Frustration Friday: Curse of the Awful Resumes

One of my great arch nemeses are the Archetypically Bad Resumes, or ABRs for short.  They're out there, mocking me and in general screwing up the resumes of decent people who see the ABRs and take them for templates.

You're out there, ABRs, somewhere.  You have to be because the only way I can explain some of the awful resumes I've seen, some of the terrible advice I've seen people follow, is that out there there must be some universally awful resumes that innocent people have used as examples.

It's the only logical explanation . . . OK it's not logical really. I'm ranting.  But honestly, when I see bad resumes or see people having problems with resumes it's almost always the same things.  It's like there's some mind-controlling Platonic Lousy Resumes out there burrowing into people's minds.

Seriously.  The bad resumes I see or the mistakes people make always seem to be the same ones.  It's gone beyond amusing in that painful human folly sense to downright creepy.

These are the trends I see over and over:

  • The Gigantic Bragging Summary, where someone figures that potential employers will be impressed by a description of how great you are that is about a paragraph or more of text.  The resumes OPEN with this abomination.
  • Random Highlights of Doom.  Bolding words intermittently to emphasize them doesn't make your resume impressive.  It says you're trying to tell me what I care about and that you operate on buzzwords.
  • Disorder Mania – Who told people to keep putting their education first on their resume, even after they've had years of successful careers?
  • Ill Skills – People either forget to list their skills, barely list them, or create humongous lists of them that no one can read through.  This is really bad when combined with the Gigantic Bragging Summary and Random Highlights of Doom.  Where's the balance here?
  • Detail Download – Do you honestly need to give me paragraphs of description about one job or make a resume 5-6 pages long?  Seriously, no one is going to read this.
  • Only the Job – Show some hobbies and certifications people, don't just list your jobs.
  •  Clone Zone – The resumes all look a like.  This part is getting just creepy.  Can't people jazz things up a bit?

It's as if there's two basic ABRs, The Overdetailed Nightmare and the Underselling Minimalist Resume.  They exert powerful mind control rays over innocent resume developers.

Break their hold.  Don't let the ABRs control your brain.

Besides it'll give me, your friends, and future employers a break, because we're all pretty sick of the ABRs tool.

– Steven Savage