Resumes that leave employers scratching their heads are fast-tracked to the ‘no’ pile

By One2One Resumes

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I saw a resume last month that I would like to use as an example to demonstrate how important the content, order and presentation of information are in a resume. I have fictionalised the person’s background including names of companies for privacy reasons.

Employment History:

Call Centre Operator, ABC Alphabet Solutions (October 2010 – August 2011)

Trainee Sales Consultant, Numbers Group (April 2009 – March 2010)

Sales Assistant, Computer Company (November 2008 – January 2009)

Assistant Manager, Local Liquor Store (January 2008 – September 2008)

I have removed the job descriptions to save space, but this information was the entire contents of the first page of the resume.

Can you see what happens here? What might an employer assume when they look at the resume?

Probably exactly what I did … this guy is a job hopper, he can’t stay in any role for long, chops and changes positions … is he failing in each role or can’t he make up his mind about role type and industry sector?

Too risky! Into the ‘no’ pile!

If I were a busy recruiter or employer that is as far as the application would likely proceed. Most don’t have the luxury of time and with a mountain or applicants, can be forgiven for finding it easier to move onto the next one in the pile rather than have to dig deeper to find information.

Fortunately I’m not and continued reading. Page 2 of his resume then continued…

Education: Bachelor of Marketing (Honours), Dublin Ireland (2005 – 2008)

Bingo! He is a graduate and some of the positions on page 1 must have been held in conjunction with his studies. He is from Ireland, he must have been travelling, hence the movement in the other roles. A phone call later and yes indeed, my assumptions were correct.

There are a few ways in which this resume would have been better presented, including:

  • Because he is a graduate with no experience relating to the degree qualification, this information should have been presented before the work history.
  • The work history should have had locations included. When I investigated, the jobs were actually held in Ireland and then 3 different states in Australia because he has been travelling his way through the country.
  • In addition a cover letter would have been a great forum to advise people that he has been travelling and has now become engaged to an Australian girl, therefore seeks a permanent role related to his degree.

I could continue but I think you understand the point I am making.

When writing your resume you have to think very carefully about your content and the order in which you present it to employers. In this example, the poor guy had sent over 125 applications and not one call or interview. As soon as he altered the content and layout he started receiving calls. He has not yet secured a role, but in less than 3 weeks is actually being invited to interviews.

Don’t leave anything open to interpretation – you never want an employer to scratch his head and make assumptions!


© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant

One2One Resumes


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