The number 1 thing that’s wrong with your resume

Dear Evil HR Lady,
I am unemployed for over a year, after completing my MBA. I then had a fixed term contract that I did not manage to turn into a permanent position due to the difficult economic times back then (my direct boss was very happy with me).

I have since then mildly been involved in a private equity project and sent a zillion applications, redoing my resume so many times I cannot count, with the pathetic result of two phone contacts that led nowhere.

I have applied for positions such as sale manager /director, consultant, associate, in sectors all across the board except semiconductors (where I’ve worked in the past), since I really want separate my experience and skills from a specific industry.

Therefore, I shamelessly ask of you today to please tell me what is wrong with me, hoping your Evil nature will size the opportunity to say all the really terrible things no one else dares to tell me!

Click here to find out the number one thing that’s wrong with your resume.

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9 thoughts on “The number 1 thing that’s wrong with your resume

  1. Excellent reply. In short, “In specific detail, what did you do that made a difference?”

    Among other things, I do guest lectures in operations management to BBA and MBA students. During the Q&A there are, these days, the inevitable questions about how to get a job and grow one’s career. I advise students to get a job in which customers can tell that they worked on the products or services their employer provides. The very simple core message is, “If customers can’t tell what value you added, they won’t want to pay for your labor.” Same for the internal customers called bosses or hiring managers.

    1. Yes! People too often list responsibilities rather than results.

      This poor guy had no key words in the whole resume–other than sustainable–for anyone to pick it out of the big database in the sky.

      1. Imagine the potential results if in the corporate culture we viewed bosses, colleagues, and subordinate more as customers and less as the enemy.

  2. Some lower level positions are difficult to do this with, however. You basically show up, do the same thing over and over every day or week, and don’t add anything, even if you want to. How in the world do you make that look good on a resume!?

    1. You should still have some sort of number or results oriented description of what you did. Data entry folks enter in X number of records per day, hour, whatever. Plus what were your quality numbers like? Call center is kind of the same thing – what were your call times and quality scores?

      Basically tell them what you did, but also tell them how well you did it. Every role (should) have performance metrics – or at least you should be able to deduce and then emphasize them. The more repetitive your work, the more standardized your metrics will be. I may get 3000 resumes for a data entry position, but if your resume says “Entered X amount of customer data per day with a Y% quality rate” I guarantee you’ll be one of them getting pushed forward (assuming we don’t fill the class before I get to your resume).

  3. Also, look at your timing when applying to companies. If you’re out of work, you should be applying to new postings every morning. As a recruiter, I can review about 200 resumes a day before my eyes go permanently out of focus, and I (usually) just go from the first applicant down, then phone screen the qualified ones of that group the next day. Those who I want to move forward get scheduled a day or two (or three, depending on the hiring manager’s ability to answer emails and schedule requests). We make offers until the class is filled. If there’s a class of 10 starting and you are resume 750 or higher….it’s probably not going to happen. If you’re number 50, or 100 and are qualified…then you’re probably going to get an offer.

    For higher skilled positions, the same mentality applies, but the process is slower. If we have 10 qualified candidates for one position, it’s likely the hiring manager will hire one of the first 5 interviewed. (Not always, of course. Some hiring managers are more likely to pick one of the last people because they don’t like to choose the first one or two they see).

    In my experience, timing is the biggest factor. Unless the company has had a hard time finding a person and you are that one in a million, you need to be one of the first in line. Then again, every recruiter has a slightly different process. Some sort by keywords or how well the resume matches the qualifications, but I don’t hold much stock in those, personally, and would rather torture myself by reading through the resumes.

  4. I don’t see what the big deal is. As long as your resume is reasonably put together and is results oriented. HR people are just jerks so keep your head up. HR and recruiters have the same process and that is the list bit of movement they have to move their fat A**

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