Monday, April 4, 2011

10 Resume Rules: Fact or Fiction?

Not long ago, I went to see a Department of Rehabilation Services (DORS) counselor about going back to school and get my Master's, possibly even PhD. She said, "Why?" DORS/VR (Vocational Rehabilitation in most states) help deaf people like me with the schools financially. I graduated several years ago with a Bachelor's degree.

I explained that the economy has tanked and it is the "seller's market" in terms of employment (meaning there are more people looking for jobs than there are empty offices, hence low demand for hiring). I felt that by getting my Master's, I'd look more attractive to potential employers. She asked me to bring my resume in. I asked, "Why?"

She was caught off-guard by that and after regaining her composure, she explained that she wanted to see what kind of job history I have and how attractive I am to employers. I pulled out my flashdrive and told her to print out my resume, again catching her off-guard.

After printing out my resume, she immediately broke 6 of the 10 resume rules.

  1. Your resume should not have to fit into one page

  2. Always use a cover letter

  3. Your resume doesn't need an objective

  4. Gaps in your employment history will not cost you

  5. Any embellishment on your resume, even a tiny one, is not okay

  6. Organize your resume in reverse chronological order

  7. Put educational background at the bottom

  8. Your resume does not need references

  9. Use buzzwords

  10. You do not need to print your resume out on fancy paper

(This was taken from Jeanine Skowronski's article on Yahoo! Finance - go to the link for full explanation)

What rules were broken? The counselor thought I had to fit three pages of my work history into one page, she felt I should put in an objective, she wanted me to throw out gaps of work history, she wanted to change one of my job titles to make it sound "better", she told me I need to put in references (how with 3 pages crammed into one?), and she suggested that I put the resume on fancy paper.

I tried to tell her that the one page resume was a thing of the past and she refused to believe me. Fine. I told her that I cannot change the job title - "What if a prospective employer calls and finds out I embellished a little?" and she was sure that wouldn't be a problem.

I decided that was enough of that and I tried again to discuss the school plan with her, but she kept hemming and hawing on getting involved. I tried to nail her down, but she wouldn't give me a definite answer. That told me she wasn't enthusiastic about helping me financially.

So, here I am...four page-long (just included the director of a center) resume, resume on & (always getting calls from companies that need warm bodies to telemarket - no thanks!), working part-time as a tutor, working without pay as a director for a center, getting ready to start playing softball as player/manager, and doing my parental duties. Anyone want to hire a deaf person? :)

Speaking of which...I'll post next week about something that was on TV last February which became a lightning rod for controversy.


A Daft Scots Lass said...

Who the hell has a one page CV? How the fuck do you fit 20 years working experience on one sheet? I mean really, honestly!

DCHY said...

I did throw out a whole bunch of work history that weren't relevant...bag boy for a grocery store, janitorial services at a bingo hall, mail room clerk, so forth. She still tried to reduce what was left. No thanks. I immediately discarded the resume with her changes on it.

Copyboy said...

I say no objective. My objective would be to retire a millionaire. Not the best thing to advertise.

Chapter Two said...

the way resumes were done is gone-do a google image search for resumes- you will see some cool cool shit

DCHY said...

Copyboy - that made me know what? I say, "Bleep it, I'll put that on my resume for jobs that I have ZERO chance of getting." I mean it. Maybe I'll post a pic of that when I submit it...

Chapter Two - I sure did! Thanks for that...I'll be reading images after images. :)

Sandra said...

I'm sorry, but that counsellor does not know what she's talking about. If you have so much experience that you need more than one page, a potential employer is not going to turn you away. Clearly you know what's going on, and she doesn't...did you at least stick your tongue out at her as you left the office?

Bob said...

I came over from Mynx and really like your blog!

I do have to say, after being in human resources for many years the absolute last thing I want is to see a four page resume from a prospective employee.

Even in this job market - to have that many jobs within a 20 [? guessing here] to have a four page resume is a bit off putting. I would actually put it to the side, regardless of experience.

My main concerns when reading a resume were 1. job experience in the past 5 years [are you compatible to what we are looking for] 2. work history - how long at jobs, etc. 3. education 4. honest to goodness - spelling and punctuation - that sounds cruddy, and I don't adhere to it when I write on the net [so please don't judge! :)] - but for a potential employee it is really important in the work place.

Just a thought from someone that had to hire quite a few employees in my time. My instincts were pretty good. I had a lot of great people working for the companies I worked for.

I know it is substantially different for you but I know that there are many people out there that could not care less. It is about whether or not you could do the job. We do exist.

DCHY said...

Bob - thank resume is just three pages long and it does have relevant information that would help me land a job. I am well-trained in proofreading so my resume is error-free. Maybe I should post a copy of my resume with all the identifying characters taken out and let you all look it over.