Friday, July 10, 2009

Resumes: Questions about Do's and Don'ts...

So one of my neighbors sent me his resume recently to forward on to a contact I had a company in which he was interested in working. I was happy to do so. However, when I looked at his resume, I had some concerns... things that I thought needed improvement. I made suggestions on those items where -- forgive me -- but I knew I was right. On other items, though, I wasn't sure whether my opinion was right... or just my opinion. So I'm writing now to the blogosphere to get some other opinions on these issues:

The OBJECTIVE statement at the top
I've never been a fan. I think this needs to go. How often does it say something that makes an employer decide to hire someone? I know when I was hiring people, I barely read an "Objectives" statement. I think it just takes up room. I tweeted this morning about this to see what the Twitterverse would say on this issue. So far, I've gotten one result:
  • @dariasteigman @rferrier I don't like obj statements, but think sometimes they're needed for keywords, robot searches.
Computer Skills
I've always included a list of all my computer skills, including the mundane ones like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. But recently I heard someone say you shouldn't do that anymore. That certain skills -- like Microsoft Office -- were expected. Is that true? Are certain computer skills "givens" now? And if so, which ones?

This issue I think I'm right about, but I'll still ask. The typical "References available upon request" line. My response: Of course references are available upon request. You have to have references -- even if, truth be told, I think they're worthless. (Because only an idiot would use someone who would give them a bad referral.) Why even say that?

OK. So there are my current resume questions. Post your answers. Or your own resume questions that I or others might be able to answer.

(By the way, a total aside, but when you're writing "Do's and Don'ts" is it: "Do's and Don'ts" or "Dos and Don'ts" or "Do's and Don't's". Anyone know?)


Tricia said...

Hi Robin -

When working with a career counselor a few years ago (a freebie provided by my former employer after I was downsized), she was adamant about an objective statement at the top of my resume as a way to guarantee that my resume would be picked up by the HR computer's search filters. Most resumes aren't first scanned by a human, but instead by a computer, and this was a way to ensure that mine would definitely make it through the first pass done by the computer scanners. So, I would that it's a good idea for that reason alone.

ams said...

Hi Robin:

I'm a recent graduate seeking and entry-level position, I've heard some individuals in the industry suggest a "profile" as opposed to an "objective statement," what are you thoughts? Are they one in the same? I'm not a huge fan of objective statements either but I do understand the need.

Patrick Madsen said...

Tricia and "ams",

I have been in the career counseling business for about 10 years now and continue to work with a number of people searching for jobs (entry level through experienced hires). I can tell you that the objective statement is "out" these days and a profile statement is "in". A profile statement will allow you the opportunity to redefine yourself and still be picked up by computers scanning your resume. If you are sure of your industry and job function and have experience in it, you will find that there is no need for a profile statement.