I hesitated posting this because I'm complaining and I don't like to complain (at least not publically). But I know I'm not the only recruiter out there with this problem so I thought it might not be a bad idea to start a dialogue.

Ok, so what's this pet peeve of mine? Resumes. More specifically, poorly constructed resumes. Even more specifically, poorly constructed resumes being used by third party agencies primarily marketing sponsored candidates. Let me quickly state that this problem is not isolated to this scenario, I've seen resumes with these violations come from people who grew up here right in the heartland, but it is pretty much commonplace from sub-contract suppliers.

Now, I understand that English is a 2nd language in most cases (the candidates and often their representatives) so they're a step ahead of me. The only 2nd language I know is enough to order a beer, get the check and find the bathrooms in Cabo.

So why is this a pet peeve of mine? Because I refuse to send my clients these trainwrecks so I end up spending time fixing issues. Here's what I'm talking about:

LENGTH. I don't need War and Peace. Send me something that is 2-3 pages of relevant content. I appreciate that you want to accurately represent your employee but it's not necessary to put the finite details of their every move in the resume. Their background should be concise, relevant & clearly stated. Which is related to...

REPETITION. This is an easy step in reducing the length. I see the same bullet point over and over again in different areas of the chronology. If it's something the person has done universally in their job maybe that would be better for the summary. Which brings me to the...

SUMMARY. Summarize: Presenting the substance in a condensed form. Don't repeat what I'm going to read in the chronology. A 4-5 sentence paragraph is all that's necessary.

Now that we've talked about getting War and Peace down to the Cliff Notes there's just a couple more things. I suspect these are more "finer points" in terms of translating to the written English word.

S P AC ING. Sentences end without spaces.Words are spa ced w rong.

CaPItaLIZation. Every other Word is Capitalized for No good Reason. OR MAYBE THE CAPS LOCK WAS ON.

GRAMMAR. My mom always told me to read a sentence aloud and if it doesn't flow like you would say it out loud you need to reword it.

SPELLING. F7. It's that simple. It will help you with the grammar issue too.

I've discovered a couple agencies that understand the effort it takes to put together a strong marketing document and they take the time to do so for me. They not only earn first crack at my business, but they get a fatter piece of the bill rate because they are bringing a value to the table that I am not getting elsewhere.

I'm interested opinions on why this is such a universal issue, especially as it relates to cultural / language differences and how they might have an impact on the points I made.

Views: 64

Comment by Jessica on May 28, 2008 at 1:14pm
ugggg for me it is functional resumes.. I just want to see a chronology of your work experience...I and most employers are going to ask about it anyway. If the intent was to deceive, it doesnt work, it wastes valuable time in an interview that can be used to get to know the candidate and what they want in a job.
Comment by Elaine Basham on May 29, 2008 at 12:14pm
I completely agree. But whether functional or chronilogical, a resume basically needs to tell the reader who you are, what you can do and prove it. When I work with clients I ask them to run the "so what?" test across their resume. Read each sentence and ask yourself, "so what?". If the information in that sentence is a reason for a potential employer to hire you, then leave it in. If not, you probably don't need it. I ask them to focus on the value they brought to organizations - contributions not responsibilities. In today's world, resumes need to be concise, keyword rich and they need to differentiate you in the marketplace. It can be a tricky balance, but worth the effort.


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