Oh I’ll bet you were….

I am increasingly amused while reading current resumes.  I know that in today’s competitive workplace you need to stand out and I am the first to say that a resume is a place to brag on and embellish accomplishments.  However, we are seeing a blurring of embellishment and downright misrepresentation.  The rule of thumb seems to be – exaggerate and confuse.

Rather than reporting being a greeter at Wal-Mart, the new resume shows “customer service coordinator for Fortune 500 company.”  The grease monkey at Jiffy Lube becomes a “petroleum distribution specialist.”  Yesterday’s taxi cab driver appears on the resume as a “transportation logistics manager.”  The credentials for an 18-yr-old McDonald’s worker become “Engineer for meat inspection and preparation.”  The kid who asked three friends to join FaceBook is now a “social media consultant.”

Keep in mind that today’s “VP of Personnel” was a likely a struggling college student herself a few years ago.  She probably knows the tricks of the trade, having presented herself as a “human resource specialist” rather than a babysitter.

The bottom line is this:  the purpose of a resume is to help you get an interview.  But in today’s workplace it plays only one small part in the hiring process – if any.  You can bypass the competition with:

  • An overview of a major project you’ve handled
  • Photos or examples of your work
  • Extraordinary letters of recommendation from people your prospective employer knows well
  • A website that showcases your talents
  • A blog that is compelling and engaging

If all you have is a great resume, you may be seen as simply one more person needing a job, whether you are a recent college graduate or a former CEO.  Be prepared to show how you are remarkable, amazing and spectacular. Then present yourself with confidence, boldness and enthusiasm.

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5 Responses to “Oh I’ll bet you were….”

  1. Deana Goldasich Says:

    This post made me want to stand up and cheer, Dan! I couldn’t agree more — *showing* one’s talents versus dressing up a bunch of past job titles and descriptions is so much more impactful. When I was a hiring manager, I found it so much more compelling when a candidate was noticeably passionate about what they do. Passionate candidates when compared with those only equipped with degrees and credentials will always win out in my book. Add to that a blog that highlights their passion and expertise and they’re a shoe in! 🙂

  2. Kris Plantrich Says:

    Hi Dan! You are right on with the exaggerated job titles. It is not only easily seen through, it also can appear to be intentionally misleading and dishonest. If the hiring manager can’t trust your resume… what else can’t they trust about you.

    I agree too that focusing on the “haves” and not the “have nots” with attention-getting, quantifiable achievements will be remembered and more valuable than fancy/unclear titles.

    Enjoyed the article!

  3. Timothy Says:

    Don’t you think you are being a bit presumptuous & sexist stating the VP of Personnel is female? We live in a pathetically PC world here in the US of A. I should know since I am a middle aged male of colorlessness making me the cause of the world’s problem.

  4. econobiker Says:

    If you have worked for companies with non-compete or trade secret clauses you are basically out of luck on the picture/website idea.

  5. Deana Goldasich Says:

    Econobiker, I see your point. However, one can still share their talents and expertise on a blog or website. Certainly, they’d have to steer clear of any name dropping, etc., but they can probably still share their knowledge, thoughts and expertise…

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