I have the good fortune to be closely associated with an experienced hiring manager. I recently persuaded him to record some cogent observations about resumes that don’t work, and why. Henry Troup is a software development manager for an international company that delivers cloud services for business.
Recently, I’ve been building up my team, and that requires reading resumes. Some have stuck in my mind, even as they went into the reject pile.
(1) The resume where the first technical term was “Protel”.
Protel was one of Nortel’s in-house languages. I’m hiring C# programmers, and C# isn’t that different from Protel. But, what I got from that resume was “I want to go back to Nortel.” Sorry, the job – and the company – are gone, you need to get over it. I’m not that interested in helping with your grieving process.
(2) The resume with varying fonts, misaligned bullets and a claim of expertise in Microsoft Office.
If you actually have expertise in Office, then this resume says you don’t care. Or, you don’t have the expertise, and this resume says you’re trying to con me. Either way, resume rejected in seconds. If you didn’t claim Office expertise, that bad format would still count against you, but it might not be an instant rejection.
(3) The student resume that claimed to have helped “other’s” with their writing.
I pity those who got help from someone who can’t use the apostrophe, yet has an ego big enough to offer to help you write English. Every resume guide recommends getting a friend or two to proofread your resume. Take the advice!
(4) The resume for a software job that said “Objective: hardware developer”.
This one I didn’t actually get to reject, as someone else had made the choice already to interview that person. It went as poorly as I had expected.
(5) The resume of a team lead that I read through and said to myself “but what did you do?”
The resume was a list of tasks, along the lines, and at the level of “Checked in code”. It’s likely that there were good achievements behind this; but as a manager, I can’t use a team lead who can’t communicate what was important about the last five years of their employment.
As well as ensuring you meet the qualifications for a job, doesn’t it make sense to know your customer, prepare carefully, and get proofread before submitting your resume?