[#jobresum]: Resumé/résumé/resume/“curriculum vitae” (“CV”)

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Overview: Resumes

There is a lot of information about making resumes, provided by web pages and books and seminars and papers and sometimes even full-blown college courses. Many, many people have likely been exposed to some of this information.

Still, the quality of many resumes is very, very sub-par. Some text about creating a resume was very intentionally put here because chances are it will do somebody some good. There's a lot more focus here than just encouraging a commanding demonstration of English literacy, or deciding which work experiences to include.

The perfect resume

What does the perfect resume look like? The perfect resume is the one that successfully helps to get a job. The basic goal of a resume is to try to help convince whoever is going to make the decision on whether or not a person is going to be hired.

Perhaps unfortunate for a job seeker, different people make decisions on whether a person should be hired or not. What this ends up meaning is a resume that one person may consider to be perfect may be considered to be a horrible resume by another person. Some things, like spelling errors, can easily be dismissed as being absolutely terrible. However, other details will sometimes vary based on who is reading a resume.

Some employers like to be able to get through a resume quickly, and a quick list of bullet points is preferred. Longer sentences are shunned. Some people who have made hiring decisions, or at lesat helped make those decisions, have stated that the goal of a resume is just to get a job interview. Therefore, brevity is good. Revealing too much may cause a the employer to feel like they are starting to know the employee. A better approach is to make the employer want to know more about the employee, so that the employer will proceed to schedule a job interview.

For other employers, the resume may be a chance to try to get to know a person before an interview even starts. Keeping things so brief may show a person's inability to fully communicate what is being sought. Demonstrated mastery of language is considered to be an asset.

These seem to be contrary goals. Which is better? Well, keep in mind the actual goal of a resume: to convince whoever is going to make the hiring decision. A style that would be more effective for one specific employer may likely work worse for another employer. Unfortunately for the job seeker, in most cases the job seeker probably does not much experience working with the person who is going to make the hiring decision.

Chances are that some of the advice (provided here) will contain details that some employers will disagree with. Much of the following advice is provided as a recommended course of action. However, perhaps an even bigger recommendation is the following: don't worry about following other people's recommendations. The goal isn't to make one perfect resume that would perfectly satisfy everybody. Don't try to follow every piece of advice of resume-making, because there are different and contrary opinions. The achievement to try to accomplish is to make a resume that does a good enough job to succeed in the desired goal: to get the job (or at least the ability to advance onto the next phase of the hiring process).

Because the potential employer may be relatively unknown, the chances of creating the absolute perfect resume may be fairly slim. Instead, the best bet may be to simply try to make a good resume. Make sure that the resume has positive qualities. Then, own the results. What that means is: take responsibility for the results. Use the resume effectively, as a tool to help reach the desired goal. Make sure that the resume is the personal creation of whoever made it. Resume authors who advance to job interviews may often be expected to defend their resume. So, it will be good if they are truely comfortable with what the resume says.

Personal testimony

The creator and founder of ][CyberPillar][ once found out that his supervisor heavily disliked the resume that was used when trying to get the job. The resume was thought to be terrible, because the resume was absolutely contrary to the style that this supervisor desired. However, the person who wrote that resume concluded that the resume was perfect, despite this negative opinion. Why? Because, the resume successfully achieved the accomplishment that the resume was designed to do. This supervisor had influence in determining whether the person gets hired. Even if the supervisor did not like the style of the resume, the result was that the information was conveyed successfully enough. After all, the eventual decision ended up being that the author of the resume should, indeed, be hired.

The resume was absolutely straight-forward and honest in every aspect, and it effectively succeeded in doing the task that was desired. What could be more perfect than that success?

Errors

It should go without saying that there should not be any errors on the resume. However, that is sadly not the case. Here is a specific example: A huge, huge percentage (maybe two-thirds or three-fourths) of resumes received by a company had multiple spelling errors or, a bit less commonly, substantially wrong grammatical errors. Most were so bad that the level of effort creating the resume was clearly insufficient. These people were seeking jobs to get paid for their computer expertise, so the general expectation was that they would be trying to look intelligent. This was also in a city with plenty of education floating around: the city of about 80,000 people had a state-funded university, two other government-funded colleges, and at least two other private colleges. (The timeframe when this was cited/recognized was probably about the year 2009 A.D., give or take a year.)

One would think that a computer expert would have heard of a technology called “spell checking”. Correct spelling should be a standard par for the course, but rather pathically sadly, it really helped make a potential candidates stand out among the masses. The reason why correct spelling and grammer helped make a resume stick out is because most resumes had one of these two basic issues.

Focus
An example

Many resumes start with some sort of ambition statement describing the goals of the prospective potential staff member. That's all fine and good, but many inexperienced workers put a lot of focus in trying to make the first sentence sound perfectly professional, to be highly attention grabbing, and end up with something like the following flowery language:

I am eager to be a future employee. I am seeking a chance to land a full-time position at a professional organization with opportunities for advancement.

There. This is simple, succinct, to the point, and accurately describing the goals. The text shows ambitions for the future. Even a low-rated introductory position would fit the criteria of what is being sought by this person, who desperately just needs a foot in the door. These statements are humbly asking for a simple thing: a position. Doesn't that sound nice, like a perfect introductory statement?

No, it doesn't. It's unacceptably terrible! And here's a whole bunch of commentary on why this is such a terrible start to a resume.

The whole focus of this sentence is for the employee to get a job. Now, granted, most people write resumes for the sole purpose of trying to get a job, so it makes sense that it would be the focus of many resumes. However, the purpose of a resume isn't just for the potential employee to get a job. A resume's purpose is to help communicate details about the employee to the employer. The employer will have goals. The employer's goals are going to be why the employer is hoping that the resume will appear to be worth reading.

The opening statements of this hypothetical, example resume are all focused on the employee wanting to get a job. An ideal situation is a situation where the following happens:

  1. a person gets hired at a company, and
  2. both that person and the company benefit from that happening

However, the previous example opening statements show that the person writing this has been greedy, focusing only on what benefits the author of these statements. The first sentence only describes the obvious: the person wants a job, and spiced things up slightly by using an adjective of “eager”. The second sentence is also entirely all about one thing: the person's desire to have a job. None of that provides any perceived benefit for the employer.

One thing a person submitting a resume shouldn't have to say is that the person has a reason to want to have a job. However, that's really been the focus of everything said in these two condemning sentences. If the employer were to hire this person, what could the employer expect to happen? The answer is: the employee will have a job. The employee will be satisfied, because that person has achieved the desired goal, which was to have a job. Actually, the person might still be unsatisfied, because the person is talking about advancement already, so it looks like the person wants to get promoted and enjoy an even more luxurious life of being paid even more to do everything that the employee has promised to do. So far, what the document has promised to do for the employer is basically... nothing. That's not very promising, is it?

Granted, the person didn't say they wanted to do nothing. But the person also didn't say what they want to do for the company. The person simply stated a desire to “be” an “employee”.

A person submitting this as a resume header might, or might not, be somebody who never does any work unless there is incentive. If so, the company may have one of two unpleasant situations: one possibility is that the company will end up with a hired person who isn't doing much to help out at all. The other slightly better possibility may be a hired person who is helping out, but only because some sort of supervisory management is performing the relatively stressful task of helping to keep this person doing productive things.

Maybe the person being hired won't be either of these types of problems, and will be an excellent employee. However, the problem with these introductory sentences is that neither of these introductory statements give off any hints of helping out the employer with any problem that the employer may have. One issue, that the potential employer presumably needs to address, is that the employer may benefit from a staff member who will help benefit the employer. The first sentences, which one would hope are attention-grabbing, offer no details of what positive things the employer can anticipate by hiring this person instead of anybody else.

Remember the purpose of a resume which serves the interest of more than just the job hunter. The resume is also a tool for the (potential) employer. Perhaps the employer has decided that the employer is most certainly going to be hiring somebody, or perhaps the employer might be in a position of just possibly considering whether or not to hire somebody. In either case, this employer likely has goals other than just starting to pay a new staff member. Nowhere in these opening statements did this desirer even show any real indication of planning to help out.

The hypothetical person who wrote these example sentences may not even be aware of the concept of thinking about the focuses/desires of the employer. If the person is even aware of this concept, the first couple of sentences of this resume introduction surely don't show any hint of that awareness.

So, what would be better? Introductory sentences that demonstrate an active awareness of the needs that the employer is trying to resolve.

Many people struggle hard to come up with the perfect, most desirable adjectives that put them in the most positive light. Instead of focusing so much on how brightly the spotlight shines on your impeccable awesomeness, consider the following idea: Make it sound like you're absolutely ready to start performing a job that the employer seeks help with.

Considering additional examples

Consider, for example, the following as a comparison:

I am seeking an opportunity to put my skills to use, serving customers and increasing their appreciation of where they choose to honor with their business.

Some resume experts might think this also sounds terribly generic, because resumes should be very specific to describe a specific job. And while it is agreed that this example does sound very generic, the point of this example isn't to try to show very specific text. The point of this example is to show how different this example is (compared to the previous example of some text which was also fairly generic-sounding).

Basically every job will involve serving customers directly or indirectly. Businesses typically have a desire to have happier customers, and this text is directly indicating that the newly hired person will help with that need. If an employer were to hire this person, then the employer can expect that this person will be trying to help customers. Whether the new employee really does satisfy customers or not is something that the employer may not really know until after hiring the employee and seeing how good the employee works. This sample introduction may still leave some room for that doubt. (Hopefully additional text from the resume will help to re-inforce what the employer may expect.) At this this resume is starting to discuss the framework/outline/skeleton of the idea that this person is going to be able to be a helpful asset for the employer. The big improvement in this example is that this text shows an important concept: that the person is at least capable of thinking about what a business's management is desiring to accomplish.

A resume that addresses more business needs may help to make a person look like someone who will be able to help those business needs. Be sure to show an intent of helping the business. Surely helping a business is a nice ideal. However, agreeing that such a concept is a nice ideal is, simply, just not good enough. Make sure that resume communicates the positive message (because uncommunicated positive messages just don't amount to much). (If anything, uncommunicated positive messages may communicate that a person doesn't value such concepts enough to think about them, at least not enough to want to bother communicating about them.)

There are many possible good messages that may be included in a resume. One would be a willingness to help an employer. Having readily available skills may be another message that would be helpful to communicate. Wanting a job, even for a more laudible goal such as fulfilling a person's life ambitions is... not as good.

As another quick example: if a resume seeks an introductory position of helping a store with musical instraments, don't expect great results by stating that the reason to seek a job in this organization is to fulfill a personal dream of being a great reknown musician. That just sounds too self-focused. Focus on how your dream job will be able to help other people. If huge sections of humanity who will enjoy that music, that is better than focusing on the personal glory of the fame that is achieved from the musical stardom. What may be even more helpful would be to focus on how a business will experience happier customers. Why? Because that focuses on the needs of the business.

Have the resume communicate some sort of message that an employer will see as positive. A key message, and main point, of many resumes is simply “I want a job”. No matter how true such a message is, that message just won't help to positively stick out of a crowd of other resumes. The potential employer is going to want to engage in an employment that the employer will consider to be a success. Many resumes offer no such indications that is what the employer will get.

Example from work history

Consider the following example of a person who is trying to get a job related to computers:

Worked for restaurant inside the local casino. Assembled large sandwiches and created pizzas, ensured proper amounts of money in my till, washed dishes, cleaned industrial-sized food-dispensing equipment, checked food stock levels. All actions performed followed the requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Services.

This is a terrible description. One problem is that “local casino” is generic: the name of the organization should be placed in there. However, that was intentionally generic for this example. Whether or not the sentence style is inadequate may be another issue that isn't going to be addressed here and now. However, there are a number of other issues.

First, know that many people have a bias against gambling. The person writing the resume likely has no way of knowing whether that is true of the person who will be making the upcoming/impending hiring decision. However, the situation might be entirely avoidable. If the name of the casino is “Golden Dollars Casino”, then what is the name of the restaurant in that casino? Chances are that it may have a specific name, like “Golden Dollars Diner”. If so, just put the name of the restaurant in the description. The goal is not to try to hide the fact that this restaurant is in a casino: Local employers may know that anyway. However, don't re-inforce the controversial nature by including the unnecessary word of “casino” if it isn't necessary.

Another major problem is that nearly everything listed there is related to the restaurant industry. That might be suitable (probably improvable, but maybe suitable) if the desired job is related to working in a restaurant. However, it is not. The desired job is to try to get a job in the computer field. If an employer wants to hire a person to work in the technology field, the employer probably doesn't care about whether the potential employee made sandwiches, pizza, or ice cream deserts. (If the employer really is curious about such details, the employer can bring up those questions during a job interview.) None of those skills seem transferable to the new position. All those stated skills are useless for the intended goal.

Some people may pin their hopes on being able to convincingly communicate their hard work ethic and worth during the job interview, and thereby overcome the disadvantage of having a work history from a different industry. However, the person stands absolutely no chance to do that if the resume isn't suitable enough for them to even get granted a job interview.

Note that this text is not trying to suggest dishonesty about what was done. However, the purpose of a resume is not to document work history. A much better approach is to document the benefits that are provided to an employer. The same job could also be described as follows:

Performed at Golder Dollars Diner. Core duties included: assembled/manufactured company's core products, was responsible for ensuring accurate financial handling, prepared equipment to be readily usable for business operations, oversaw operations critical to ongoing operations, and ensured compliance with applicable government regulations.

The big difference is that the first description focused on the experience that the employee engaged in. The second description focused on how the employee's actions were helpful for the business obtaining the business goals. In the resulting text, just about everything listed is something that could conceivably be useful in the desired new industry. This also shows that the person's focus was not on how dull their job was, but on how they were helping the company. Showing that focus can be a key to making a better resume.

To boil that down, the latter example was created by simply using the following two techniques:

  1. Focus on the benefit obtained through the actions, not a useless description of the actions themselves
  2. Try to remove any reference that sounds industry-specific, if the new position has nothing to do with the old position

e.g., replace the word “food” with the word “product”. It is still just as honest, but suddently the skill sounds potentially useful.

Keep in mind that the reason for doing all of these suggestions (avoiding controversial terms, removing non-applicable jargon, and focusing on benefits) is because the resume's author should be trying to appear to whoever makes the hiring decision. The resume author should have a focus on how that person will be beneficial to the new organization.

Intentionally communicate clear (specific) positive messages

Here is an example introduction. It is a slight re-phrasing of what was used by a person who expected to be working with computer data, which is often a “position of trust”, a position where trustworthiness is simply a required expectation. (The original was part of a resume shown at TOOGAM's resume(s), 2012 version (HTML release).)

The Greatest Asset
My greatest asset is a strong professional character.  Unwavering in professionalism in customer
interaction, my focused work ethic, combined with important qualities like reliable attendance,
have repeatedly led to individual and public recognition of conduct. This is my greatest asset,
due to its absolute importance, and the strikingly high degree to which I've held this ideal.

Does this text make you think that this person is a schemer, looking for every opportunity to slack off? What will be the impresson that customers have when they see how this person works?

Granted, the text uses an unusual adjective, “strikingly”. It's a word that suggests power, and action. Such verbage just shines of excellent English skills. So what? Who cares? It doesn't matter. The beauty of this text isn't in being able to craft some convoluted sentence that correctly uses impressively big or complicated words. The very previous sentence was more than two full lines in length. Short sentences are often preferred. From a perspective of writing well, the length of that sentence may be far less impressive. The real power in the sentence isn't that it used the word “strikingly”. The power is in the fact that this person does not intend to back down from being a source of good in this world. How does the reader know this? Because of words like “unwavering” and the fact that he has “held” to the ideal.

The person who wrote this resume wanted to present an idea of being trustworthy, and that is reflected in this opening paragraph with words like character, ethic, recognition of conduct, and ideal. Many inexperienced people want to throw in as many positive-sounding words as possible, and think that honesty is a trait they can include. So they just throw the word “honest” in the middle of another series of positive adjectives, and it ends up just sounding like a buzz word with no real meaning behind it. They don't bother to show or communicate honesty. In the above example, the word “honest” wasn't even mentioned. It was simply implied by concepts like strong character and ethic. The trick here isn't that the words “character” and “ethic” are somehow more powerful than the word “honesty”. The most magical part of that resume text isn't in the choice of which words were used. The key here is that a simple concept was effectively communicated. The concept of honesty didn't need to be explicitly discussed, because it is understood by what was successfully communicated.

The person had rather efficiently crammed in a bunch of flowery buzzwords. Yet this was all done in less than four full lines of text at 12-point Times New Roman font, which is (or at least was, at the time) a popular font that was preferred by people in the age group that may make hiring decisions. Sure, using a 10-point or even 8-point font would allow more words to be communicated. But the benefits that are gained by cramming in more positive information may be offset by the costs of a pleasurable reading experience.

Why attendance is discussed

In many organizations, some employees will sometimes have a high amount of unscheduled days of not working. (Employees will have scheduled days to not work, but some employees may have unscheduled days off: days when they were scheduled to work, but didn't.) Each such incident can have a substantial impact on any small business, or any small team that is trying to be recognizably excellent in how it contributes within a larger business. Does the author of this resume seem to care about, or seem to even be aware of, the trouble that is caused by such incidents? Apparently so: it is the single one of the “important qualities” that the person actually took the time to discuss.

Employers (as a generalized group) will care about attendance. One of the needs of an employer is to have people that will show up, which is typically just one aspect of doing what the person agrees to do. By addressing this, the resume effectively covered the topic, making attendence problems seem like they will be a non-issue. Granted, most people don't put “poor attendance history” on their resume. Whether or not a person actually ends up being a person who shows up for work may require more effort than thinking about whether to type some words on a resume. The resume doesn't even say “perfect attendance”. Instead, it uses the more believable phrase, “reliable attendance”. The phrase still sounds positive, while being much more believable. Since the resume wisely avoids using the absolute term, a reader's instinct won't be as likely to intuitively question the accuracy of what is being read. (Many people have been trained to go into “doubt mode” when they come across absolute terms like “perfect”, “always”, and “never”. This isn't an issue with the above text, because it doesn't show a problem.)

There were two points of discussing attendance. One reason to bring up the topic is to provide some weight behind the phrase of “important qualities”. Using a phrase like “important qualities” can be done pretty cheaply. This resume shows that the person probably really does have some important qualities, because there is an example showing a real awareness of at least one important quality. Secondly, bringing this up addresses a need that a business has. Mentioning attendance was just part of the strategy of addressing business needs, and making it sound like the person would be a good fit to the business. If the only main reason why the person can't help the business out is because the person just hasn't yet been hired by the business, and the person already exhibits many positive qualities, then the employer may feel more ease with the idea of hiring this person.

The root word “important” is used twice (one as the word “important”, and once as the word “importance”). This is generally less-than-preferred. Perhaps one of those words could have been replaced with a different word like “crucial”. However, getting bogged down on the choice of every single individual word isn't nearly as important as the bigger picture: what is being communicated?

Good character is one possible focus to try to present to an employer.

Intent

Understand a resume's role in society. It is to provide an employer with some basic information about a potential employee. If an employer is taking the time to consider the text written on a resume, then the employer is probably interested in trying to hire a good person to be able to fulfill the task.

Some people may think of a resume like a test. If somebody passes, then they may graduate to the next step of a hiring phase (such as a job interview). This sort of approach can make the whole resume feel like a giant source of stress: if the submitted resume doesn't result in a job interview, then the test was failed. The employer may be viewed as the person who determines whether the applicant passes or fails. In this view, the potential employer may be viewed as the advesary who just hasn't yet made the decision that a person is good enough. That indecision is the sole challenge that still needs to be conquered if success, in the form of a new job, is to be achieved. The whole mindset is quite stressful.

Instead, think of the employer as a partner, who has the same goals. An employer would be very pleased to be able to feel impressed by a resume, and decide that this person appears ready to be worth the additional time that it will take to explore the possibility of hiring this person. The goal of the employer is actually very much the same as the goal of the applicant: to locate a match between an employer and a potential employee that results in somebody being hired and then doing well for the company.

Granted, the motives may differ a bit: the employer wants productivity, while the potential employee may have a chief interest in wanting a more stabalized financial foundation for the employee. However, if the employee appears likely to fulfill what is motivating the employer, then hopefully the employer will be content to help the employee reach the employee's motivation. If both parties can fulfill the role to the satisfaction of the other party, then both parties can walk away happy. That is not a sad scenario for an employer. So, instead of figuring out how to overcome an advesary, try to think about how to help a partner reach this mutually satisfying goal. Once of the benefits of that mindset is that it may cause less unneeded stress.

As the employer attempts to identify a new staff member who will help out the organization, the employer has a key disadvantage to the mutual goal of identifying who may work out well, or even best, as a new staff member. The disadvantage is that the mployer knows less than the potential staff member about the details of the potential staff member. A potential staff member, who has this knowledge, should try to help out the partner in the mutual goal of having a successful hiring experience. Try to help the employer to be able to see some of the positive attributes.

[#resutrth]: Honesty

It should go completely without saying that a person should be honest during a job interview. Actually, living as right as possible in every area of life will be rewarding. However, here's a little true first-hand tidbit of how early honesty proved more beneficial than what someone might initially expect.

When a new staff member received his first full-time job in the IT field, he quickly found that the job he was hired into generally had some rather steep requirements. Most people had a substantially higher amount of experience in certain areas, and it was clear that his smaller amount of experience was insufficient. (In fact, the company typically did not hire people with such inexperience in the field, but the person was hired anyway, perhaps in part because of some other positive qualifications.) The job was something he absolutely needed, because the last requirement for this person to obtain a college degree was to get an internship or job and then submit some information to the college about the active job experience. This job was basically needed to fulfill this sole last requirement for the college degree that a lot of work when into receiving. So, with such a high importance on keeping this one particular job, stress was pretty high at the moment of time when the staff member's insufficiency was glaringly clear.

Employers will often try to keep an employee. Replacing an employee who is behaving well, and improving, is often not going to be a more attactive option than starting over with an unknown applicant. Things were only likely to get better over time as this new staff member gained more experience. Although the employer could fire the employee, doing so would seem to be a reversal of the employer's previous actions of deciding to give an inexperienced person a chance. So, such a job termination didn't necessarily seem quite so extremely likely to happen. The amount of comfort obtained by thinking about this was existant, yet very little.

However, some comfort was obtained by thinking of the following: the guy who seems displeased with the new employee's insufficiency knew very well, before hiring the employee, that the employee did not have much experience in a specific area. The potential employee was very up front and frank about some existing limitations. When asked about a topic that the employee wasn't familiar with, the employee outright stated unfamiliarity, and then described the approach that would be taken to deal with the situation. (The approach involved using a search engine on the Internet.) So the employer was completely aware that the employee lacked experience in some specific areas, and yet hired the person anyway. Now, the employee was trying to that person's best ability. Perhaps the results were still not as good as the employer would have hoped for (if the employer had thought about the situation), but this really shouldn't be a huge surprise for the employer.

What seemed more likely is that the new staff member would be expected to change, by improving in the area that the new staff member isn't yet meeting the desired levels. If that improvement does occur, then the problem of inexperience, which may have been causing some other issues, may disappear over time. In the long term, there will still be the undeniable history of not meeting expectations well. However, previous inexperience is easier for an employer to forgive than being dishonest to the employer (even if that dishonesty occurred before the employer had employed the employee). One reason is that inexperience is something that an organization can count on being able to rectify fairly easily. This is smiply because, over time, inexperience gets replaced by experience. However, negative character traits, like dishonesty, can be far more challenging for an organization to try to squash out of an employee.

Consider what would have happened if the potential employee had tried to completely dismiss any disadvantages, even to the point of doing a bit of fibbing, believing that may help the person look a little bit better during the job interview. First of all, the employer may have detected a problem with what was being said, and doubted the new employee a bit more during the job interview. So it could have resulted in the employee not even getting the job in the first place. A second result, though, is that once the employee did get hired, the employee would be expected to live up to what was promised. As the employee stresses out over the fate of a job position that suddenly started to feel questionable, and the employee thinks back about what was promised during the resume and the job interview, then remembering the job interview might not be a source of comfort.

So, honesty had its rewards, even some time after the resume was reviewed and job interviews occurred. What's the worst that could have happened by being honest? Not getting a job that a person isn't really qualified for? That may not be a very terrible thing anyway.

Being honest is the right thing to do. As a secondary benefit in life, it can help increase a trust factor which may have its own benefits. Also, it is less likely (than any alternative) to lead to embarrassing negative situations. There are so many rewards, which is one nice benefit to always striving to do the right thing.

Consistency

A manager, who gave valued opinions about whether a potential new staff member should indeed be allowed in the organization, had once mentioned one of his goals during an interview: compare the person's answers to what was written down on the resume. Sadly, the statements made during an interview often did not reflect what was on the resume. Perhaps the person's resume would mention strong familiarity with a topic, although when some basic questions were given during an interview, it appeared that the person wasn't really very knowledgable about the topic. This of course doesn't reflect highly about how trustworthy the person may be about anything else, including the rest of the resume's contents (which started to be seen as words to be doubted).

The problem in this case wasn't that the person didn't have a good answer to be able to deal with the challenging situation that was presented during the interview. The problem was that the challenging situation existed in the first place, because the resume over-promised. Writing statements that describe one's maximum potential may be standard practice, and even a good practice. Over-promising isn't, so be careful not to do it.

[#popresus]: Number of resumes

Walk in with a number of copies of a resume. If there is just one person being met, handing that person two copies may be a good idea. Sometimes (especially for positions of trust, which may be common for positions in the IT field) there may be multiple interviewers (perhaps simultaneously). Having enough copies for everyone will be a good thing. Plus, if people see that a person has extra copies, they might subconsciously think that this person is very ready to get a job, somewhere. The employer may need to act quick in order to successfully employ this person before those resumes are successfully acted upon by a different potential employer. These thoughts are probably not bad for the prospective employee.

One goal to have in mind is going to be to have the resumes be as common as scratch paper. Here are multiple possibly scenarios that could demonstrate why these may be a good thing:

  • Maybe an employer will want to take some resumes home to review. If there are multiple copies, then a copy can be brought home and another copy remains at the office.
  • Maybe the employer hob-nobs with other employers. (This certainly seems quite realistic. Many businesses owners do hang out regularly with other business owners.) Maybe the person who makes hiring decisions may know of another business who needs someone. A business owner may be very willing to just hand out the “extra copy” of the resume. This may help the potential employee's name be spread to useful people.
  • Maybe the employer ends up filing away the extra copy. Then, later, decides to hire someone else, and someone in the office decides to throw away (or, perhaps (hopefully) more likely, shred) the pile of resumes that didn't get hired. However, months later when an extra employee is something the employer needs again, that extra copy might be seen (because the employer looks for any filed resumes, or perhaps by coincidence when the employer just happens to see the resume while looking for something else).
  • Maybe the employer decides to write a scratch note on some readily-available paper. Then, the person brings that note along on a trip. Suddenly, the resume is following the employer around, who might have some time to kill and decide to read what's on the back side of the note.
]#resulook]: Presentation

Beyond the goal of not looking bad in how the resume is physically presented, make sure that there is nothing glaringly bad about spelling, etc.

Formats of Resumes

Resume Formats discusses electronic resumes.

Physical resumes

More and more employers seem to be quite happy to just use electronic resumes. Still, impressing people is a good thing, so go ahead and demonstrate a capability and willingness to excel in the older style, which is to have physical resumes available.

First of all, avoid “mistakes” like a resume that is somehow physically sloppy. If raindrops fell on the resume and make it hard to read, hand employers another copy. The easy way to do this is not to need to go somewhere to have another copy be printed, Instead, have multiple resumes available.

Then, to go above and beyond, make the physical resume impressive-looking. In many areas of the world, the economy is wealthy enough that the following measures are likely to be able to be done: Print the resume on somewhat thick “resume” paper. (It is normal for such paper to sometimes have a barely visible watermark. This paper may be slightly thicker than regular scratch paper, but not so stiff that it strongly resists bending (by wanting to uncurl). Examples may be “white ivory” paper which is 32 pound linen, or 24 pound linen, or 24 wheat fiber.) If the resume is multiple pages, attach those pages together. Then, surround the resume with some sort of nice protective covering.

Prioritizing look

Some people may start to think, “My language teacher” (e.g., in the USA: an English teacher) “told me not to worry about such fluff about how well my papers look. The important thing is the quality of the actual content of the paper.”

Well, that's what language teachers are prone to say because language teachers want to make sure that people are successfully learning professional language skills, and so students aren't trying to use fancy materials to buy their way out of the requirement to successfully accomplish the primary goal of writing well. However, the truth is that some employers (and even a department head of a college program) do like nice-looking resumes.

Product Recommendation

At the time this was initially written, there was no financial compensation for this recommendation. This is simply being presented as an honest review for potential consideration.

(At the time this was initially given, the price was a bit lower: $2.59 for 6 resumes = less than $0.44 per resume. Since then, the price has been known to increase up to at least $3.99 for a six pack, costing exactly $0.665 per resume. That is still approximately nothing compared to the amount that a person is likely to get paid after getting hired and working at a job (in a weathy nation), although it may be a bit harder to justify in some low-budget scenarios like classroom excercizes.)

For a mid-high level job, such as an IT field, one way may be to surround the resumes with a cover such as Office Depot Item number 678708 (a.k.a. 678-708): Sliding Bar Report Covers. (In prior years, this has been known to be as low as $2.59 online. On the same day, the price within an actual store has been known to be $2.99, over 15% higher. If the price in an Office Depot store is higher, ask if they will price-match their own website, because they likely can. The price online has been seen higher ($3.99)). This provides 6 plastic slides that binds the pages together nicely (similar in effect to the binding of a book): one red, one yellow, one blue, one green, and two black. Also included are 6 transparent covers (that can cover the front and back of a set of papers). If employer's like them, great! If they don't, the resume can just easily be pulled out (which is why multiple pages should be attached using an additional method). If there are multiple documents (e.g. a cover letter, resume, and targeted letter specifically comparing the resume's skills to what the job application asks for), the colors can even help things be organized. (If there are multiple documents, place the copies of identical documents into binders that use the same color. Then, if the opportunity is presented, a reference can be made to the “red” document or the “blue” document. Pulling up a copy of the binder with that color will clearly re-inforce the intended meaning of a term like “blue document”. This can be an effective way to easily help multiple interviewers all know which document is being referred to.)

This may be recognizably cheap (such plastic might be considered cheap, and so unimpressive for someone vying a lucritive high-level position of a large, established company) but, averaging less than 44 cents per paper set, is a very inexpensive way to look noticeably better than people who don't even do this (and just provide uncovered paper).

Hint: If there are multiple pages to be attached using a standard “staple”, have the staple be verticle (rather than diagonal) so the staple is fully hidden when placed in the binding.

Spreading the word

Once you have created the resume, find ways to get it into people's hands. These ways include:

Checking job sites

This may include:

  • Local sites, such as a forum run by a local “special interests” group
  • Local branches of worldwide sites, such as a local branch of “Craig's List”
  • Worldwide sites, such as Monster.com or Dice.com

See if there is anything that looks like a particularly good match. If there are jobs available, but which you don't seem qualified for, consider how much benefit there may be in changing qualifications, or whether the situation is just a purple squirrel.

[#prplsqrl]: purple squirrel

The term “purple squirrel” refers to “something that is not found in nature”. (Although Wikipedia's page on “Purple squirrel (animal)” provides some sightings of a purple squirrel, typical colors for squirrel fur are grey, brown, or perhaps black.)

An example is if an organization asks for somebody with 3-5 years of experience with Microsoft SQL Server 2008... and this request is seen in the year 2009. Presumably software with a name like “SQL Server 2008” came out in the year 2008, or perhaps late in the year 2007. (In this particular case, the software was released on August 6, 2008.) So, in the year 2009, virtually nobody has had that much experience with the software. Some people may, if they worked for Microsoft and they extensively worked with the software before it was publicly released. Such people probably do have notable expertise and would be highly appreciated candidates for a job. However, such people represent such an extreme minority that mentioning such a requirement in a public advertisement seems out of place.

Political Purple Squirrel Usage

Here is on theory of a possible reason why companies do this. Major companies in the technology field want to pay employees less, and workers who come from other nations have often been willing to work for less money than what Americans demand. (One reason may be because Americans may have higher debts due to more expensive educations, so they need money to pay off those debts. Another reason, which may partially explain Americans requiring higher pay, may be because Americans have some grasp of just how much money the technology companies have and accumulate.) Major technology companies have requested that the United States Congress permit more foreigners to enter America. Members of the U.S. Congress have asked for a reason to allow this, instead of just having the technology companies hire more Americans.

One reason that the technology companies have given is that there are foreign people who are more qualified. By placing an advertisement for an impossible situation, the company will find that nobody is qualified. Then, after a period of time where people are not being successfully found, the technology company can go to another location (like India, which is apparently a place that this is commonly done), and find many people who are qualified.

So, using the earlier example: companies can try hard for a couple of years (like from August 2008 through May 2011) to find Americans who are qualified applicants (because of having 3-5 years of experience with SQL Server 2008). Then, in October 2011 through July 2014, a search in India finds many qualified applicants with three to five years of experience with SQL Server 2008.

The results are clear: India is the source of qualified applicants.

The fact is that some Americans do get hired despite the fact that they don't meet all of the stated “requirements” for a position. The sad truth is that many companies are not being forthright. They have certain “preferred qualifications” that are desirable, and the companies call these things “requirements”. However, they are not actually strict requirements, because the facts are that the jobs are getting fulfilled by people who don't have those qualifications.

The political reason behind the “purple squirrel” may be one reason.

Another possible reason is because companies may feel like they have a stronger position during the negotiation phase if a candidate doesn't really have all of the requirements that they should. Humbling a candidate might lead to the candidate being less demanding during negotiations, and result in the candidate accepting less money. Also, recently-hired candidates may be even happier about getting a new job, and so they may be more prone to serve the company well instead of feeling as entitled to receiving certain benefits. So, those might also be some possible reasons why companies seem to be attracted to using the “purple squirrel” technique.

Regardless of why companies are doing this, the important thing to know is that companies are doing this. Therefore, people who do want jobs shouldn't be scared away just because they don't seem to match all of the requirements. The proper approach is to be honest, and let people know which requirements are not fulfilled, but pursue the job anyway. Ask for the position. The track record shows that many people are achieving success when they pursue such positions, and many people are getting more experience in the field because they do so.

BusinessInsider.com page on what to keep off resumes cited Rosemary Haefner, chief human-resources officer at CareerBuilder. “Hiring managers are more forgiving than job seekers may think,” Haefner explained. “About 42% of employers surveyed said they would consider a candidate who met only three out of five key qualifications for a specific role.”

Keep in mind that is from CareerBuilder.com, which is not a site focuses specifically on technology jobs. Two out of five employers acknowledged being willing to overlook two deficiencies out of five “key qualifications”. Conceivably such flexibility might be even greater in an industry where technical qualifications are even harder to obtain, where companies struggle more to find suitably desirable job candidates.

Submit the resume

This is basically a list of some locations that accept resumes. Some further details about some of these locations may be available at the section on finding jobs.

“Careers 2.0” by “Stack Exchange”

For computer “software development” programmers, “Careers 2.0” by “Stack Exchange” may be good and worthwhile. However, it is invitation-only. Those who are wishing to be professional programmers may find the pursuit of such an invitation to be particularly worthwhile. (The site provides some details about activities likely to lead to such an invitation).

LinkedIn

If you search for directions about uploading a resume, you may find multiple places that direct you to go to your Profile, and choose a drop down box's “down arrow” and choose “Import Resume”. However, the purpose of that option is to convert your Resume into a LinkedIn profile. Those who already have a detailed LinkedIn profile might not even see that option.

Instead, go to your profile. Go to the section that is titled, “Add a section to your profile”. If needed, choose “View More”. Choose a section, such as “Publication” or “Project”. Either of these will allow you to name an item (a publication or a project) and include a URL.

After adding that section, and filling out relevant details, edit the profile. In the right frame, look for a checkbox (like ani07's answer to LanceLafontaine's Web Applications Stack Exchange question) and make sure the relevant section “Publications or “Project”) is checked for “everyone” (which represents the general public). After checking that box, choose “Save”.

Other steps to take on LinkedIn.com

If your interest in being contacted about potential job offers is higher than your interest in hiding information from possibly permanent public exposure, while logged into the site, check out LinkedIn.com: (Personal?) Settings and Privacy, Privacy Settings, Job Seeking Preferences. (At the time of this writing, that hyperlink may lead to the web browser scrolling down slightly too far, so scroll up a bit to reach the top of the section.) Ensure that the “Let recruiters know you're open to opportunities” section is set to an affirmative setting.

Then, right below the toggle related to that setting, there is a hyperlink that goes to the LinkedIn.com: Career interests page where you can choose some additional settings that may be helpful with interactions with potential recruiters.

Indeed

Posting a resume to Indeed requires creating an account with Indeed. (In contrast, Indeed can report some search results to an E-Mail address, and getting Indeed to do this does not require creating an account.)

TOS Commentary

The Terms of Service for Indeed states that the website is provided for “personal, non-commercial use only”. The TOS does have some clauses like prohibiting data mining, using (HTML) frames around Indeed's content, or commercialization, posting undesirable content, or performing undesirable activities like sending spam to other Indeed users, or participating in MLM/pyramid schemes. Although the website may provide URLs for a person, Indeed's TOS states (in sections 2: “Use of Indeed”, and section 6: “Registration - Email Address Provision”) that Indeed does “We reserve the right at all times (but will not have an obligation) to terminate users, reclaim usernames or URLs for any reason.”

The section (section “B”) of the terms realted to the “Indeed Resume Program” is for organizations that receive resumes from prospective job seekers. The purpose of this section is for organizations that want this: “Indeed will send an email message indicating your interest to the email address that the relevant resume submitter has provided to Indeed.” A later term notes, “You represent to Indeed that you are an employer interested in considering the person on the relevant resume as a potential employee.”

Note: Once you've posted your resume at these sites, do not think that you've done all that you can do. Plenty of employers still like people to find out about jobs (especially if the employer has paid for a job posting) and responding directly to the employer. Initiate interaction with potential employers if your life position has you desiring a new job.