The Right Blend Blog and Why I Didn’t Get the Job

For someone who has interviewed quite a few people in the past 10 years I felt that writing a blog post about resumes, what is both appropriate, inappropriate and advisable could be both interesting and have some potential comedic value, as I have pretty much seen it all and then some. As the title would imply I have actually had a candidate apply with an email address of not realizing at all what this less than professional email address would reveal about her. I’ve also seen, and (numbers have been changed to protect the innocent so don’t try to email these people you loons!).

Your resume is often the first impression that a potential employer has for a person prior to meeting them, selecting them to interview for potential employment, etc. so you would think that people would invest a little bit of time and effort, especially in today’s world of technology, to fix misspelled words, bad grammar and maybe Google some examples of good resumes before submitting them.

Some of my personal favorites over the years have included people who love and I mean L-O-V-E ridiculously curly cued fonts or using the “wave” effect in Microsoft Word to make sure that their name stands out. What they in actuality do is make it so I can’t even read the name and that automatically puts them in the “I don’t even know who you are pile” along with those that are handwritten (yes, people still do this) and the ones that are 14 pages long, outlining everything they’ve done from birth to present. Honestly, while waitress is a necessary position, and we’ve probably all been one at some point, there are only so many ways to say “I mopped the floors and cleaned the toilets” and make it sound good, so leave out waitress job #3, #4, #5 and #15 and hit the highlights for me.

Another no-no that I have seen is people who list their hobbies on their resume. While I have found that knowing an employee’s hobbies can be an important factor, listing them on the resume seems a little like you’re trying to fill space and potentially puffing up a dull list of skills. The same goes for keeping every honor you have ever received since high school on your resume. I think it’s ok to list some of those high school honors, if that’s all you’ve ever had and if this is your first real job, however, if you’re 35 and changing careers, it’s probably time to ix-nay on the track and field medal that was 18 years ago, cause it’s doubtful you could do it now, just sayin’. You should probably also leave off memberships if those memberships include things like the NRA, National Wild Turkey Federation, etc. When you list memberships on your resume those should be left for professional organizations like Rotary, Toastmasters, etc. While hunting, shooting and whatever hobby based memberships are important to you, they do not have anything to do with the job you are applying for, unless in this case you wanted to be a game warden or something.

A recent resume I ran across for a position that we had open in sales had the “objective” that this person was seeking to “obtain a position as a teacher in an aquatic teaching facility”. Huh? Really? Please read the job description you’re applying for and craft your objective to fit that opening or just leave it off. An aquatic teaching facility? I’m still shaking my head over that one, I wonder if I could get the Chamber/CVB to install a pool and then we could all list aquatic in our job descriptions from now on? Ideally your objective should describe your desired job and field (check) and demonstrate the relevant value you will bring to the position you’re applying for (epic fail).

Also outlining your education, while it is important, gets less and less important with the age of the applicant and the time out of school. A recent graduate should probably have education at the top of a resume, while someone who has been out of school for a number of years can feel better about listing actual work history and experience versus “got my GED in 2002”. Remember impressions matter and seeing that you have worked since 2002 in the same job with steady promotions, increased responsibility and salary increases is way more than impressive than the education piece of this example. Something to note again on the education section, yes it is important, however, education that is not relevant to the position, such as “certified toenail technician” is probably something you can leave out of the list if you’re applying for that administrative assistant position and not a job at Sally’s Nails.

Some stylistic errors that continue to amaze me are people who use different colors for different sections of their resume so it ends up looking like a rainbow by the time their done making the objective red, the education purple, the experience green and the references yellow. And people who center everything! That is extremely frustrating and makes you wonder if they just center it because they do not know how to use the margins. Spelling is another big one. Let’s set aside the very real fact that dictionaries do still exist in the modern world, and if people don’t know how to use those there is always and other such resources. Is it truly possible to misspell a word today on something like a resume? You should be reading, rereading and then reading again to ensure success but instead I have come across “eperience” (experience), “customor” (customer) and other such fun and creative words.

And then how you send the resume. Please do not take a picture of your computer screen after you’re done typing and send me the picture of your screen. I mean really! Or send a file like a txt that no one can open. And your emailed resume should have something in the body, even if it’s just a “hey here is my resume for consideration”, if you haven’t bothered to put anything in the subject line of the email or the body of the email and a resume comes through to me it will be deleted. Since the directions on the ad said “put in the subject line xyz job” you have already started out with an inability to follow simple instruction and you wasted your opportunity to make a first impression by not putting anything in the body of the email at all.

So when comes knocking on your door you might look at her multi-colored resume that’s all centered with misspelled words and consider her former career and education as a toenail certified professional for your opening or you might not, good luck!

-Leah Poole, CEO of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce & CVB

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