Remember, Your Resume Is a Tool

Dave Cook, Career Counselor, NEMOJT


So, I was working with a person a while ago on their resume – a four page resume which was printed on both sides (hat tip for conserving paper – do the math, it was an eight page resume). They were not getting the response from their resume that they had hoped to get. They had mailed and emailed hundreds of resumes to no avail.

When we talked about some of the potential areas where the resume was not appealing, the length of it came up. As we worked our way through the conversation they said something interesting, “Their resume needed to show HR how much they wanted the job – not just their actual jobs but their passion. They wanted a resume which could be targeted towards a specific job, but also leaving nothing to chance.”

Whenever possible, I use the analogy that a resume needs to be a dart and not a sledgehammer. When you throw darts you are aiming for a specific spot, the bulls-eye on the target. Sledgehammers will wreck targets because of their sheer size and mass – no one wants the targeted job to be smashed!! In this case, however, it was a little different. This person was not trying to inundate the company with every task they did at every job they ever had; they were trying to provide information which showed their level of motivation and the passion they had for the industry. There were a lot of CAPS, bolding and underlining.  The word love was used a lot; they loved coworkers and clients, locations and management. If there was something to have emotions towards, they loved it. (#luvmyteam)

Emotions, context, drive, and passions are things which are hard to convey in text – even with a hashtag. Even more so, they are difficult to express on a resume. Recruiters have one job when it comes to resumes – does the person meet the basic requirements of the job? If the resume shows they do; what else does it say about the candidate’s qualifications? Once the resume meets the basic requirement threshold, they look for uniqueness of the specific candidate – jobs, tasks, projects, and volunteerism – which sets them apart from others.

A good rule of thumb for resumes is to avoid statements which are contextual and demand the recruiter make inferences. The less a recruiter has to guess at or assume what you are saying the better off it is for you. Keep in mind the dart which targets the job v. the sledgehammer which just leaves a mess – it might hit the target, but it hits everyone and everything else along the way. 

Andrew Fennel has an excellent blog where he talks about what you can expect from your resume and what you can’t. According to Fennel, resumes cannot:


1. Show motivation


2. Show your personality


3. Explain what you want


4. Explain why you are leaving your current role


Remember, your resume is a tool  with a specific job – getting you the interview. The interview is where you can sell yourself, your unique skills, traits and accomplishments. Oh and leave the hashtags to the marketers!

#focusonthejob #skillfit #parrotlanguage #dontgooveryourskis


Go Be Great!



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