May 24, 2009

The Perfect Resume

During college a late night telephone call had a very different affect upon me than it does now. If it was a female caller it was usually an invitation to come study anatomy and if it was male it meant that I was invited to a party. The caveat being that I was being asked to be their taxi service.

Either way it wasn't a big deal. But these days it is a bit different. Now when the phone rings past a certain hour I begin to wonder if something happened to someone. Was there an accident, did someone die etc.

Needless to say that when the phone rang late Saturday night I was more than a little concerned. Fortunately it wasn't anything too serious, a friend was struggling to rewrite their resume and wanted to know if I could provide some assistance.

Naturally I said no and explained that I don't deal with crazy people anymore, be they transplanted Midwesterners or otherwise. In spite of my best efforts they convinced me to lend them some help which is why I found myself engaged in a marathon called creating the perfect resume.

I am a skeptic about resumes. I think that far too often they are massaged and manipulated into something that doesn't resemble the real experience and background of their owner. I have a simple formula that I use for constructing a resume. It is called tell the truth but be creative and descriptive while doing so.

See, nothing too profound there, but to my way of thinking it is a bit more honest. In truth the job search process for the candidate and the hiring company can be quite grueling.

From the candidate's perspective it can be quite challenging to find a way to stand out from the other applicants. You don't want to miss out on the opportunity to get an interview because without that you stand almost no chance of being hired.

Yet if you spend too much time dressing your resume up it can bite you in the butt later on. And that brings me back to trying to describe the perfect resume. If you ask me it doesn't exist, at least not in a singular, uniform document. You can't be all things to all people.

That's not to say that you can't work on customizing a resume for a particular position and company, because you can. But you still get stuck fighting a few battles, not the least of which is that you cannot rely upon people to be logical/rational in all of their decisions.

If there is one thing that I have learned from being part of the working world it is that not everyone succeeds because they are good or the best at what they do. Far too often it is better to be lucky than good, but that it is a different story altogether.

2 comments:

V-Grrrl said...

I've been helping friends with resumes lately. It's challenging. There isn't a one-size-fits-all format. Mostly what I like to see on a resume is that beyond skills, work history, and accomplishments, some glimpse of the person comes through. Not just what they do, but how they work, who they are. I think even more than skills and experience, a person's work personality determines success, how well they'll fit into an organization. But getting the personality into the resume is tough--and sometimes risky.

Jack said...

But getting the personality into the resume is tough--and sometimes risky.Boy is that ever true. When you conisder how much time you spend with the people you work with it becomes even more critical to find people who are competent and easy to get along with.