More Resume Blunders

In keeping with an earlier post on what not to do with your resume, here are a few more real-life examples.

Career Objective: To secure a position as an integral team member utilizing my current skills and acquiring additional skills and abilities.

[Insert annoying buzzer sound here] Wrong!

Number one, you don’t generally put an objective on your resume unless you are applying to a generic job description or giving them out to placement agencies or your network of friends and family. If you are replying to an ad for my company, I don’t need to know that your objective is to get a job at my company. That’s obvious. However, if you are passing out resumes like candy, this is a good place to note what industries/positions you are looking for.

This resume is not in reply to a posted job ad, so the Objective is okay in it, except it’s a horrible objective. “Integral team member?” Corporate B.S. speak. It makes me laugh—just like a Dilbert cartoon. But, that’s still not the worst offense. The worst offense is the fact that this objective is all about how a job (what job, I don’t know) at my company will benefit her.

This writer mentions in her cover letter (which is pretty good) that she’s looking for temporary/ contractual work. That is information that needs to be in the objective, because if the cover letter gets separated from the resume (likely!) no one will know what kind of job she is trying to fill. This is also the place to mention (as she did in her cover letter) that she is most skilled at/ prefers working in the X, Y, and Z legal areas.

Don’t fill this area with blather. It can be quite useful, if used properly.

“Various billing and accounting software.” List! In times like these, the more software skills you can list, the better. Not only may you hit pay dirt—by having skills in the exact same software that the prospective employer uses—but the list itself looks impressive; it speaks to your computer skills and your ability to learn different programs.

“Organizational Skills.” I’ve never seen anyone make a list of organizational skills before—not even me, and I’m a mad organizer. In my resume, I detail the major organizational tasks that I’ve completed. I do not use pointless phrases like “result oriented,” “self-directed,” and “quick learner.” What a waste of ink.

A truism of fiction writing is also applicable here: show, don’t tell.

The fact that you graduated college over 20 years ago is not important enough to list (unless you went to a private or magnet school AND you are searching for a job where dropping the name of that school might prove useful).

Do not put personal/ hobby information on an American resume! Especially don’t indicate your marital status, or if you have kids or grandkids. If you mention you have kids, you may be ignored because some employers don’t want people with kids, because parents frequently have to take off work for sick kids, school functions, etc. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by mentioning kids in your resume or interview. And, for God’s sake, don’t mention grandkids! Ageism is a real problem in hiring these days, especially in certain industries (like computers); don’t show your age by talking about the fact that you’re a grandma.

In fact, it’s better to list the details of your work experience from the past few jobs than to list every job you’ve ever had by title. Let the employer see what exactly it is you can do (again, show, don’t tell). Where you fear ageism, “youthen” your resume by cutting off some of your older jobs. No one expects (or wants) to read the entire work history of someone in their 50’s or 60’s. Being selective about what you put on your resume isn’t a problem, so long as you don’t lie about dates, titles or responsibilities.

Good idea

Resume blunders aside, this lady had a good idea: offer her services on a part-time, full-time or contractual basis to all the attorneys in an area. If you’re desperate for white-collar work, this is a good strategy, because you may end up getting hired to cover for someone out on medical/ maternity leave

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