Monday, September 19, 2011

What makes me skip your resume?

Careerbuilder recently asked a question on Twitter about resume pet peeves. The folks who responded are the folks who are reading the resumes, not sending them in.

The answers were mostly typos/grammar/job hopping/gaps in employment. I get frustrated when I read these replies because the candidate doesn't always have an opportunity to explain in a resume. They're told to keep it short and simple and explain things like job gaps in an interview, but then HR won't interview them because they don't like the resume. I used to think there should be no misspellings or typos on a resume until someone older and wiser than I pointed out how silly that was unless I was hiring a writer or a proofreader.
Typos happen. Sure, it's a silly mistake. But we all make them. As for grammar, just a quick look at Facebook will tell you how many people don't understand the English language anymore. It's become sadly common. It doesn't mean they won't make fine employees.
If you can't speak well or present yourself properly, that will all come out in person.
As a third-party recruiter, I have to place people to make money. Therefore, unlike HR, I have to read resumes with the idea that the job candidate deserves the benefit of the doubt.

I can't simply toss a resume aside because someone misspelled 'proffesional' (that's the word I see misspelled most often!). I need to look at the skills and then work with the job candidate to create a resume that reflects their skills in a way that matches the job description without fluff or lies. I talk to people about their job search and then I decide if they are good candidates. But HR can't or won't take the time to do that.

Frankly, it isn't the responsibility of any HR department to critique your resume or help you rewrite it. But a recruiter can sometimes help.

Even though I have a clear-cut reason to put up with a lot of poorly written resumes, there are resumes I see that tell me I might not enjoy working with someone. Here's what makes me nervous when I look at a resume (not saying I won't still call you!):

1. You've been employed for more than 10 years, but you have only a one-page resume.
2. You've been at your current job for more than three years, but only have 3 bullet points.
3. You list the year of your college graduation (don't if it was more than 10 years ago).
4. You've been at your last four jobs for less than a year each and you aren't a consultant (even consultants stay in place longer than that typically).
5. You wrote your resume as you would a note to friend. Ex: "I" did this and that.
6. You leave out relevant details. Ex: Computer programmers who don't list the languages they code.
7. You've posted as a confidential candidate. Yes, that makes me nervous although I understand why you've done it.

Here are the few things that will keep me from calling you:

1. Your resume is in reverse chronological order.
2. You have a common skill set and your resume is a mess (see above).
3. You have an unexplained job gap of several years.
4. You have a completely unrealistic salary requirement. By unrealistic, I mean you aren't even in the ballpark.

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That is probably the best interview advice I have have ever received!!! ~Neal C.

I wanted to talk to you again before this interview because you really geek interview tips. ~Chad T.

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