Struggling on Absurd Resumes – My Pet Peeve these days!

Posted: March 19, 2011 in Uncategorized
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As we work on recruitment challenges, and add a fair number of people to the Social Wavelength team, one of the challenges has been to filter through the large number of resumes that come flowing in, in order to short list the candidates to meet.

And its been one hell of a frustrating exercise. Not without its share of humour though!

I acknowledge these facts:

– People are looking for a better job. Nothing wrong with that.

– There are many positions that are open, and it may be an effort to skim through the details, before applying for a job.

– On the company’s side also, finding the right candidate is a challenge.

– And yet, resumes do come in, aplenty, especially if the company has posted the vacancies at the right places.

So it becomes an exercise of elimination most times. Companies cannot possibly call everyone for an interview, and candidates are not taking enough effort to apply only to positions that work well for them.

So this is a gap that someone can work hard to fix. In the plethora of job sites, there appears to be a pain point still existing, and if someone can do a really good job of matching candidates and positions, then there is value to be created.

But on the candidates front, I have some unsolicited advice, if they’d like to really look for positions of their interest:

1. There has to be a reality check first. Someone completing internship applying for a GM position that demands 7-10 years experience, is only wasting his time, and that of the employer’s.

2. There’s nothing wrong with ambition and aspiration. If you ARE applying for a position which is a bit of a stretch, from the point of view of experience or education that is demanded, but you still want to give a shot at it, and believe it may be something you can take on, why don’t you write EXACTLY that, in the cover letter? How do you expect the employer to understand this, without your telling them? And if you are waiting for the interview call to tell them the reason, fact is that the call may never come at all! In absence of the clues that you choose to not give!

3. Can you personalize your resume as per the position you are applying for? Or at least have a bunch of resumes made and kept ready, and send the one that is more relevant for a position? What I see too often, perhaps because a candidate wants to be considered for multiple kinds of positions, are resumes that have almost EVERYTHING in them. Like the candidate’s God’s Gift to Mankind!! It is really incredible, all that packaging on the resume! Let’s understand this once and for all – the employer does NOT buy all that! And in the end, the employer does not know what you are REALLY good at. And ends up rejecting your application. Does not help you, does it??

4. A personalized resume works then. Focus on the requirement (and assuming you are a good fit for it, and you desire that position too) and cater the resume to highlight those parts that are relevant to that position. So when an employer reads it, there is an immediate connection. Like a “yes, this looks like the person we need”! This takes effort, but if YOUR objective is to get interview calls, then this is an approach that delivers best returns to you!

5. It’s a busy world, understand. Yes, you are too busy to not be able to personalize resumes. You’re too busy to read through the entire job posting before applying. So you think the employer has all the time in the world?? Why then, would you take so much time to come to the point, in the resume?? How many resumes have I seen recently where the ENTIRE PAGE ONE of the resume was all background, adjectives, summaries, general gas stuff.. !! If you are an experienced person and looking to apply for a position of seniority, what the employer needs to know is where you worked, and what you did there. If that information takes too long to come, the impression created is “too much gas, not much substance”. It may not even be true in all cases, but the presentation (or lack of it) kills!

6. Get to the point FAST. If you can put your entire career in 1 page, don’t take two. While a 1-2 sentence summary of your background may not hurt, don’t take a page to do that. Get to the point of where you worked. Besides the name of the company and the designation, mention crisply, the business of that company, your role, and key achievements. And then move on to the next company!

7. If some HR consultant or some other professional has guided you to do elaborate resumes, they have guided you wrong!! Trust me! People are busy. If you don’t get to the point fast, if you don’t cut to the chase, you are losing them. Rest assured. If you want the job, work to make it happen, and not just be a resume pusher.

8. And that is another thing to be conscious of. As you grow in the ranks, get ‘senior’, do you really want your resume to be flying all over? LIke you were a rolling stone? Be selective. Treat your resume with a lot of care. Don’t overexpose it. Make it pricey. And you will reap the rewards of a good, planned career growth!

Ahh.. monkey off my back. In addition to throwing out my frustrations, I have now also shared the right way to do it.

Hope that helps a serious job seeker.

What are your views on this? If you are an employer, are you going through similar challenges? If you are an employee, looking for positions, does some of this make sense to you? Share your views in the comments below.. !

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Comments
  1. Vibha says:

    I so relate to this. I am officially unofficially the filter in my office when it comes to resumes.. It a pain. Sometimes these candidates do not even apply for the right job. And finally when I think i have found the right candidate and call him/her up, the moment that person opens his mouth everything goes wrong 😦 back to square one. I get fried! Agree with you completely

  2. Ashok says:

    Great piece Sanjay. I could write a book on the terrible resumes and application style of most applicants 🙂 Maybe worth doing a tweet-up for folks to share experiences and laughs over a beer?!

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