Resume Clones

Last week, a colleague and I were invited to assist at a Job Action Centre, where we were to help recently terminated manufacturing staff with their resumes.

The first half of the day we devoted to a workshop in which we answered their top questions. The second half of the day was a "speed-dating" style one-on-one resume review, with a new job hunter to assist every 10 minutes. After 2+ hours, I was exhausted! But, I was proud of having provided each participant with two customized, effective bullets and a fresh, customized profile - a profile that was true to their experience and that showcased authentic talents. Amazing for 10 minutes, if I do say so myself!

But I was dismayed that each and every resume I saw was composed with identical language. Although phrases or statements were plunked in different resume categories (sometimes in an objective statement, sometimes as a bullet), each job hunter had precisely the same words. Are these people all clones of one another? Do they not express their talents and strengths in different ways on the job? And what's with the "Objective Statement," which is passe and useless as it talks about what you want rather than what the employer needs!?!

As I chatted - and quickly! - with each person entrusted to my care, I discovered their unique features, those that brought serious benefits to their next employer.

  • One fellow could trouble shoot any mechanical equipment issue and was always called upon to help (although he admitted his supervisor wasn't always happy about that, but that's another blog).
  • Another was hired as a "floater," trained in more than 100 stations and capable of moving around the entire plant, filling in where needed on a moment's notice; he was also asked to train new hires. Furthermore, he told me he took great pride in delivering quality work. His new summary or profile positively rang with his value by addressing the employer's "buying motivators"!

What troubled me is first that someone provided these job hunters with a template of phrases as "effective" content, and secondly, that none of the job hunters had been taught how to "put him or herself in the employer's shoes" to consider what they should include in their resume.

Here's how you do this: Follow your job to the bottom line and you'll discover these "buying motivators." Attendance, for example. One of the fellows with whom I chatted had perfect attendance over the last seven years - and this went into his resume, of course. Attendance impacts revenues with cost savings.

Cross training, and several had cross-training, albeit limited to their lines rather than the entire plant, which again went into their resumes.

What's the use of simply stating your duties? So what!? That's what most job hunters' resumes read like: a job description.

I wish I could reach more job hunters as it makes me sad that so so many peddle useless resumes and get depressed, fearing that their are no jobs out there or that they simply don't have what it takes. Chances are they have what it takes, they just don't know how to tell the story.

- crusading for better resumes, Stephanie