An Entry from the Job Hunter's Journal


The perfect resume probably has not been written but a resume does not have to be perfect, it merely has to be good enough to get you a job interview.  The following 13 items should help in your efforts to write an effective, if not perfect, resume.

  1. Never, never lie on your resume.  Even stating that you are still working for a company when you are merely collecting some type of unemployment compensation from the company is a lie.  Intentionally misleading people into believing you have a degree when you do not is a lie.  Leaving a job off the resume that you worked at for six months can be construed as a lie.  Leaving positions off the resume that are so old as to be irrelevant for the position you are applying for is usually a good idea, because; it makes the resume easier to read and, if you think you might become a victim of age discrimination, leaving old positions off the resume makes it more difficult to guess your age.
  2. Make sure all contact information is correct.  I once had an executive, making over $250,000 a year, get very angry with me because my client company would not send him his interview expense check.  When I checked into it, I found out the check had been returned to the company several times.  The candidate had an incorrect address on the resume.  I have seen many resumes with incorrect telephone numbers.  This is not as important in the email era, unless your email address is wrong also, and that is not a good thing.
  3. Make sure you have NO spelling errors on the resume.  Virtually everyone has access to word processing program with a spell checker.  If you do not, invest in a word processing program and use the spell checker.  Spelling errors send everyone who reads the resume a message that you don’t really care or you are sloppy.  I once had a candidate who after interviewing with a company felt compelled to write a thank you letter, which is normally a good thing.  Unfortunately, the thank you note was hand written and full of spelling errors.  The company’s offer letter and the candidate’s thank you note passed each other in the mail.  After receiving the thank you note, the company withdrew the offer.
  4. Talk about your accomplishment’s not the team’s accomplishments.  The team (in most cases) is not trying to get the job, you are.
  5. List accomplishments, not your job description.  The hiring company wants to know what you did to make your company more successful, not that you watered the plants every morning.  This can be very important.  I rewrote an executive candidate’s resume (for a fee) that had been out of work for six months.  The main thing I changed was his to list his accomplishments and eliminated his duties.  A few weeks later I received a letter from him stating he had 6 interviews and was deciding between 3 offers.   He also sent me an additional check.
  6. Minimize or eliminate the use of  fancy graphics.  My computer reads most of the resumes sent to me before I do and it gets very upset if it has to sift through cute winking happy faces.  Also, more and more hiring companies are reading resumes directly into data bases and bullet points and graphics make this a slow process.
  7. Do not use tables.   Tables present a whole host of problems if the recruiter has to make a change to the resume or if the company is trying to feed the resume directly into their data base.
  8. Try to keep the resume to two pages.  One page is usually too short but more that 2 page resumes often get ignored because no one has time to read more than two pages.
  9. Focus on what your can do for the company not what the company can do for you.  Remember, the company has a problem that has to be addressed or they would not be using their limited resources to make you happy.  Hopefully, the hiring process will be a win-win for both of you but remember the golden rule “he who has the gold rules”.
  10. Do not list references on your resume.  There are so many reasons not to do this that I do not want to list them here.  One of the biggest reasons not to list references is that the person you have listed as a reference may quickly become your strongest competitor for the job after the recruiter talks to him or her.
  11. Do not put your Social Security Number on your resume.   This seems obvious in this era of identity theft but I still see resumes with Social Security numbers.
  12. Do not list personal items such as hobbies, number of children, church affiliations, etc.  These can only hurt you because most Human Resource Managers are amature Psychiatrists and if they see you like to read, they automatically assume your are introverted and this could be bad if you are interviewing for the Plant Manager or sales position.  Also, deep down most companies believe you should not have a life outside the company.  If you have time for hobbies that means you could be working longer hours developing that perfect report no one is going to read.
  13. Objective statements are passé.  You have submitted your resume to the company so, obviously, you are looking for a job you can be happy performing.  Do not waste valuable resume space and the recruiter’s or Human Resources Manager’s valuable time.