Writing That Resume

Most of you reading this are likely just starting out in the work industry. You’re searching websites and asking friends, family, teachers, librarians, everyone you can think of if there are any job positions you could apply for. And why not? Having a little extra cash in your pocket certainly never hurt, right? You can buy lunch at the mall on Saturday, or save it for college, even pay off any library fines you might have accrued over time.

But you can’t simply walk into a burger joint and ask for a job. They want to know who you are, they want to be able to determine that you’ll be a good fit and that you’ll work hard for them. Nobody wants a slacker.

So, how do you show them you’re made of what it takes to get the job done? You write a resume. This is a listing of your past and current experience, and as you gain experience your resume will grow longer, until you need to cut out some of the details and only keep what’s most important, or most related to the job you’re seeking.

Here at Copley, we offer resume writing workshops in the Teen Room a few times a year, and I highly recommend you attend one as you’ll learn a lot and be better prepared for your job hunt. To find out when these workshops are happening in the future (there is none sheduled at the moment), go to the Teen Lounge page at www.bpl.org/teens and you’ll find our calendar listings near the bottom.  

In the meantime, I’d like to share some resume bloopers many people tend to miss, including adults who’ve been writing resumes all their lives. 

The following are the ten classic resume bloopers as told by Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert:

1.)  “Revolved customer problems and inquiries.”
What does this say to you? If you were the boss looking for a new employee and you received a resume that had this line written in it? Let’s take the word “revolved” to start. What do you think of when you see it? A revolving door perhaps? What about a little child running through it in circles, not letting anyone else get through the door? Often people refer to others as revolving doors when they go through relationships like the daily newspaper, reading it and tossing it out right after. Does this sound positive? I’m guessing not.

This line says “I refer people seeking help to other people, rather than helping them myself, thus placing a burdon on my coworkers when they’re likely trying to get something done.” Not good. Not good at all.

2.) “Consistently tanked as top sales producer for new accounts.”

What does this say about the owner of the resume? “Consistantly” means it happens over and over and over again. Right? And “tanked” is just another word for “failed”. Yeah? So put those two words together and ask yourself whether or not you would hire this person?

3.) “Dramatically increased exiting account base, achieving new company record.”

Forget the second half of this sentence. It’s meaningless once you’ve read the first half. Let’s put this into a context that’s easy to understand. Let’s say you work for an online social networking site. The goal is to consistently bring in more people to the site, thus, creating more accounts. “Exiting accounts” means what? These accounts, or people, are leaving. And the amount of people leaving your social networking site is “dramatically increasing”? That sends up a red flag for a new employer NOT to hire you. A bank doesn’t want to lose customers, they want to gain them!

4.) “Planned new corporate facility at $3 million over budget.”

$3 million is a lot of money to spend. I doubt many of you will argue that point. But what if you’ve already spent a few million on this project? Building something like a library or a school takes a lot of money, often several million. It never looks good when you have to go over budget, especially if that amount is in the millions of dollars. Imagine if that was your money being spent, and the spender told you he needed another $3 million, after already spending $5 million? You wouldn’t hire him again, would you?

5.) “Directed $25 million anal shipping and receiving operations.”

First and foremost, this makes me want to laugh, and I’m sure you know why. Is that a good thing when reading the resume of a prospective employee? Kim Isaacs guessed that this person is either showcasing compulsively stubborn management qualities, or he has a challenging product packaging/storage problem. I’d have to agree, hands down.

6.) “Participated in the foamation of a new telecommunications company.”
Foamation? Is that even a word? Clearly this person was not only having problems FORMING the company, but also with the bubbles that came with it. Remember to ALWAYS spell check your resume before handing it in, and then check it again, and then have a trusted friend or family member check it a third time.

7.) “Promoted to district manger to oversee 37 retail storefronts.”

This sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Until you realize that they weren’t talking about being promoted to MANAGER, but had become, instead, the place where Jesus was born. How you become a place, I have no clue. But remember, this is a mistake your spellchecker won’t catch because “manger” is still a word and is spelled correctly. This is the reason you need to be meticulous when spellchecking.

8.) “Experienced supervisor, defective with both rookies and seasoned professionals.”

The second half of this sentence nearly negates the first half. How can you be experienced (in a good way) if you can’t work with both rookies and seasoned professionals? At least this person didn’t add in the mistake of writing “seasonal” instead of “seasoned”.  Now that, would have been hilarious!

9.) “I am seeking a salary commiserate with my training and experience.”

The word “commiserate” means to feel or express sympathy or compassion. So you want your salary (the amount of money you make per year) to cry with you because you’re not experienced enough? Huh? What? The word “commensurate” means “comparable to”, which is the word this resume writer was probably looking to use. When the two words are exchanged the sentence means this person is looking to get paid the amount of money appropriate with the amount of experience and training they have. The more experience you have, the more money you’re likely to make, depending on the job you have.

10.) “Seeking a party-time position with potential for advancement.”
Do I even need to explain why this person won’t be hired? Unless they’re applying for a job as a birthday clown, they’re not likely to find a job anywhere.

Writing a resume and finding a job is a very serious thing, and should be taken seriously. Write your resume, and go back through to make sure you haven’t made any of these glaring mistakes! Once you’ve handed it over to a prospective employer, there are no excuses for mistakes. That includes a botched print job too, or a boot print on it if you accidentally dropped it and stepped on it. No excuses. This is a boss’s first glimpse into who you are and you want to look your best.