The Resume Doctor Will See You Now

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Call me Little Miss Sunshine, but I think it’s time for you to demonstrate a wee bit of optimism. And in that cheery sunshiny spirit, let me suggest that maybe the reason you can’t find a good new job, or get a promotion at your bad old job, is not because people hate you. It’s because they hate your resume.
Oh, there’s plenty about you that’s hateful, but unless you have a winning resume, you’ll never get past the front door and potential employers may never get a chance to hate you in person.
The importance of a resume was brought home to me recently by the news that The Wall Street Journal is starting a new feature called “Resume Doctor.” The idea is that people like you will submit their resumes to a panel of “recruiting experts and hiring managers,” who will review your resume as if it was crossing their desks in a real job search. What a wonderful public service! You get to be rejected for a job you never applied for and which never existed in the first place.
As explained by Careers columnist, Sarah E. Needleman, Resume Doctor will cure what ails you, employmentwise, since “in today’s cutthroat job market, having a top-notch resume is critical to success.” And what makes a “top-notch resume?”
For job seeker Dawn Jordan, “a 39-year-old marketing professional from Laguna Beach, California,” the purpose of carefully-crafted resume is to land a “mid-or senior-level executive position in marketing.” Dawn has been looking for that mid-gig since her previous job at Bank of America Corp was eliminated in October 2008. (If I remember correctly, Bank of America Corp was eliminated in October 2008, but I doubt that is an accomplishment that will appear prominently on Ms. Jordan’s resume.)
The trio of resume specialists assembled to autopsy Jordan’s two-page resume in their first appointment with the Resume Doctor found quite a bit that was healthy in her two-page, “classically formatted” resume. I think thee and me can take advantage of their resume diagnosis, without having to strip ourselves naked and subject our puny curriculum vitae to a formal examination, which our HMO will probably not cover anyway.
For example, they “gave kudos to Ms. Jordan for including in her document a variety of key words — terms that recruiters are likely to search for when combing their resume databases.” For a marketing resume, those magic words include “segmentation,” “cross-sell,” and “CRM.” Despite the doctors’ belief that such abbreviations are irresistible to her marketing audience, Jordan was cautioned to spell out the meaning of acronyms, as if everyone didn’t know that CRM stands for Can’t Resist Mallomars.
Since it is impossible for me to know the key words in your particular field, let me suggest a few generic magic words that will improve any resume: “salary unimportant,” “willing to relocate to Bangalore,” and “RCEOMIL,” related to the CEO’s Mother-In-Law.”
The picky job-pickers also dinged Ms. Jordan for a lack of specificity “that would help them get a better sense of how she progressed in her career.” No doubt Jordan had actual accomplishments, which she could have listed. She probably had so many achievements and triumphs that she had to cut back for fear of being perceived as a braggart.
This will certainly not be a problem for you, since list of greatest achievements is limited to one — getting into work before it’s time to leave for lunch.
The resume doctors also noted “another common omission” in the education section of their patient patient’s resume. Ms. Jordan’s document “failed to state what year she earned either of her degrees.” There’s no chance you wouldn’t list your educational accomplishments, Professor, since earning your PhD took you five whole days and a payment of $120 at the ivy-clad walls of Jordan also did not include her major for her undergraduate degrees. I say, who cares? It’s no one’s business that you majored in keggers.
The more serious problem with the missing dates in the resume of Ms. Jordan is that “some professionals intentionally omit graduation dates to hide their age.” How horrible! Why, it’s almost as if you are less likely to be hired if you’re over 50, or 60, or 70.
Based on the bozos populating our upper management, I think it’s the people who read our resumes who need to be examined, and not by mere general practioners. Step right in, hiring managers. The Resume Psychiatrist will see you now.


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