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Crazy resume descriptions!

  1. May 31, 2009 #1


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    I googled some examples for resumes a few days ago and I noticed something quite silly. A lot of them had in their descriptions or summarys or whatever, phrases such as "hard-working" "highly competent", "very diligent", "goal oriented", "driven" and all these sort of catch phrases. Now we all know a resume is where you "sell" yourself to your employer but my god, do these stupid little phases actually have any effect on employers?

  2. jcsd
  3. May 31, 2009 #2
    I learned that it's usually:

    "hard-working" demonstrated with ... (maybe past work experience)

    And under,

    Work experience:
    - a point for proving why you are hard worker.

    It doesn't look silly to me because you are just trying to highlight the skills you ve learned from work, volunteer etc.
  4. May 31, 2009 #3
    I'm working on a project. We are hiring some undergrads, and I must say the few that actually gave a resume were full of padding. They included such things as: Camp Counselor (I dont care), Current memeber of xyz techincal institudes (again, I dont care), Edit for school paper (I don't care).

    Since such little information of actual importance was given, the only thing I looked at was their GPAs. I understand its hard for the younger students to fill a resume since the are so 'green' when it comes to doing actual things, but sheesh. I'm not looking for a camp counselor or someone that writes for the school post.

    Don't pad your resume folks, its easy to spot a mile away. Keep it short, keep it simple. Tell me the skills you have that are relevant.
  5. May 31, 2009 #4


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    :rofl: :rofl: That's so awesome. I love this guy.

    ps. just kidding

    pps. not about the awesomeness though
  6. May 31, 2009 #5
    I'm dead serious. Joining the society of xyz engineers requires filling up an application, paying a yearly subscription and getting magazines in the mail each month.

    Why do I need to know that information?
  7. May 31, 2009 #6


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    I wonder hwy it's all emphasized in college admissions? I think that's most people's first serious attempt to impress an "employer".
  8. May 31, 2009 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    Resume writing is an art. I took a resume writing class when I finished college and found it to be remarkably helpful, but there is no one best approach. IIRC, the rule of thumb is that you have about 10-15 seconds to make an impression. So it is important to be specific about what you have to offer and get it out there fast in a highly compact [efficient] format. Using generalized language may detract from more important details to be included. For example, rather than saying "hard-working", try to demonstrate that by listing one's accomplishments. Rather than saying "goal oriented", I would state the goals one actually has and how it applies to the indicated career path. Driven? To do what?

    I don't remember the exact details anymore, but I recall that before taking the class, my resume took one page. After taking the class, it took four pages or so that had to be condensed into one [the 10 second rule]. It was the difference between saying what I think someone wants to hear, and really thinking about what I had to offer.
    Last edited: May 31, 2009
  9. May 31, 2009 #8


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    I like that thinking. Reading some of these really padded resume examples was kind of pathetic. With all the fluff in the introduction (which took a good 20 seconds to read!), once you're at the meat of the resume, you're already convinced this person's all show. I suppose the logic follows from how people say interviews work, that is you're basically hired within the first minute or so of the interview most of the time (in a job where a LOT of people are interviewed).
  10. May 31, 2009 #9
    You want some insider's advice? This is coming from a former classmate in HR who recruited for McKinsey and Company + my own experience going through dozens of resumes looking to fill positions with my company.

    First - MAKE YOUR ELECTRONIC RESUMES VERY, VERY KEYWORD-FRIENDLY. Most days, recruiters type in specific keywords when they are looking for resumes; you could be the brightest bunny in the basket, but if those words aren't on your CV/Resume, no one will see it.

    Find out what the buzz words are for your industry and USE THOSE WORDS. To not do so, is professional suicide.

    SECOND -I usually give a resume an immediate 30 second once over. If I don't immediately see something that strikes me, well I move on.

    The biggest mistake people make is using a resume to describe "actions" vs. "results".
    What do I mean?

    Let's say I am looking for a business analyst. He/she will run macros in excel, research business trends, do powerpoint presentations (or whatever). Most people submit a resume that looks something like:
    -ran macros excel models for xyz company
    -research business trends
    -completed powerpoint presentation to display results

    OK. What's the problem here? There will be probably 50 other resumes that said the same thing. How does one distinguish? Also, I didn't get you to do all those things just because clients pay me every time I log a completed excel spreadsheet or powerpoint presentation. I did it to achieve....RESULTS!

    The difference between the "just fine" resume above and one that jumps out at me, might look something like:
    -ran macros excel models for xyz company. Created models which reduced project completion time by 10% and saved company $10,000.
    -research business trends. Created business trend templates for this kind of research which increased project efficiency by 5% over the course of 6 months (or whatever).
    -completed powerpoint presentation to display results
    As a result of work, project manager exceeded clients' expectation and secured 5 more clients which resulted in additional sales revenues of $500,000 for the company (or whatever).

    Can you see the difference?! The second person/resume has shown me how he/she has had a direct impact on THE BOTTOM LINE, on the M-O-N-E-Y, COMPANY EFFICIENCY, His/her employers major in goals.
    The problem is that most employees aren't aware enough (or bosses for that matter)....they don't spend as much time as they should getting to understand how their actions have directly impacted the company. Almost every employee has made some impact -however big or small - on the bottom line of the company and they should do their best to demonstrate that.

    Once you do that, you become less of a financial risk, you make it easier for the person making the hiring decision to go with you and in general you really stand out.....

    If you have a physics/science degree and are hunting for non science jobs, you should definitely sell your quant. skills. It's easy for an employer to envision a physics student being good at quantitative stuff. However, one must SPELL IT OUT FOR PEOPLE. Also, it pays (and perhaps literally) to say something about how you wanted to study physics to learn the practical application to addressing REAL WORLD problems.

    For instance, in a cover letter you might say that, you learned that 1/3rd of the usa's economy consists of products directly derived from the practical application of quantum physics - MRIs, Transistors, etc. You wanted to learn how to apply scientific theory to the successful solving of real world problems (or something like that)
    Last edited: May 31, 2009
  11. May 31, 2009 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    A note to our graduating physics students:

    I learned something rather remarkable after college: In order to "sell" my physics degree, I had to explain what physics students learn. That made ALL the difference in the world. As it turns out, even many engineers don't know what a physics grad brings to the table. So I tried to sprinkle specifics into the language that helped to connect my education to the jobs being sought.

    One day I had lunch with a former physics professor and was talking about what I had learned. It happened that she was in charge of the graduating students and was so surprised by the story that I was asked to come back to college and give a talk to the graduating class.
  12. May 31, 2009 #11
    When I took my resume into a temp agency the woman I spoke with thought I had it professionally done. I hadn't even thought it was that good. My work isn't easily quantifiable so I had to come up with creative ways of describing it in the context of a resume. I figured if I can describe my work in an elegant and succinct manner than they may at least think I am intelligent enough to do it.
  13. May 31, 2009 #12


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    Easy! I've been having to explain what the hell I've been doing the last 5 years for... the last 5 years!
  14. May 31, 2009 #13
    This is a very good post, and brought things to mind that I didn't think about until you mentioned it. Thank you.
    Last edited: May 31, 2009
  15. May 31, 2009 #14
    So what do you do if you have no way of quantifying the results of your work?
  16. May 31, 2009 #15
    Again, speaking as an employer, NEVER underestimate the power of good personal brand management. Look at television - fluff works old friend....

    To elucidate, I am not saying substance doesn't matter. What I am saying is that a pretty package is more likely to get someone to open it to see the *real* value inside. Confidence, ambition and passion jumps out on the page (even when I look at it for 30 seconds). And let's face it, employers want workers who really, really, really want the job and are willing to do what is necessary to convince you why they are the right person.

    Focus on results - as stated previously, results sell. Esp. numbers (percentages, dollar signs, etc).
  17. May 31, 2009 #16
    There's always a way. It doesn't have to be down to the 3rd decimal place bar (i.e. in terms of quantifying it). For instance, let's say you were tasked with created excel spreadsheets. This job normally took about 1 hour. Well, you decided to save time and created a template that reduced the time to say 30 minutes. Result? You created a 100% efficiency increase for that task....

    These kind of examples abound. This is why **smart companies codify and formalize any task that is repeated more than 3 times. Because once you have a standard process for doing something on paper, it goes from being employee-specific knowledge (which leaves when they leave) to intellectual capital for the company - that can be valued by the say as an asset and even put on the balance sheet. Once you came up with that simple way of doing that job more efficiently, and the company wrote it down. If there are 100 other people across 10 offices doing the same thing, I can send that puppy to each employee via an email attachment and after a little bit of training...voila....I've multiplied efficiency by 100x...

    hope this helps
    Last edited: May 31, 2009
  18. Jun 1, 2009 #17
    Actually I seriously mean no way to quantify it. I work as a security guard. The only number I could come up with (I had already been told numbers are important) for my resume was the number of pages I write in my report. I could try the number of employees I have trained but I doubt I could remember. Also many of them were fired (most of our guards get fired) so I can't really show any great success in my training abilities. No records are kept of crime statistics so I can't really show results in regard to prevention. I very rarely come into contact with the sort of people we take as clients so have never actually gotten us any. I've proposed a few ideas in regards to things that we can do to improve our operations but my bosses are stuborn and much prefer to have things done their way. Essentially all I have is that I know my job well and do it.
  19. Jun 1, 2009 #18
    You saved x dollars for your client because you prevented a theft from happening.
  20. Jun 1, 2009 #19


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    and X lives since they would have all been packing...
  21. Jun 1, 2009 #20
    When I was starting out, I could do anything. Now I can do something. That's what goes on my resume.
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