EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I am always amazed and astounded how frequently the resumes I see are missing vital information. What I am not clear about is WHY the individual in question thinks that leaving off important data will benefit him or her.

Let me start at the top of the list and mention missing home addresses. Yes, hard to believe, but some job seekers are apparently living in their cars. And to add to the impression that they are homeless, some of these resumes don’t even have a phone number or email address. (I’m not sure how you are supposed to reach them.)

I suppose the theory is that if you don’t tell them where you live and you are applying for a job for which you are not local, the individual doing the screening will be fooled into thinking you live nearby. The short and long answer is WRONG. Perhaps I should say it as ding dong, you’re wrong. It is one of the silliest approaches I have ever seen. What makes it particularly silly is that I have seen this on assignments where the candidate WAS local. Yes, you can’t make this stuff up. If you want to be considered as a local candidate, indicate in your covering email why this location makes sense.

The second maddening issue is missing dates and missing work history. I suppose some folks have been advised that because they are VERY old, leaving off date ranges on their early work history makes them appear younger. WRONG. (I won’t add ding dong this time. I will let you do that.) Think of it this way. If you leave off dates to appear younger, you must be VERY old. I do hope someone will explain to me how you won that one by leaving off your date ranges on jobs you have listed. And, some of these lists go on and on. I have seen as many as 5 prior jobs with lofty titles, but no dates. (Gosh, you might even be as old as I am, and I’m 70, but then I have a few miles left on my odometer and perhaps you don’t.)

Another very clever approach to appearing younger is a vague statement at the end of a resume that begins with “and other firms such as …” You have to love that one. Sometimes this list goes on and on as well. Exactly how long were you with each of those firms? There sure are a lot of them, and perhaps there are more.

Leaving things to my fertile imagination, or anyone else’s for that matter is a BAD idea. If the younger folks who review most resumes think you are old if you are over 40, where exactly does that leave you? I won’t even get into graduation dates that are left off most resumes.

Sometimes job postings require some indication of salary history. If it is a requirement, and it often is, leaving it off is going to hurt you. Often times the posting in question suggests a relevant range. If you are within that range, you don’t have to be any more specific than to say so. The person asking the question just wants to know that you are worth talking to. If you have had lofty titles that didn’t have corresponding compensation, you might not want to let this one go by. Stating your salary requirements isn’t a promise to work for any particular amount of money. In this same vein, the company isn’t promising to pay you in this range. It is only there for discussion. Heck, they aren’t even promising to hire you.

A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma probably won’t get you to where you want to be, which is on the candidate slate for a particular job. What might get you there is CLARITY in the presentation of your credentials.

But then, who has time for that when they are so busy removing information?

Regards, Matt

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