HOW TO WRITE A RESUME WHICH WILL FAIL
IN THE NEW MILLENIUM
By: Jack King, III
Because we believe you to be a talented professional who may have significant relevance to our clients or our affiliates' clients, we are going to go out on a limb to speak very bluntly about why so many very able people fail for so long in making a change of employer. Even with the best resume possible, in the extreme market conditions of the new millennium, the task is a sizable challenge and often a lengthy process. Our belief is: nothing but the best effort is acceptable.
We know through 50 years of experience that the resume is THE CRITICAL PATH FIRST STEP in the process. We've often seen less qualified, less able people, gain the interview in preference to the better candidate who took one or more of the chivalrous, damaging approaches listed below. WE WANT TO WIN FOR US, AND FOR YOU. So, we are prepared to do the word processing on our end for the resume to be used in our system. BUT, we do not do creative writing, so we are dependent on you for the factual input. If typical, your resume is a weak link.
HERE'S HOW TO FAIL - 11 WAYS TO CREATE A TERRIBLE RESUME:
1. Leave out dates of employment & don't use a chronological - most recent position first - resume. Omit your titles, full company and division names. Don't use a standard letter page. Choose an odd size, odd colors, lots of columns, script, photos & artwork. Give 2 lines to your most recent experience, & go into much detail about the years that the employer cares least about - that of 10 or 20 years ago. Do a five-page resume filled with gaps or time lapses to raise questions about your whereabouts & stability.
2. Omit the award date and GPA for the college degree. This will assure that you are, at best, 70 years of age or lying about the degree information. Raise suspicions & mistrust. Disregard the career safety of the one reading your resume. Cause him/her to guess that only 2/3 of your career is reported.
3. Speak in generalities & be brief. You'll never be chosen to interview. Interview invitations NOW go to those having GREAT detail about the specifics of materials, processes, markets, applications, products, and techniques. Interviewees are SELECTED based on specific words, industry jargon. Just make sure IT, or TQM, or ASME, or product or process descriptions do not appear in the resume and you will fail.
4. Continue to believe that a good resume for a 10-year plus professional is two pages in length and a great resume is one page long. (See above. True in the 1980's, BUT FALSE NOW - fact, not theory!!)
5. FORGET your accomplishments. To really do a poor job, report them in brief, non-quantitative, sweeping prose giving little information about how the accomplishment was achieved or what positive impact was achieved. Facts of one's real merit and worth will successfully be lost to all.
6. Use an objective - particularly one which shows lofty, long-term goals which cause the reader to think "...he/she wouldn't be interested in our opportunity...". (Objectives are used by the reader most often to DISQUALIFY candidates.)
7. List functional responsibilities and/or accomplishments in a general section at the beginning or end of the resume instead of under each company & title. This is a great technique for keeping the reader totally in the dark about the timeliness and setting for these items -information which is critical to judging the context, currency and critical mass of experience. Your real merit is highly discounted with this style of resume.
8. Save the really good stuff for the interview that will never come. (It went to the candidate who articulated facts in detail in the resume and seemed credible, relevant and meritorious.) Above all, omit from the resume direct, laudatory comments about you made by your superiors in your performance reviews.
9. Assume that readers know exactly all there is to know about the details of your experience as soon as you name a product, market, company, division, or whatever. Stand so close to the forest that you cannot see the trees & you will fail as a communicator.
10. IGNORE your own RED FLAGS (short tenure, frequent change or "demotion"). Do not address them. Give the reader reasons to go to the next resume (the stack is HUGE).
11. Disclose references on the resume, compromising oneself and losing control of the reference process.
Please use the template provided on the next page as a guide to constructing your generic TEXT and WORD VERSION MARKET QUALITY RESUMES.
5 things to remember about your resume:
1. It is how you are initially "introduced" to perspective employers. We want to make a good impression.
2. Limit the number of pages to 3 maximum.
3. CREATE as few questions about your educational and employment history as possible. Again, any missing information that causes a hiring authority's antennae to go up needs to be addressed in detail ahead of time with your resume.
4. ANSWER as many potential questions about your educational and employment history as possible. Have a friend or neighbor that knows nothing about what you do for a living read your resume as though they were in charge of reviewing it. Insert any answers to their questions that don't already appear, into the appropriate segment of your resume .
5. RUN SPELL CHECK and include proper punctuation prior to posting or submitting your resume.
Full Legal name
Current home address
Home Phone number
Award Date Degree Major Institution Location (City, St.) GPA
mnth/yr - mnth/yr Current Co. name (Parent/Div./Subsid., etc.) Location (City, St.)
A one-line description of Co. size, products and/or services provided.
A full, detailed and descriptive account, in the third party personal (e.g. no I's or me's) of duties and responsibilities, product(s) involved, processes, number of reports, followed with recent accomplishments or major contributions, adding percentages, dollar amounts involved where applicable. A full description of relevant industry acronyms as they appear in the resume, (i.e. JIT Just-In-Time) and where possible, any recent, positive employee evaluation comments.
Account for all time since High School and for all your employers in the same format as above. Leave Memberships / Associations / Affiliations / for the end of the resume. We would like to have additional details about your current and most recent duties and responsibilities rather than half a page or more about Hobbies / Interests / Activities.
Most importantly: DO NOT take advice from anyone in regard to interviewing with perspective employers, creating a "winning" resume or any other factors that will affect your achieving your career objectives that does not have a viable economic interest in your gaining and accepting your next offer of employment.
Your feedback regarding this "Resume Guide" is welcome.
© John Adam Case King, III 1999 / Edited 2008