01541: More Resume Ranting

Today I processed over 100 resumes for the limited openings in my department. Recruitment is all swamped with the never ending agent hiring efforts and thus it falls to the individual department heads to screen their own applicants from start to finish. My efforts netted me with about 11 folks that meet the minimum requirements and maybe 4 more than I might consider if I get desperate, which is a decent enough showing at the paper screening level, I suppose. I just really wish that someone else had done the screening beforehand instead of me needing to deal with all of those resumes, but we work with the limitations set before us.

The whole process of reviewing resume after resume did get me think about all the little annoyances that I experience as I go through one paper after another. To be fair, I think I put a lot more effort into reading these things than I should. But at the same time, it does little for my sanity.

So here are a few things I keep in mind when I review resumes.

Overall Length - For applicants below the age of 40, I rarely see true justification for resumes that exceed 3 pages. A resume is not your living history - it is a summary of relevant experience, skills and talents that will show that you are fit for a particular job. Thus when it starts getting longer than 3 pages and I end up with all these weird listings of seminars that I don't care about, your organizations in college and to have it all end with "references available upon request" just drives me NUTS.

References - Since I already mentioned this, let's get it out of the way. My rule of thumb is that you should always have at least two. At least one should have been a former supervisor or someone who can competently speak about your work experience. If I get a laundry list of friends, college professors and and other office acquaintances, I feel you're not getting the point. And yes, I will call them.

The Generic Cover Letter / Career Objective - While I personally don't get the point of the cover letter or the career objective sections, I can still generally respect them. What I don't appreciate is the ultra-generic cover letter that is one-size-fits-all such that it talks about "the opening at your company" and can only talk about "said position" and how excited they are to "work with your company" and not show the minimal effort of tailoring it to the actual company? That's just lazy. And if I can summarize your career objective as "I want to get a job" then again the whole exercise is pointless and a major waste of space.

Hidden Work Experience - Call me biased, but I really think that your work experience should at least start to appear to the first page of your resume. If I have to wade through your overall summary of experience, your education, AND your school organizations before I even get a glimpse of your work experience buried on page 3, that's just crazy. And please, have it in reverse chronological order where your most recent job is on top? Is that too hard?

Formatting - Limit yourself to 1-3 fonts (and 3 is pushing it) in the course of the resume. I appreciate a little effort in adding a bit of styling by adding quirk headers or using a special font for your name. I don't like large blocks of text that are single-spaced at font size 8 or font size changes that have no rhyme or reasons. And don't have one section in all capital letters and then the next following a different pattern. It makes everything so much harder to read. And please don't use copyrighted images as your personal sigil or something.

The Head Shot - Personally, I do not see the need for a personal photo unless the job requires that you have a certain "look" like in modeling or acting. How you look should have nothing to do with whether or not you are qualified for the job. If anything, sometimes I'm weirded out by the head shot since I start to visualize working with the person and sometimes I don't feel good about it. Sometimes the photo is just horrible. Other times I can't shake the feeling that they're as dumb as they appear. It just makes the whole paper screening exercise all the more frustrating. And no, I do not go out of my way to interview "cute" guys.

Bio Data - Similar to the headshot, I don't need to know how much you weigh or how tall you are unless it was specified in the ad like for airline crew or clerks at boutiques. And I really don't need to know your religion or your general hobbies and interests like some slum book.

Social Media Links - If you are going to provide me a link to your social media profiles, personal domains, blogs or whatever, assume that I will check them out. Please ensure that the links that you provided show your best qualities or help present certain skills that you have. Otherwise, I'm going to end up seeing how bad your grammar is or how wasted you were the other weekend.

There's probably more but I'm too tired to go too deep into things. Plus I have to wake up early so that Tobie and I can make it to the grocery before I go to work. Damn call center life.


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