Tech & Work

Does your resume say what the hiring manager wants to know?

Be very careful when crafting your resume that its most important parts won't be lost to a different interpretation.

"Egocentrism is when one is over preoccupied with their own internal world. Self-relevant information is seen to be more important in shaping one's judgments than do thoughts about others and other-relevant information." (Windschitl, Rose, Stalkfleet & Smith, 2008).

Some studies show that egocentrism fades as we grow older, but I think it remains a strong, and almost unpreventable, way of being for most people. It's very difficult for people to see things through any lens other than their own.

I refer to this a lot when I talk about job hunting. When people make mistakes with their resumes, their cover letters, or the interview, it often has to do with the fact that it's difficult to separate yourself from what you want to see in a resume versus what a hiring manager wants to see.

To illustrate, let me use a personal example. My husband and I gather information in vastly different ways. If my husband and I were present during a bank robbery and were asked afterward to describe the robber, I would be able to describe his eye color, his sock color, and his demeanor and to speculate about where he goes to get his hair cut. My husband would not be able to offer a clue to the guy's appearance, but he would be able to describe the getaway car down to the type of wheels and motor.

Now, it took me a few years to come to terms with our different ways of looking at things. Even things we say to each other now have to run through the "filter of expectation." Unless we're clear on things, there's the likelihood that the same sentence could be misinterpreted.

So, given that small example, can you imagine how terminology can be misconstrued between you and a stranger looking at your resume? Can you see how many ways, for example, a blanket statement like "completed all duties associated with a project" can be interpreted without specific qualifiers?

While there's no way to know how the person looking at your resume is going to see things, one thing is for certain: He/she is going to be less enamored with the breathtaking beauty of your professional development than you are. His/her concern is if anything in your background and qualifications matches the job they're offering. The clearer you can be on that subject the better.

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.

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