IT Employment

3 things your resume could do without


Here are three things that, judging from my mail, hiring managers dislike in a resume.

1. Spelling and grammatical errors. We've covered this area quite a bit on TechRepublic. (See 10 flagrant grammar mistakes that make you look stupid) Some members have blasted us for our seeming exaggeration of the effect these kinds of errors can have. While I'll concede that you may be able to get away with them in the informality of day-to-day work life, you CANNOT get away with them in your resume. If you can't even make error-free a document that is supposed to, in one or two pages, present you to the world in your best light, then you've got problems. Mistakes in a resume speak volumes to a prospective employer about your attention to detail, or lack thereof.

2. Interests and hobbies. I don't know where the idea of listing your interests and hobbies on a resume originated. Maybe it was someone's attempt to present himself as a "well-rounded person." But a resume is not the place to do that. You can cover that territory in the interview.

First of all, as a manager, if I'm looking for someone who has a proven track record of managing successful IT projects, I don't much care that you do Civil War reenactments in your spare time. It's not germane and it's also a little smug. ("Look how eccentric I am!")

And what if big game hunting is your passion and I'm a vegetarian? You can't anticipate anyone's prejudices, so why take the chance?

3. Cutesy gimmicks. Before you send me all your arguments that resume gimmicks like purple paper or pop-up graphics get a candidate noticed, let me point something out. The Wall Street Journal is probably one of the most visually unappealing publications in the history of the world. But it's also one of the most respected. Why? Because the lack of screaming visual gimmicks implies that the content has some gravity. If you send me a neon resume that plays the theme from Star Wars when I open it, I'm going to think you are disguising your lack of qualifications with tips you picked up from P. T. Barnum.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

116 comments
dakotaopen
dakotaopen

My rule while reviewing a cover letter and resume, "Any error was immediately in the trashcan!" The cover letter and resume are a direct reflection of the candidates thoroughness and accuracy in job performance. Chief Information Officer, Large Aerospace Corporation

i.ho
i.ho

Naive, illiterate and mediocre - I see three words on their faces when people talk to me about perfect grammar on a resume! Perfect grammar is naive: Those who have a little more knowledge about English, its evolution and the trend, should know that English, and its grammar is changing rapidly. Don't believe me? Take a look at: "English as she will be spoke", pp 28, 29 March 2008, Newscientist; or http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19726491.300-how-global-success-is-changing-english-forever.html Perfect grammar is illiterate: What is English? Have you heard of British-English, Queen's English, French-English, European English, American-English, Singlish (Singaporean-English), Ausglish (Aussie-English), Chinglish (Chinese English), Honglish (Hong Kong English), international English and etc. Does every word has the 26 syllables embedded is an English word? And does any phrase has latin syllable words assemblied English? What is modern English? What is contemporary English? What about the imported words from all over the world? If a resume demands for perfect written English, will an interview expects perfect spoken English? If the word "discrimination" is forbidden to be used here to distinguish non-local-native speaker of English, I cannot think of another word. Have you seen the Department of Education and Training in NSW of Australia tried very hard to reserve some places for mediocre students to get into selective high schools, and similarly medical schools in universities in the whole Australia, by introducing "interviews" in the student selection process, after a failure of attempting to seperate "poorer" English writing students, originally thought of Asian background, but eventually their local white-descenting students who speak English at home, with urgy grammar. A little early talking about mediocrity in the above paragraph. Here you go the selection process for computer robot picked mediocre workforce: A company called Robot Recruit, as well as many others now, use macro, or application software with lists of keywords, helping the recruitment agents, lazy HR departments and employers to shortlist applicants who trick the systems with tank-full of keywords to get into the short-listed pool, so that the recruitment agencies and the employers can "cream" the keywords-lovers into their workforce. Those people with visions and work smarter and not using the so-called keywords in their jobs with smart works done, sorry, will not be statistically picked up for interview. And I am sorry to see that recruiters are hiring partimers and backpackers to do telephone interviews at A$2 per call per resume. Those partimers and backpackers are definitely native-English speakers. That's why they are hired. But without the industrial knowledge, professional skills and experience to talk to the applicants, and a temp job hopper, they never care and listen to the contexts and achievements of the applicants. What those recruiters-lovers, or backpackers and recruiting staff or managers, are just listening to find the English-accent of their choice. This is the secret code implicited in the spoken language. It's never anything about the capability, ability, credentials, experience and knowledge of the applicants. Have you seen examination assessors giving marks by looking at their hand-writing way to pick up those students from the same junior/high grammar schools as themselves? That's the perfect English for English comprehension examinations, for the past, and even for today. Is it not a reason why less than 25% of the experienced and elite non-English-native-speaking immigrants are being hired into their original profession after getting into Australia, or is it? Those high-flying executives who are too young, just not commented as "too mature to grow in our company", nor having "seniority problem" or don't care to know all about "perfect grammar", may already enjoy the benefits from naive, illiterateness and mediocrity in getting into their office chairs. While a retired top judge in Hong Kong once said in his blog that he was still learning English; I remember that the ex-British Ambassador often acclaimed that his English was not as good as the retired judge mentioned. Perfect grammar? Who dare to claim this credit? - copyright of this reply remains with the writer, not the blogger, not techrepublic.com, or anybody else.

i.ho
i.ho

Naive, illiterate and mediocre - or so called perfect grammar! Perfect grammar is naive: Those who have a little more knowledge about English, its evolution and the trend, should know that English, and its grammar is changing rapidly. Don't believe me? Take a look at: "English as she will be spoke", pp 28, 29 March 2008, Newscientist; or http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19726491.300-how-global-success-is-changing-english-forever.html Perfect grammar is illiterate: What is English? Have you heard of British-English, Queen's English, American-English, Singlish (Singaporean-English), Ausglish (Aussie-English), Chinglish, and etc. Does every word has the 26 syllables embedded is an English word? And does any phrase has latin syllable words assemblied English? What is modern English? What is contemporary English? What about the imported words from all over the world? If a resume demands for perfect written English, will an interview expects perfect spoken English? If the word "discrimination" is forbidden to be used here to distinguish non-local-native speaker of English, I cannot think of another word. Have you seen the Department of Education and Training in NSW of Australia tried very hard to reserve some places for mediocre students to get into selective high schools, and similarly medical schools in universities in the whole Australia, by introducing "interviews" in the student selection process, after a failure of attempting to seperate "poorer" English writing students, originally thought of Asian background, but eventually their local white-descenting students who speak English at home, with urgy grammar. A little early talking about mediocrity in the above paragraph. Here you go the selection process for computer robot picked mediocre workforce: A company called Robot Recruit, as well as many others now, use macro, or application software with lists of keywords, helping the lazy HR department and employer to shortlist applicants who trick the systems with tank-full of keywords to get into the short-listed pool, so that the recruitment agencies and the employers can "cream" the keywords-lovers into their workforce. Those people with visions and work smarter and not using the so-called keywords in their jobs with smart works done, sorry, will not be statistically picked up for interview. And I am sorry to see that recruiters are hiring partimers and backpackers in their telephone interview. Those partimers and backpackers are definitely native-English speakers, but without the industrial knowledge, professional skills and experience to talk to the applicants. They never care and listen to the contexts and achievements of the applicants. What those recruiters-lovers, or backpackers and recruiting staff or managers, are just listening to find the English-accent of their choice. This is the secret code implicited in the spoken language. It's never anything about the capability, ability, credentials, experience and knowledge of the applicants. Have you seen examination assessors giving marks by looking at their hand-writing way to pick up those students from the same junior/high grammar schools as themselves? That's the perfect English for English comprehension examinations, for the past, and even for today. Those high-flying executives who are all too young, or don't care to know all about "perfect grammar", may already enjoy the benefits from naive, illiterateness and mediocrity in getting their chairs. While a retired top judge in Hong Kong once said in his blog that he was still learning English; I remember that the ex-British Ambassador often acclaimed that his English was not as good as the retired judge mentioned. Perfect grammar? Who dare to claim this credit? - copyright of this reply remains with the writer, not the blogger, not techrepublic.com, or anybody else.

keith2468a
keith2468a

Should you ever list anything about you as a person on your resume? It depends on the job you are going for, and is it long-term or short-term. If it is a short-term job, then probably "no". And I suspect that that is what PT Barnum is looking for, "do what it takes to make me happy" short-term workers. Are you so desperate for a job that you'll hide the real you? IF big game hunting is important to your life, would you want to be hired by an evangelical vegetarian? How pleasant do you think your stay with the company will be? IF the environment is artsy, then showing a little creativity is almost necessary. There are no blanket rules that are always true, other than: 1. Find out what you can about the employer ahead of the interview. 2. Don't decide to turn down a job during the interview. Always go for the sell. 3. Avoid taking a long-term job with a manager or company that has an incompatible attitude or incompatible goals. 4. Be adaptable. Don't mention hobbies that aren't relevant. If hunting doesn't matter to you, why bring up something that kill the job offer. Organizing civil war re-enactments indicates possible leadership potential. IF you don't have leadership roles in your work history, you could add it as a hobby.

wendy
wendy

The biggest mistake my IT clients make on their own resumes is starting with an OBJECTIVE. Ojbectives start your proposal off with a vague, cheesy overview of what YOU WANT. Instead, start your resume off with a clear title followed by a BRIEF overview (profile) of your value proposition to the prospective company. Here's an example of a typical objective followed by that same candidates profile. OBJECTIVE A network engineering position that provides opportunity to apply advanced skills and professional growth. Instead... LEVEL THREE NETWORK ENGINEER MS Server Administration - Active Directory - Cisco Networking Energetic and talented engineer with demonstrated ability to coordinate and motivate teams to provide high service levels. Extensive hands-on experience delivering large-scale, mission-critical projects on-time and within budget. Sought out by others for advice and solutions. Able to clarify intricate technical solutions to diverse audiences resulting in successful implementation. Now, which resume do you think will get attention? The opening statement is your highest value retail space - use it wisely! If your resume is not performing up to par, feel free to send a copy to me at wendy@trendresumes.com for a complimentary evaluation. Wendy Belancourt, CPRW Certified Professional Resume Writer Trend Resumes - The Interview Advantage www.trendresumes.com

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

One out of three ain't bad. I agree with number one wholly, with my typing inabilities, I always have a proof reader or two review my resumes and proposals. Number two is subjective though, listing interests and hobbies is good for a student seeking his first job. If you don't have a heap o skills and experiences to fill space, offering personal information is suitable in such cases. It also lets the employer know if you are active, socially adept etc. But number three I can only partially agree with, I actually use graphics on resumes and proposals, especially resumes. I have had nothing but the mpost positive comments from prospective employers too. I use a graphic company logo beside each employment listing, in colour. If done neatly in a well packages resume, it looks outstanding and also offers the employer a quick visual reference. Logo's, if well known, jump out and show them who you've worked for at a glance, which is really all you'll get at first. It looks phenomenal and I have had employers tell me that they'd do the same thing if they were to be seeking work in future. Anytime I've gone to an interview, and seen a pile of resumes on the desk, you can always see mine even if only a little stickks out from under others. It IS 100% effective everytime. I've mentioned this before and had people question the ability to use corporate logos and if it would be seen poorly. In actuality I am not representing the company or claiming to be a representative, it is just visual recognition of a company I worked for, which is completely legal and in no way infringes on any copyrights. But I have also seen WAAAAy overdone resume's and can see where the line needs to be drawn. But I swear on my life, using company logos beside each job listing DOES get you noticed and is generally seen as creative, attractive and original.

blockb
blockb

Dear Toni, Thank you for pointing all of the common errors out. Having been an English teacher prior to being and IT professional, those errors are found all the time in documentation, and not just resumes. Brava! I was beginning to think I was the only stickler out there.

alpha_jade
alpha_jade

I agree with you on all three points. I was going to agree more with the last two (theme from Star Wars, as part of a resume, would make me scratch, and I like the movies), however as an editor, as well as a programmer (in my misspent youth, at any rate) I believe that good grammar shows a propensity for precise coding, a good thing when developing software, I would think.

funster7
funster7

When you have 50 CV's (uk for resume) to look at, if you can't get the relevant improtant information from the first glance on the front page then in my experience the CV will just get binned. You only have a very very short period of time to make the first cut, so it is so important to have solid, relevant information to start with. Do NOT go straight into detail as the reader just doesn't have time to read it. Skils relevant to the position are what is required.

guillenkma
guillenkma

This article is short, concise and chock full of pertinent information. Sort of reminds me of what format a resume` should take.

mark.giblin
mark.giblin

I have been through several CV help groups that all say that you should include your hobbies as this gives the prospective employer a larger idea and scope of your personal skills and highlights latent skills that may do the company good if they "shed light" on to them... Why the author of this article has decided to attack the concept I don't know but it certainly shows that Toni Bowers lacks insight on this subject.

kitsunekamisama
kitsunekamisama

...here in Sweden we are taught in school and by counselors to add our hobbies and interests in our personal letters, that we are to send along with our CV to the employers, for exactly the reason you mention, to point our how well-rounded we are. Also, if the hobbies and interests are parts of why we apply for a job, shouldn't we mention them then? If I apply for a computer support service job should I not mention that I use computers on a daily basis and that I know what I'm doing from personal experiences via my hobbies and interests? It all comes down to what jobs we are applying for and what hobbies and interests we have. Note: A personal letter might not be what you consider a resume per se, but it's the closest thing to it that we have.

semaj91
semaj91

If I apply for an IT job in an area I'm interested in, then won't my hobbies reflect that? You could cover it in your interview but I doubt an employer would be willing to search the web for your projects at your request. And what if I manage an up and coming OSS project? Or a slew of good quality OSS projects? Is the fact I'm not getting paid a detriment to my possible employment or does it show a hard working character?

sestreight
sestreight

When I worked in advertising, prior to being a web analyst, I would get resumes for a copywriter job, that were full of typos and lousy writing style. I redlined one and mailed it back with note: "This resume should have been your primary writing sample."

tony
tony

As a manager, I always look for background that I can use in an interview to ask some questions to put people at their ease. Hobbies are a good one for this. They also give a clue about whether people will fit in with the rest of the team. If you have a team that is all extreme sports enthusiasts, it does not matter how good the candidate is, if they are going to have nothing in common with the team, in time they will feel left out and isolated, become unhappy, and then you may have greater problems. Talking to people who have been job candidates recently (I have not hired for some time), I am discovering that most of them are finding that successful interviews have been much more about culture and fitting in than technical competence. I think this is due to a shift over the last decade or so from a hierarchical management structure to a peer team management, where you need to trust your peers as you depend upon them more for success. Hobbies can also indicate aspirations. For example, someone may list travelling as a hobby. The job vacancy may include travel, but their previous jobs have all been static. Thus, you have additional information before the interview. Hobbies can also highlight another point - have people exaggerated this area of their life in order to impress? So, I disagree that it is an irrelevance. You may not discuss hobbies, but at least you go into a job interview knowing just that little bit more of the person you are interviewing. ---- from a job interview 20+ years ago ---- I had to do an on the spot psychological profile. After I had done it, and scored 0 on one characteristics, the personnel manager pointed out that it was not bad, but in fact an asset. This characteristic showed that I was not easily put off, and since the job was in tech support for a novel product, it was essential that the person could cope with not succeeding all the time. This was the best job I had and company I worked for - it transformed my career.

melekali
melekali

Depends on what kind of job you are applying for. Overall, gimmicks are not very useful. But if the position is something you can demonstrate something cool you can do in that regard, that might be impressive. Of course, if the gimmick were an actual show of special skill if applicable to the job for which you are applying.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Whi eI do agree that it is really irrelevant, I never get into that myself. Betting horses doesn't look good for an employer.:) Then again, I have taught job hunting sessions and ran two week courses on resume skills and how to find work that suits YOUR choices, not just what's advertised. I spoke with dozens of potential employers to see exactly what they do look for in an employee, only to find that this is something many employers actually DO seek as being relevant. They feel that your participation in team sports can be an asset for workign within a team. Being a captain of a team also indicates leaderhsip abilities. Having a penchant for nature often shows a thoughtful person or creative tendencies, etc. So while I don' t do it myself, it is a great way to fill space for a spearse resume if needed.

jchooyin
jchooyin

I think a resume needs to list elements that are relevant to the position being applying for... Therefore, if an interest of hobby is of direct relevance then list it. i.e.: you have a hobby that develops computer games for fun and your applying for a job that could appreciate that quality then list it... Or you don't have practical work experience managing people but have volunteer experience as a hobby that encompasses managing people then list it. Bottom line is if it applies list it, if it is not relevant drop it.

xbnu
xbnu

Toni Bowers judging someone to be smug? That's hilarious.

sultan_A_hassni
sultan_A_hassni

Thank you, this points can be very useful especially for the begginers how do not know what to type in thier resume.

faostephen
faostephen

The idea being brought out here is just ok. I think it should be imbibed generally but may be waived on occasions. At least we should know that there is nothing wrong in having different types of resume for different kinds of jobs. What do you think

tigerjim49
tigerjim49

Everyone should have to go to a resume class before they get out of high school. I've seen so many stupid resumes it would make your head spin. I wish now I had kept them and made a book; it would be hilarious. Sumhow peeple have got 2 thinkin that rightin is not important anymor becuz uf Mezingers--butt their 2 kute 2 tayk seriuslee! Grow up people; employers are not going to come down to your "what does it matter anyway" level.

csteuckrath
csteuckrath

Absolutely correct! Grammar, spelling, and format errors are the gateway to the trash can. Hobbies and gimmicks? Who wants to read that fluff or put up with distractions to content? Hooray, Ms. Bowers!

wrlang
wrlang

The eye catching resume is a matter of who is going to be looking at it and for what job. If you're getting an analyst position with the WSJ, then a boring read is probably good. If you're going for an illustrator's position with a children's magazine, then some color and doodles are probably a good thing. Having been in IT with a very large temporary help firm that went through hundreds of resumes each day, one reviewer I knew did select the colorful and eye catching resumes first just to add some excitement to the job. While the average resume reviewer may want a more Spartan resume, there are always some exceptions to that generalization.

tonoohay
tonoohay

I once help bring a speaker to a group of Professionals seeking employment working as a unit to help all members suceed with their respective job searches. The first words out of this high level Hiring Manager, as regarded Resumes, was all about the proper Paper and alignmnent-positioning-visability of the "water mark found only in the Best Quality Stationary" ?? Since this person was at the upper end of the receiving line, the Resume would have been screened by numerous other eyes looking for work related aspects found in the article. But if you had your Resume printed at home or failed to monitor the printer service your efforts and luck of passing all those other eyes would be for "not"! Most of the people from our group agreed we had no desire to even work for a boss that had such a bias of a person seeking employment based primarily on an abitrary element found only in the finest of stationary forms. No wonder some hiring managers can't place qualified applicants!

siifred
siifred

I am concerned about ???judging from my mail??? portion. Is this article being written from someone that actually reads resumes? It is so easy to give a generalization about resumes. Even your freshman college English 101 class will give opinions what type of resume should be created. However, do you have any experience reading or sorting resumes? There are many types of resume formats depending on the type of position. Each type is different in style and areas of concerns to be shown. There is a newer type of resume called Resumix that is evaluated solely by special computer software and only key words. Most government department utilized their own formats http://www.usajobs.gov/forms.asp. I really do not mean to sound so judgmental. I am so critical of my own writing, especially when so many people would read my own reports and statements. I would value this article more with sources or other references shown.

strangerinastrangeland
strangerinastrangeland

I absolutely agree about grammar and spelling... anyone who regularly reviews resumes can tell you that a horrifying percentage of resumes have typos, misspellings and grammatical errors that could absolutely put that resume in the trash (I include this as one of my "Ten Reasons Your Resume Ends Up in the Trash (and what you can do about it)" ebook that I give for free on my website TheJobSearchGuru.com. On the personal section, though, sometimes that's the best way for you to bring your personality into your resume, and that's one of the secrets to getting noticed... having some personality. Who says that technical people need to be dry and boring and only recite the acronyms for what they do? The personal section can allow you to share things that you might not be able to tell someone directly, perhaps that you're a minority candidate, or have some affiliations to a pertinent group. Someone here linked to an article that talked about how some personal things are "good" (like running, music and being a scout leader) but some are "bad" (their example was raves and body piercings, which makes me laugh since these would both be things that I might personally list if it were appropriate). There are not good or bad things... only things that let someone know what you're about. And if you're a raver into body piercings who has great technical skills, and you really don't want to work for someone who has negative judgments about you and your personal choices, then giving a hint about it up front could be helpful, just as if you're a gun-toting hunter who loves NASCAR and you would hate to work in some uber-progressive place, you can save a lot of time by giving a hint about that upfront. Your call, and if you don't know your audience, better to be safe than sorry, but don't underestimate the power of a personal section to communicate things you might not be able to say otherwise. People like to hire real people, not just lists of software skills. And someone suggested "toss the objective" unless it matches the job... my coaching is to make sure that your objective matches the job you're applying for. I do executive search and when I open your resume, and it says you want to be a CIO but you've submitted it for any other job, I assume that you aren't paying attention and didn't read my posting. You have a much better chance to make it to the next step if you customize that objective, pointing out the intersection of what you want and what they want, in a way that still is truthful and focused. Someone who can start thinking about where a real match exists, and put it into words, has a far, far greater chance at being put into the "interview" pile than someone with no objective at all, unless your job progression is so obvious that your next step is a no-brainer.

ipaston
ipaston

The point of grammar is that it provides a set of rules (whether in English, French or a programming language). This set of rules then enables the reader to understand completely what the writer meant. Unfortunately the previous post is so poorly constructed that I am at a complete loss as to what the contributor is saying. I almost wonder if this was the point ? something so badly written really does show the power of ?proper English?. Having worked in many parts of the world, I understand the differences between British English (and all its regional differences), American & Australian English and even Singalish and make an effort to adjust my spoken and written English appropriately. Surely for people applying for jobs in IT where precision is everything, an ability to follow a set of rules when writing something is a pre-requisite.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

personally I'd zoom past all that BS, to the career/education history. The only time you'd see crap like that in application from me would be if I was targeting a specific employer or opportunity , it would be in the cover letter and it worded to make them go Tony = Vacancy = Filled Stuff like that just makes me feel the candidate has got good potential in marketing, there are better ways for a tech to sell themselves. Achievements is key. You should also bear in mind people from different countries use this site and there many cultural differences involved. You just got a view from the UK.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Naaah, I'm a stickler for details too, not here of course (just look at my posts full of typos) but in 'real life' it matters, especially when I am writing copy for someone. As an example; you had mentioned being a former English teacher and said, [i]"Having been an English teacher prior to being [i]and[/i] IT professional."[/i] Either you left that career due to your grammatical errors or you simply overlooked using the word AND instead of AN. When you then go on to agree with the original post, you claim "Brava!"; I think you meant Bravo, however I could be wrong with that one. Now, do you see it? You're not the only stickler around, feel better? :D I'm just having fun, I am sure your grammar is just fine, but I couldn't resist.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

From the snippets and blobs of code i've written over the years, hacked on some new language that seems cool, I have found that spelling is irrelevant. Most code does not really use too many 'words' which are as important as typing skills or keyboarding skills. I find that a lot of code mistakes are due to colons missing, bracket issues etc. While I wholly agree with you, perhaps it is use of the keyboard that matter more than the actual English spelling of words. Now THAT'S nitpicking!

check_here
check_here

I do not speak for Toni Bowers, but would like to take exception to Mark's comments. I guess the fact that several CV help groups demand for inclusion of hobbies is not enough reason to say no one can call the demand to question, which is what I think Toni has done. Of course, the forum is there for everyone else to express his views. The question that, I think, should be in the mind of HR persons and job seekers is what value does CV help groups and job seekers derive by including hobbies and interests. Several comments posted has tried to point out this value and lack of it.

Justin James
Justin James

I've seen a ton of sources that say to leave it out. My stance is that it should be left out unless it is possibly relevant. For example, if you enjoy working on cars as a hobby, I don't care about it if I am hiring for a programmer position. But, if as part of that hobby, you programed a custom fuel injection firmware, I definitely want to hear about it! Just use some common sense, and all will be well. :) J.Ja

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

But I feel thta those skills/hobbies woul dactually be valid skills to add to your 'additional skills' area. I think the case was with respect to people listing playing baseball, skiing, kite flying etc. Sure it does show some teamwork experience, but your experience should detail that skill anyway. As i noted myself, I do see such hobbies and interests as valid for a younger persons resume where they have little work experience but may be hired for thier interests and goals. Showing leadership skills and related insterests, for a high school student, may be quite a good way of evaluating someone's skills and strengths.

sestreight
sestreight

If you list your hobby as "electronic musician", they'll think you're a night owl who smokes pot. If you list "environmentalism", they'll think you're a global warming proselytizer kook. If you list many hobbies, they might think you'll be too tired to work hard during office hours.

Navy Moose
Navy Moose

I've never put hobbies on my resume, but during an interview last Fall the manager had done a Google search on me and found my website and asked numerous questions about it. I'm a photographer on the weekends and it turns out this manager is an amateur photographer. This experience made me think about adding hobbies but I still can't quite get myself to do it.

TinaNZ
TinaNZ

I used to be in the position of hiring staff for a small software company, and a CV that showed something of the applicant's personality was often a refreshing change. I once hired a candidate who submitted a very unusual CV. His interview proved that he had the skills for the job, but his CV got him the interview, as it presented him as a person who would be fun to work with and probably fit in well with our small team of sociable geeks.

check_here
check_here

Guess what, a man's hobby may be another man's profession. While an applicant may imagine his interests and hobbies would score him additional point, his recruiter may view it differently. Imagine one's interests and hobbies are closely related to the job in question, and one state it as such (interests/hobbies), while this may appeal to some recruiters to imagine the applicant will be 'dedicated' to the job, yet some others value workers who can take time off the work, take enough rest or get involved in non-income generating activities not related to the job. To be safe, therefore, I would rather advice applicants do away with interests/hobbies.

wiggledbits
wiggledbits

Who in this field submits a first resume in paper? I send one to a link in an online posting and give them the option of downloading it from my personal URL with a directory setup for each company. I have taken copies printer on watermarked cotton bond to every interview I have gone to and not once in the last 4 years has anyone needed one of my copies. Granted if I was doing cold calls I would at the least use the brightest 28# bond I could find but there are too many jobs out there to have to do cold submits.

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

Our system uses it too. The problem with keyword searches is unless used properly they can screen out the wrong people and give you a list of people who just added keywords to their resume. It's happened to us.

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

This is one of the reason I list software and equipment used. I have been told that some companies use software to sort their resumes and if you don't have the correct key words your resume will never be seen by a real person. Bill

shermp
shermp

Wow - I've always wondered about job coaches and you sure answered my questions. So you would recommend that people pepper their resume with "hints" about who they are that would otherwise be considered an illegal EEO issue. That's about the most unprofessional thing I've ever heard. If you are an uber-hunter and you can't manage to work with people different from you, then do enough research before sending in a resume to screen out companies you wouldn't like. Secondly, most of us work with a variety of people who are not all the same - or all like us. Part of getting along well with people of different races, ethnicities, sexual preferences, religions, politics and lifestyles is knowing how to be who you are without being "in your face". If you can't even write a resume without telling me that you're a militant lesbian or a fundamentalist Christian than you're not going to do a very good job getting along with all the people at work who aren't just like you.

wendy
wendy

Tony, You are very correct. Not only are there gajillions of rules specific to each resume, there are rules that vary by geographic location. What I have learned from recruiters is that they often skip the first 1/3rd of the resume and cut straight to the current/last job to determine if they even want to pay attention to the resume. The first thing most recruiters want to know is if the candidate is at the right level in the right industry to fit the job they are sourcing. Every reviewer is different, from recuiters to hiring managers in what they look for on the resume. It's one of those things where you can't please everyone so you do your best to present yourself in a way you feel comfortable with. Do the profile and key skills make a difference? Heck yes. It just depends on the reviewer. I've transformed client resumes using this technique and seen it work wonders for them. The second biggest blunder I see is the candidate failing to qualify themselves by leaving off relevant information about the scope of their capabilities and industry expertise. For instance, you manage projects. There's a wide range you need to validate in that one area. What size projects? Global, national, or local? $500K or $2.5M? Teams of 3 internal pro's or teams of 150 comprised of internal, vendor, and client members across several divisions, and so forth. This ups your "fitability" factor and increases the number of relevant responses you receive.

strangerinastrangeland
strangerinastrangeland

You say that as if being an electronic musician is a universal negative, and as an executive recruiter specializing in startups, I have a number of clients where that has given a candidate extra points, because it's entirely consistent with the company culture and their team. Same with environmentalism (and ack! would you really want to work somewhere that assumed anyone who cares about the environment is a kook? I sure wouldn't)... and you do know there are companies in the green space, don't you? Again, this is about knowing your audience, and sharing things that give them a picture of who you are as a human, beyond software acronyms and corporate buzzwords. Generating a resume with the assumption that all companies are boring and conservative is probably what contributes to all the boring and conservative resumes I wade through to find the interesting people that my clients want to hire.

JamesRL
JamesRL

If you are applying to be an admin assistant, you'd better list out MS office and even specific functions (Mail merge, macro creation etc). If you are applying for a programming job, I will assume you either know it or are capable of learning it. Likewise "older" apps. If they are somehow relevant to the job, include them. If they appear on the job description or are relevant to the the job description, by all means include them. But you can give the wrong impression if you include everything you have ever worked on in 20 years. You want to focus on the job you apply for. Keep the focus. Don't flood the reader with irrelevant stuff. If you are posting on a job board, you can be somewhat broader in this - include more. I don't list that 20 years ago I was able to use a COBOL development environment, cause its not relevant to what I do today, as one example, and I don't want COBOL jobs sent to me. James

strangerinastrangeland
strangerinastrangeland

I doubt that you're the kind of person I work with, even when I do have time for private coaching clients, but no worries. Here's the deal: Your resume, like it or not, is filled with "hints" about what you're about. It tells the reader how you see yourself in your job, how you think and communicate, what kind of work you produce, what you think is important, and a whole slew of things that are easily read between the lines. Yes, if you're an uber-hunter, you could do research to screen out companies you wouldn't like. But you can also screen *in* companies you *would* like, and use your resume to let them know you're one of them, by using the personal section. And sure, there are many work environments that are very diverse. But if you think it isn't an advantage to be a minority candidate in a senior executive job, for instance, think again. Sometimes someone whose background might make them the #4 candidate becomes #1 when its realized that they would bring an important diversity to the team. Sharing information like that isn't being "in your face" and it doesn't mean you can't get along well with people. But there are indeed jobs where being a lesbian or a Christian will give you an advantage over other candidates, and no amount of wishing-it-weren't-so will change that, and if you can use it to your advantage, then you should. After all, the goal is to get the job you want, isn't it? If the truth helps, don't hide it.

Ed G.
Ed G.

EEO violations are only a problem if asked by an employer. There is no law which precludes a candidate from volunteering information, regardless of how dumb an idea it may be. Also, as to "screening out companies", aside from gross conflicts of interest (big-game hunter working for PETA) your immediate supervisor has more influence in your comfort than your employer's policies would. Besides, most US companies pay at least lip service to EEO protections, even though many may not follow them.

s31064
s31064

Good call. But you missed the spot where she talks about spelling, grammar, and puntuation, and then proceeds to leave out the closing parenthese on the shameless website plug!

guillenkma
guillenkma

Tony, Reading through the "chopped" sentence structure was a bit difficult BUT your advice is sound. You hit the nail on the head with the helpful tips. More "pearls of wisdom" from an agent in the field. Good on ya, Kevin Guillen

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I'll go with my version, if you don't mind. Why be greedy? To be quite honest whacking as many buzzwords in as you can without looking like can't form a sentence, is your best bet. 99% of recruiters just use a straight wordsearch for their first pass. If you don't hit that, you get nowt. At the high headhunter end of the market, or to get your first go, then you are either dealing with professionals or you do need the services of someone like your self. I've had a lot of luck with just rewording a few bits and reposting if I get nothing for a bit. Recruiters tend to search the most recent resumes they've recieved. So even your super duper version will go stale in their sytems after at most six months. Add tips and tricks to your package, interview help, and don't forget culture. Meet a scots eyes in an assertive manner and they think you want a fight. Teach them how to shake hands, limp ones do me in, and people who try to break my fingers annoy the heck out of me.