Hiring Wisdom: What You See (on a Resume) Is Not Necessarily What You’ll Get

Illustration by istockphoto.com
Illustration by istockphoto.com

A young friend of mine got his degree (magna cum laude) in finance back in December and has not been able to get even one job interview since.

I asked him to send me his resume which was written with the help of his university’s Placement Center and, I have to tell you, it is plain vanilla at best.

Then I asked him to give me a list of the top 10 reasons a company should look at his resume and hire him over anyone else. Here is what he came up with:

Article Continues Below


  1. Strong work ethic: I have been working since I was 10. I worked 40+ hours a week while going to school full time.
  2. Bilingual: I speak and write both English and Spanish fluently.
  3. Self-driven: I was able to graduate magna cum laude in five years because of my refusal to give up and my willingness to succeed.
  4. Loyal: I have been working part-time at my current job for the past eight years. The other hours come from helping my father grow his lawn care business from a few accounts to over 200.
  5. Leadership: I have been supervising a crew of three for the past two years. I have also been in charge of my church’s youth group.
  6. Problem solver: For example, re-routed lawn schedule and crew size for my father’s lawn business which has resulted in savings in both labor and fuel cost.
  7. Punctual: I never missed an assignment or project deadline while in college, even while working at least 40 hours a week.
  8. Teamwork skills: I participated on a number of group projects while in school. I also played for the university’s soccer team.
  9. Time management skills: I had to balance my time carefully while working and going to school.
  10. Commitment: I became the first person in my family to graduate from college because of my dedication and commitment to succeed in life.

Wouldn’t resume screening be easier and more interesting if you asked all applicants to include a cover letter with the top 10 reasons you should hire them?

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.