The first hurdle in any job hunt is building your resume. Ultimately, your first draft is a template for something that you are going to tailor based on each opportunity (if you’re serious about the job). Pulling it together is a painful process of learning how to see yourself from the outside. Today, we offer a few guidelines for keeping your resume focused.
Here are 12 things to avoid at all costs:
- Using the term “Pumped Up”
The hardest part of a job search is staying motivated. With little feedback and long stretches of waiting, it’s more like baseball than basketball. Staying pumped is critical. Using your resume as a place to explain that you are will just look stupid.
- Claiming Credit For Completing An Anger Management Program
A resume is a great place for telling stories about the way that you convert lemons into lemonade. But, you have to be careful with personal disclosures. Some triumphs are best left off until you really know who’s reading. Also included would be success stories like ‘reduced cigarette consumption by 62%’.
- Reviewing Your 10 Most Favorite Adult Links
Conventional wisdom suggests keeping your resume somewhat impersonal. On the other hand, some companies really want to know about your external cultural life. A well rounded applicant may want to demonstrate a bit of literacy in video or other art forms. This is a tricky maneuver and should avoid controversial topics.
- Having Your Therapist or Parents as a Reference
Many of us use psychotherapists to navigate some of life’s rough patches. Anyone who has survived a long stretch of unemployment or a layoff needed help, whether they got it or not. Still, the image of you working your way through a Kleenex box while on the couch is not a great picture to paint for the person you want as your new boss. As for parental involvement in your job hunt? Only if you like sleeping on their couch for another extended period.
- Including Your Medical Marijuana Distribution ‘Internship’ Under Experience
Some of the greatest leaders of our time have had, um, experimental patches during their 20s. George W. Bush ran it well into his 30s. You can rest assured that Bill Clinton’s ‘once’ was ‘once over a period of many, many years’. That said, your prior life as an enterprising capitalist probably won’t sit all that well with the team who is going to interview you.
- Mentioning Hobbies Like Beer Pong
Okay, okay. It really does require extreme coordination and profound judgment 10 beers into a pong tournament. And, anyone who’s been there knows it is clear evidence of one’s ability to perform under stress. But, your resume goes to a wide audience. Some of them may not be familiar with the nuances.
- Highlighting Your Tours of Addiction Rehab or Weight Reduction Clinics
Surprisingly, conquering addiction doesn’t tell everyone that you have a strong character. There are loads of people who (with some statistical evidence) think, once a drunk, always a drunk. While sobriety is an amazing gift, your resume will never emerge from the black hole if you mention your 12 Step Program.
- Offering High Scores on Angry Birds as Evidence of Video Game Skills
Now that our wars are being fought from video consoles in windowless warehouses in crummy industrial parks, everyone wants to show their video skills. If you must put something on your resume, go for the more complicated and serious stuff like multi-user universes or complex battle simulations. Mastering Angry Birds just serves to underline that gap between your second and third jobs.
- Implying That You’ll Give a 10% Commission to the Person Who Hires You
You’ve read the crazy truth that headhunters earn as much as 33% of the first year’s salary. So, you decide to make the offer yourself. While this approach does work in a range of labor markets controlled by gangs, resumes don’t usually account for much there. More likely, you’ll offend someone even if you are really sincere.
- Referencing The ‘Jump the Shark’ Moment At Your Last Employer
It happens. Your performance begins to falter after a big success or a big failure. You know it’s over. They know it’s over. You start to move on. Stay away from phrases lie “I knew it was all downhill when…”
- Listing “Coffee Mess Operator” Under Other Skills
What actually happens in the office is really different from what’s in the job description. No job ad ever said “Extensive Brown-nosing experience is a must.” No department ever actually hired someone to make all that money from running the coffee pot and getting supplies. Other useful skills that you should keep out of the document include: getting the boss home when he’s incapacitated; ‘borrowing’ office supplies from other departments; fudging expense reports to get things done; beating the internal procurement system; and pushing expenses into someone else’s budget.
- Adding Doggie Obedience School Under Education
Continuous learning is the hallmark of a great knowledge worker. Using a resume to tell the story of your adaptability and willingness to navigate uncharted territories is powerful. Keep the message to material that is clearly related to professional development.