Weekly Wrap: Resume Mistakes That Only a Manager Could Love

Resume snobs focus too much on form rather than the experience the author brings to the table. (Photo illustration by Dreamstime)

I’m not one of those who is ready to abandon the classic resume, although you keep hearing predictions about how it’s getting ready go the way of the dodo.

Sure, a LinkedIn profile is great, and a reasonable substitute, but I simply don’t buy the notion that Facebook and other social media sites are going to suddenly be viewed as reasonable resume alternatives.

That’s one of the reasons why I appreciate this recent survey by CareerBuilder and Harris Interactive of  the “common and not-so-common resume mistakes that can cost you the job.” After all, would mistakes like these really catch your eye as well on a social media resume the way they do on an old-school style one?

Real-life resume foul-ups

I think not, so check out some of these doozies from the CareerBuilder survey and ask yourself, “would I appreciate how bad this really is if I found it on some candidate’s Facebook page?”

See what I mean when you read these real-life examples from hiring managers:

  • Resume was submitted from a person the company just fired.
  • Resume’s “Skills” section was spelled “Skelze.” (Note from JH: Yikes, I wouldn’t even expect this in something from Tim Sackett.)
  • Resume listed the candidate’s objective as “To work for someone who is not an alcoholic with three DUI’s like my current employer.”
  • Resume included language typically seen in text messages (e.g., no capitalization and use of shortcuts like “u”).
  • Resume consisted of one sentence: “Hire me, I’m awesome.”
  • Resume listed the candidate’s online video gaming experience leading warrior “clans,” suggesting this passed for leadership experience.
  • Resume included pictures of the candidate from baby photos to adulthood.
  • Resume was written in Klingon language from Star Trek. (This is my favorite given that Klingon isn’t even a real language.)
  • Resume was a music video.
  • Resume didn’t include the candidate’s name
  • On the job application, where it asks for your job title with a previous employer, the applicant wrote “Mr.”
  • Resume included time spent in jail for assaulting a former boss. (Yes, just the kind of person you want to add to your team.)

Resumes are “the primary factor“ in landing an interview

“Your resume is the primary deciding factor for whether you will land a job interview,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder, in a press release about the survey. “It’s important to project a professional image. Keep it succinct, personalize it to feature only skills and experience relevant to the position you’re applying for, and always include specific, quantifiable results that showcase the value you can bring to an organization.”

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I’m always amazed when I surveys like this one that quantify the goofy things people do in a hiring setting, because it always makes me ask myself, “Did they really believe that this would help them get the job?”

Unfortunately, I think you know the answer to that.

More appreciation for older workers?

Of course, there’s more than the oddball things people put on their resumes in the news this week. Here are some HR and workplace-related items you may have missed. This is TLNT’s weekly round-up of news, trends, and insights from the world of talent management. I do it so you don’t have to.

  • Another crackdown on undocumented workers. According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. government has just launched a big crackdown on undocumented workers, the largest since July 2009, and, “The new employment audits hit restaurants, food processing, high-tech manufacturing, agriculture and other industries that together employ tens of thousands of workers, according to attorneys representing some of the companies.” The story add that, “The audits suggest the Obama administration is choosing not to ignore companies that hire blue-collar, foreign labor even as it presses for an immigration overhaul, which is languishing in Congress, to put many undocumented immigrants on the path to legal status.”
  • California pushing minimum wage to $10 an hour. California is always a national trend-setter when it comes to labor practices, even if most of the recent activity has been of questionable value to the business community and overall job creation. And the recent bill by the state Legislature to kick up the state’s minimum wage to $10 by Jan. 2016, has fueled a debate that is still raging “on whether the move will endanger California’s economic recovery, with some arguing that the recovery has created the best opportunity to provide low income people with a more livable wage,” The Christian Science Monitor notes. “Academics agree this is a fragile time for the action, but some say the opportunity shouldn’t be missed.”
  • In praise of older workers. Despite all you hear about the difficulty older workers have in getting a new job, recent anecdotal evidence suggests that the tide may be turning, as this Associated Press story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution points out. “Surveys consistently show older people believe they experience age discrimination on the job market, and although unemployment is lower among older workers, long-term unemployment is far higher,” the newspaper says. “As the American population and its labor force reshape, though, with a larger chunk of older workers, some employers are slowly recognizing their skill and experience, (with) about 200 employers, from Google to AT&T to MetLife, have signed an AARP pledge recognizing the value of experienced workers and vowing to consider applicants 50 and older.”
  • Giving it straight when it comes to negative feedback. Think giving employees negative feedback is a bad thing? Not so, says Steve Berglas in a recent HBR blog. “Remember: Mary Poppins don’t know squat. A spoonful of sugar does not help the “medicine” go down. … This isn’t an opinion of mine; it’s an empirical fact that Dr. Edward E. Jones, the psychologist who (literally) wrote the book on ingratiation, demonstrated: When evaluators gave critical reviews to experimental subjects role-playing employees, those who expressed what was wrong immediately were significantly more respected than those who began with praise and ended with, “the bad news is…” If you want to help a person change, restrict your sugar coating to breakfast cereals. Deliver constructive feedback rapidly in its raw form. This doesn’t mean harshly; there’s a way to soften blows without delaying them if you strive to be empathic. Just never make it seem like you’re avoiding hard cold facts. All that does is make the facts seem worse than they are.”

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.

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