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Seven Things You Don’t Know I Know From Reading Your Resume

OK, I’m quite prepared to be shot down in flames from all sides for writing this. Shoot me down anyway for starting this blog with a cliché, but here’s what I (as a former recruiter) and other recruiters can work out while we are reading your resume.

1. English is your second language.

Your English could be text book for the most part, but I can still work out whether it’s your second language, just from a quick read of your resume. You may leave off an “s.” or you use words in the wrong context. Here’s some strange expression I’ve seen lately: “Providing delightful customer service” “Maintain and strengthen customers” “Organizing equipments” “Good skills in….”

If you are new to Australia, one of the major concerns local employers have about employing you, is how well you communicate. Behind this concern is another concern about how well you’ll fit in. Any incorrect choice of words will fuel any negative stereotypes a recruiter may have about your communication skills. Have a “local” speaker read over your resume before you send it. (Good practice for anyone, really)I receive enough emails from recent arrivals to know cultural stereotyping is a major problem.

2. You want your experience to sound more impressive than it is.

I have often seen people describe a stint of counter service at McDonalds as: “providing high levels of client service.” While this statement is not incorrect, it is misleading. A client is generally someone whom you deal with more than once. A customer is someone who comes to the counter. Most recruiters know what people do at McDonalds, so this statement just sounds silly. The person who wrote the above has oversold what they actually did and not mentioned what is really challenging or interesting about a job at Maccas. Anyone who works there for any length of time can generally work well under pressure and serve people in a fast paced and highly measured environment. That’s the interesting part.

3. You lack confidence or have not done much self-reflection before sending in your resume.

Nowhere on your resume can I read anything about you personally. If you do not tell me your strengths or achievements, I am either going to assume you don’t have any, or do not think they are important enough to list. Most of the employers whom we interviewed for the book, want their employees to be “self-aware.” They want people to understand their strengths, so they can apply them to the job at hand. I am not talking about a laundry list that sounds like any other person. That’s almost as bad as no strengths at all.

4. You don’t want to tell me how old you are.

I know this because you have not put dates on your study. And fair enough too. Many of the emails I receive are from people worried that they are 40, 50 or above. While I have not seen any out and out age discrimination in my time in recruiting, I receive enough questions and heard enough horror stories about this to know it exists.

5. You don’t know how to market yourself.

You haven’t sent me a cover letter or written a career objective on the top of your resume. Reading your resume I have to guess what it is that you want to do.

6. You are not that serious about wanting this job.

Read point five.

7. You do not write very often, or well.

You have too many redundant words on your resume. If you have a list headed “responsibilities, then I do not need to read that you are “responsible for” on the very next line. Other examples are where you say “in order to” instead of just “to” or “planning and strategizing” which are pretty much the same thing.


Reinvent Your Career would like to thank Interviewiq where this article first appeared.

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