancy paper. This article generally contains bad are some highlights:

"You will start with what your objective is and how it is you plan on benefiting this company."

While many resumes nowadays contain objectives, I generally find them useless. Everbody who is looking at a resume knows that your objective is to get a job with XYZ Company. If it is not, then you shouldn't be sending a resume. Furthermore, recruiters and hiring managers don't generally care what it is that you want to do, they want to find out whether your skills and experience are something that they need, not the other way around. An objective says "meet my needs." The article continues:

"After that, you move on to your employment history. You always want to ensure that you include all of your job duties here because even the smallest of duties may be relevant to this potential position. Do dont leave anything out."

Two things about this. First, your work history is not a list of job duties and should not read like a job description. I have honestly seen resumes that say "Other duties as assigned." Your work history should highlight your experience and accomplishments as they relate to your targeted company. This ties into the second point...your resume should be targeted to a specific company and position. A resume needs to include enough information to say "I can help solve your problem, invite me in for an interview and I'll tell you how."

"The next section of your resume is where you outline any relevant experience that you have, such as in volunteering. You will want to include any certifications or licensing that you may have. You never know when one of these items could be important. You never know what might impress a potential employer, so be sure to leave out nothing."

Okay, if you have volunteer work that is relevant to a position, fine, include it. But again, your potential employer really could care less that you walked dogs at the Humane Society. They want to know if you can solve their problems. I think you do know what might impress a potential employer: somebody who can solve the problem that they have that has led them to open a position.

"The reference section is the last part. You may decide to include your references on your resume. Some individuals do not like to include references, so they will provide them upon request."

Don't include references. Everybody assumes that you have references, so don't say "References available upon request" or anything like that. Your employer will ask for references when they are ready and assume that you have them. Although as a recruiter, I like references because they are potential candidates.

* * * * * * * * * *

Okay, this is exhausting. I was going to look at a few of these posts, but when the very first result is this bad, I have to break it down a little bit. The author runs a website that seems to be focused on selling a software package. When looking for resume advice, always consider the source, get as much advice as possible, and solicit advice from real people (recruiters, HR people) that will help you. Heck, I'll help you if you're in a bind...I do it every day for my candidates.

I'll try to write more about resumes in upcoming posts.

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