All right, listen up knuckleheads, it’s time to take out my frustrations again by pretending to help people.
This stuff I’m gonna share with you is the real deal, the good stuff. I hope you’re paying attention.
I’m hiring someone. Have a posting out, collecting resumes, and I’m personally going through every single one and sending the names of folks I deem worthy to our HR to arrange the phone pre-screening interviews.
I am seeing all these resumes, looking for someone to get the job done, and nothing is filtered out. I’m seeing every one that is sent in applying for the position.
I’ll be up front here; you people scare the shit out of me.
Okay, you know the rules. I won’t use any names, I won’t quote any examples, I won’t even tell you what the job posting or description is, or what company it’s for.
But there are trends here that baffle the hell out of me.
Here’s the setup. I have a job opening. I need to find someone with the skills, dedication, and attention to detail required to get the job done safely and reliably.
These resumes are ridiculous!
Here, let’s hit the high points.
1) Make a damn cover letter!
I look at your response to my posting, and yes I’m going to look at your list of skills, your list of previous work experience, your education, your past accomplishments, etc.
At the very top, before I dig down into all that, I want to see your cover letter.
I want to see your personal little memo to me, introducing yourself, telling me who you are (professionally), what you’ve done in general, what you enjoy doing (PROFESSIONALLY), what strong skills THAT DIRECTLY APPLY TO THE POSITION you bring to the table, and what about the job you’re applying for that appeals to you the most.
I know folks are dedperate for work out there. Everyone knows it.
But I have a responsibility to hire someone that has the skills we need, someone that will stay here, dedicated, committed to making this company a long term place to continue your career. I’m looking for, in essence, someone looking for a long term home, and not just some short term source of income while they continue looking for what they REALLY want.
If I get the feel that we’re just a pit stop on your road to what you’d rather be doing, screw that.
So I WANT to know who you are a little bit.
A paragraph, two at the most. That’s all. But if you give me that, then instead of being a list of cold stats off the back of a baseball card, you become a PERSON that I can get a feel for.
Now, if you do include a cover letter, do me a favor. Just for me.
Make sure you take the time to tailor it to the job you’re applying for, make sure it reflects your attention to detail, and is clean and professional and perfect.
That means, if you use a form letter you are copying/pasting over and over, that I can’t tell it’s a coldly impersonal form letter very easily… and that if you happened to leave spaces for filling in the name of the job you are applying for, the company you are submitting your resume to, the name of the website you found the posting… YOU FILL IN THE DAMN BLANKS BEFORE SENDING IT!!!
Also, of course, please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check.
Oh, and punctuation is not a suggestion, it is the law. Mister Period is your friend.
2) On your resume, holy shit, please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check.
3) When you are writing your resume, I appreciate your including previous accomplishments you are proud of, those things that you feel went outside the normal scope of your assigned responsibilities, and shows you can step up and kick ass.
What I don’t need, is for you to tell me, in your resume, about your personal interests. I most particularly do not need to know you enjoy four wheeling in the mud during Autumn, hunting with rifle and bow, and that you love taking a 6 point buck in deer season and dressing it out with your son. I’m glad you are a family man, but why exactly should I be giving a shit about that?
Letting me know that you were the captain of your high school football team also does not need to be listed. Not unless you think your new job will include being able to call plays on the production floor, anyway. Or you graduated high school yesterday.
In fact, on your resume itself, let’s just keep ALL that crap to yourself, okay?
If you feel the need to share something personal about yourself, follow this simple rule; does it tell me something about your professional work ethic, or your integrity? Does it relate in some way to the duties or position you are applying for? If not, dump it.
If you are active in charitable work, by all means add that, if you really want to. It is nice to know that you are committed to being a positive force within your community.
If you are a member of professional associations related to the position, such as the Surface Mount Technology Association for designers and builders of printed circuit boards, adding those activities and associations shows that you are serious about making this field a career, not just a temporary stepping stone to something else. It helps an employer know that you are serious about what you do. It is the single biggest thing you can tell me, outswide of your skills and experience. If you have taken the time to pursue more information and networking within the field outside of work, then I can at least hope you are serious about staying within the field.
If you are applying for a leadership or management position, maybe you think being captain of your high school football team is a relevant display of your leadership skills. I’d agree, if you are only two years out of high school. Once you’re in the real world, though, we want to know about real world experience.
Knowing that you married the captain of the cheerleading team, while very interesting, is also not exactly what I consider to be relevant information.
4) Make sure that your resume is not bloated with crap that in no way relates to the position you are applying for.
More is NOT better. Far better to be clear and complete in describing how what you DO know relates to the position, than to throw in a ton of crap in the hopes that you’ll baffle them with bullshit.
If you are applying for a job using power tools to fix stuff, please do not list your skills in blowing glass at the rennaisance festival. Please.
Be clear. Look at the job position you are applying for. Take the time to GET THE IDEA that what you are sending is YOU, it’s all we can possibly know about you, and the game is simple; there is one job opening, and you want to WIN!
Someone reading your resume is, and I guarantee this, reading a hundred other resumes. You want yours to be super clean, super clear, you want it to say “Hey, this is me, this is why I’d be perfect for you, and why I want to work for you, no bullshit. Now, here are my skills, hitting the high points, emphasizing my experience and can-do attitude, my positive approach, my focus on being a pleasant customer service happy-happy person and a team player, here’s my relevant education, and now I’m outta here.”
Make it a single page. Fight the bloat.
I do NOT need a detailed list of every piece of test equipment you know how to use. If you’ve told me already you’ve got 15 years experience doing wrok that requires test equipment all the time, then all you really need to do, if you feel you HAVE to, is state that you are extremely proficient and current in using the majority of test equipment relevant to the industry. Period. A shopping list of every kind of test equipment, oscilloscopes and multimeters etc etc is a distraction and indicates to me you’re scared of your lack of experience and are trying to make your resume look ‘heavy’.
If the job you are applying for listed specific brands of equipment they would like you to have experience with, then YES, say you have experience with that brand of manufacturer if you do, but make it clear that you are a very fast learner if you don’t, and list any relevant experience that might help you to learn their brand faster. If no particular brand is specified, then don’t specify.
I thought I knew what people were doing for resumes out there, but holy shit. This stuff is insane.
Oh, and one last thing. You know those columns the idiots write in the Business section of your newspaper? The ones that list the 10 most used questions in interviews or phone screenings, and tells you how to properly answer them?
Think about it.
Yes, that’s right…. WE KNOW THEM TOO!
Seriously, think about that. How do you think I react when I ask a question and get some trite, previously worked out safe sanitized bullshit run past me?
Don’t try to bullshit, or run a song and dance by people. You want to lose your shot? Give nothing but safe answers, be ambivalent, or use crap language when asked those questions that are designed to find out what you really think or how you’d respond.
I personally phrase my questions to find out how you would respond to a real, actual situation in the position. A question that requires you to use your judgment to make a decision. If you are scared of commiting yourself to answering it honestly, that tells me a lot right there.
I think it’s safe to say that the people who are asking the questions are well aware of all the “here is how to cheat the system” articles out there… and if they still use the questions, they are now asking them to see how you’ll react to them. Are you being honest, or are you trying to find ways to game the system?
Oh, one last thing… please, just one last thing…
Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check. Please use spell check.
For God’s sake, people. Why do you want me to cry? Do you really like the salty taste of my tears?