I reviewed a couple resumes this week that were vastly different but made the same mistake. Both resumes had a lot of unimportant information that detracted from their effectiveness.
The first resume was from a sales professional with extensive B2B sales experience. For each job, the description of the position included a list of all the products the person sold. This is the structure of one of the listings with identifying details masked:
<INDUSTRY> ACCOUNT MANAGER
Mo/Year to Present
<Information Technology Company>
Responsible for sales contracting activities in the <City> Metro area for <Company Name> communications products including <Brand Name> <Product Type> for <list of industries and customers>. <Brand Name> communications and data products such as <First Product>, <Second Product>, <Third Product>, <Fourth Product>, <Fifth Product>, <Sixth Product> and numerous other <Brand Name> products.
Accomplishments: Met or exceeded assigned quota every year in territory. $#.# M total for year end 200#. Major accomplishments in the territory include selling new <Product Type> to both <Customer Name> and <Customer Name>. Total number of <products> involved in these two purchases resulted in contracts for over #,#00 units for a combined total of over $# Million dollars.
The individual products listed had names much longer than the text I used to replace them. They were things list "ACME Widget 3000 Ultimate Widgetizer." In fact, by replacing the product names, I shorten the paragraph by more half. A laundry list of technical products doesn’t demonstrate sales skill.
The second resume was from a senior executive – a Vice President of Operations for a mid-sized company. The bulk of the resume was good, but this person included lists of very general skills that added little to no value and hurt the over impression. The first problem was near the top of the resume. The job seeker included a list of core competencies – essentially a keyword list. The list had 16 buzzwords, most very general. Here’s the list:
Profit/Loss, Relationship Building, Team Building, Cost Control, Budgeting, Quality Assurance, Presentations, Recruitment, Startups, Call Center Mgmt., Turnarounds, Negotiation, Rightsizing, Customer Satisfaction, Restructuring, Productivity
Some of these are good – Startups, Call Center Mgmt, Turnarounds – these fine. They relate to specific skills that are unusual and valued. Some of the others are less valuable. Relationship Building, Team Building and Presentations are few on the list that don’t help. These should be a given for a senior executive. Now this individual may be an outstanding public speaker, able to deliver killer sales presentations. Putting the word “Presentations” on the resume doesn’t sell this as an exceptional skill level.
If this keyword list was the only area with extraneous info, I really wouldn’t have a problem with it. What I thought was really bad was the Computer Skills section at the end of the resume. Here’s the list:
Microsoft Access, Supply Chain Software, CRM Applications, Microsoft Word, Net/Web Savvy, Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Outlook, Search Engines, Internet Explorer, Microsoft PowerPoint, Sales Management, Microsoft Excel
This list has several problems. It’s not organized, it doesn’t provide any assessment of the candidate’s skill level, and it includes skills that are impossible for the reader assess. I don’t know what Net/Web Savvy means to this candidate. I’m also unsure what it means to be skilled with Search Engines – is this candidate capable of googling a search term, or are they a Search Engine Optimization expert, capable of getting a website to the top of the google rankings?
The real question is how this would affect a hiring manager’s assessment. Do you think this list, and the list of core competencies above is going to differentiate this candidate and help them stand out from their competition?
Bottom Line: Don’t add a lot of extraneous information and buzzwords to your resume. Make sure you include the the information that does the best job of selling your potential.