Tomorrow I will begin processing a rather large batch of new members. It is actually a two week batch as I was on vacation the past two weeks.
I realize that new members are not totally indicative of how everyone is doing their resume, but I have to tell you that their resumes aren’t all that different from the ones attached to applications I see for positions posted by The FECG, my consulting practice. (Please visit our website: www.TheFECG.com for information about what we do.)
The statement has been made that most resume reviewers are really only interested in your most recent 10 years. This is true. That is NOT to mean that you should leave off your early work history or leave off dates.
I would point you to the esteemed publication known as The Wall Street Journal and ask you to consider the fact that almost any mention of an important individual is followed by their age. Why is this the case? I believe it is because age is an important fact to consider when reading any story. The story that is part and parcel of your resume is no exception.
I have heard the story that you shouldn’t give someone a reason to reject you. Well, if you don’t want to be rejected by potential employers, may I suggest you write a compelling resume? Fooling someone into interviewing you is just plain silly. And, the ways that people go about hiding their age borders on the ridiculous. My personal favorite is: “Early work history available upon request.” Gosh, does this mean I have to say “pretty please” to get you to reveal how many previous employers you have had? You have to be someone who believes in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus to honestly believe that anyone is going to take the time to ask when that delete key on their computer is so handy.
Let us assume you have tricked someone into actually interviewing you. (Let me assure you that just as you can spot a bogus entry on someone’s expense report, those who read resumes for a living are not easily fooled, but let’s pretend.) You show up for the meeting and instead of being 35 you are 55. The interviewer realizes that he/she has been duped. Somehow they didn’t pick up on the fact that you were MUCH older. As they are sitting there feeling stupid, how exactly do you think they are going to feel about your candidacy, and just as importantly, how are they going to feel about your basic honesty? If you are prepared to leave out important information that you know someone wants to consider about your credentials, doesn’t this mean you might do the same thing in some work context? And, here you are applying for a job as a financial officer, the very person charged with ensuring the integrity of the organization. If you can explain to me how you plan to recover from this, I would enjoy hearing about it.
It is my belief that NONE of this deceitfulness works long term, and long term is what you need to be concerned about.
I am also seeing a lot of resumes that leave off home addresses. I believe that this is primarily being done to get around the “local candidates only” problem. The amusing thing is that I see this being done even when the candidate IS local. Now how silly is that? In any case, I have been looking at phone numbers for so many years that I actually know most area codes. I don’t have to look them up. But, let’s say I do. How long is that going to take? Let’s be generous and guess that it is 5 seconds. Be aware, I’m only going to do that if you have a compelling resume. Do you want to know the more likely case? I’m going to hit the delete key. Go ahead, make it difficult for me to figure out where you live. Make my job harder. After all, all I have is time and 500 resumes to go through before I get to go home for the day. What would you do if you were on the other side of the desk? Would you make a supreme effort to solve each and every riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma that confronts you, or would you take advantage of that delete key?
I’m guessing the delete key.
Each of you has been on the other side of the desk as a hiring authority. Why is it that now that you are on the other side of the desk as a job applicant that you forget how you felt about resumes that crossed your desk? A complete AND compelling picture of who you are and what you have done is essential to getting interviews. A picture that makes sense, makes an impactful statement. No one has the time in today’s world of a flood of resumes to read between the lines and figure out a mystery.
As my Grandmother would say, “I am who I am.” What you are is a seasoned professional. Present yourself as one. If the job doesn’t require or need “been there and done that,” you probably aren’t going to be considered for it anyway. Dumbing down your resume to fit a job that doesn’t fit your background has never worked and will never work.
By the way, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy don’t really exist.