What Not to Do with Resumes

A friend sent me two articles last week that I wanted to share.  After reading them, I want to share some advice for what NOT to do with resumes.

First article is called “Linkedin – Top 10 resume words to avoid”. According to Linked-in, the following are the top-10 most overused terms.   I did a quick check of my resume and found that I am using 3 of the 10 terms listed.

  1. Extensive experience
  2. Innovative
  3. Motivated
  4. Results-oriented
  5. Dynamic
  6. Proven track record
  7. Team player
  8. Fast-paced
  9. Problem solver
  10. Entrepreneurial

So what am I going to do?  Well, one term is legitimate as it is part of the name of my double major in business school, so no changes.  As for the other two, I tried to re-word but decided to also to keep them.  Why?  three reasons

  • it’s more important for me to spend time developing warm leads for job opportunities then to over-word-smith my resume
  • I believe in the terms I used and have good stories for why I chose those words “Results-oriented” and “Problem Solver.”
  • 80 /20 rule – I didn’t use most of the above terms, so I think it’s good enough

Second article is called “Want to get a job interview? Pay attention to your looks” The premise is if you include a photo with your resume, attractive women has the least chance of getting an interview and attractive men has the best chance of getting an interview.  Why?  because most HR personnel screening resumes are women and they are jealous of an attractive woman but would be lenient to an attractive men.

I think this article and study seem like pointless fun and a gimic just to spice up an article.  Including a photo at all in a resume is distracting and adds nothing.  At least the article redeems itself a little and suggest that the best way to get interview or jobs is to network and don’t apply through HR.

My advice after reading these article are:

  1. Focus on the big picture. These are interesting info but don’t over-anlayze.    Stay on the goal of getting more interviews and a job.   Focus on the core skills needed (resume writing, interview skills, networking)  to achieve this goal.  Avoid distracting advice or studies!
  2. Devote more time to networking. You are more likely to get an interview through a warm lead and an okay resume than through cold submission with a perfect resume
  3. Don’t put a photo on your resume, even if you are an attractive man.  A photo does not add anything to your qualifications but will illicit unnecessary bias.  As a hiring manager, if I am interviewing someone who has a photo on their resume , it will just make me think of my insurance or real estate agent.  I may also be extra sensitive to watch for arrogance, attitude, and vanity during the interview.  It’s just extra noise.

Good luck out there!

– Lei

One thought on “What Not to Do with Resumes

  1. Shakti Saran

    Hi Lei,

    Thank You for sharing! I think that it depends on the audience. In general, nothing irrelevant should be mentioned, no expletives should be used, and ego must be avoided in the resume. Some of the keys to focus on are action, result, and learning. I also think that a failure shouldn’t be mentioned just for the sake of completeness. However, a failure can be mentioned if it adds value. Moreover, everything required should be mentioned correctly and completely. Several more things including many details can be shared related to this. I wish that what I’ve shared is of value to your post. In the next months, I should be starting a practice to speak at schools and colleges on professional development and career building. Also, you’re welcome on the Chief Marketing Officer – India http://www.facebook.com/cmoindia page.

    Shakti Saran

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