The Problems With Resume Writing

I’ve read a lot of resumes in my day. Coming from the Information Technology sector I have seen some pretty crazy ones filled with a lot of gobbledygook involving technical acronyms and programming jargon. Here’s an example, “Proficient in the following languages and operating platforms: C, C++, DOS, MVS, CICS, ISPF/VS, DB2, OS/2, OS/400, AIX, UNIX, Java, JavaScript, Perl, Basic, HTML, DHTML, XHTML, XML, PHP, PDP, JCL, SQL, George 3, Win95/98/Me/XP/VISTA, etc.” Sounds pretty impressive doesn’t it? The problem is verifying that the person does, in fact, know these things. Most of the time I’ve found they might have nothing more than a rudimentary knowledge of the subject which is why we recommend testing the applicant as opposed to just taking his/her word for it.

I also find it irritating when a person uses verbose language to describe himself. For example, whenever someone says they are a “Senior Software Engineer,” this simply means he is nothing more than a programmer with two or more jobs under his belt. Some people add so many adjectives to describe their credentials and boast of their successes (not their failures) that you would think he is the second coming of Christ. Whenever I see this, I ask myself, “If this person is so great, why isn’t he running his own company; why does he need a job from me?” Touting ones’ successes is natural, but a little humility in the presentation of the resume would sure be refreshing.

I may not be an expert in preparing resumes, but I think the ones that appeal to me most are those that are simple and to the point. Frankly, if they cannot keep it to one page that isn’t too busy looking, I think people will lose interest. I know I do. If I want additional detail, I’ll ask for it. Tell me plain and simple: What are you interested in doing? What’s your background? (your employment history) and What do you know? (your skill set). I don’t want to know how you conquered neuro-electronic fusion systems based on a hashing algorithm you invented; do not try to baffle me with your brilliance. Just tell me how you can do a job for me and blend into the corporate culture. I think team accomplishments are still valued over individual achievement by most employers today.

Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant located in Palm Harbor, Florida.


Image taken on 2009-09-28 15:18:56. Image Source. (Used with permission)

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