We’ve all been asked, in one form or another, the proverbial “do these jeans make my butt look big?” question.
So we all know: no matter how hard we try or creative we get, there’s no way to win when forming a response. No matter what answer we come up with, or how nicely we put it, we’re going to offend… because the person asking already knows the answer. We own mirrors.
Same goes for questions – and answers – about resumes. The person answering, in more cases than not, can’t win.
So, time for a reality check… a look into a job seeker’s mirror:
- 80% of all resumes I see… suck; they will NOT get you an interview
- 99.9% of all recruiters won’t tell you that your resume sucks; they’ll just delete and move on
- Your resume probably does need to improve; in some cases quite a bit
- You will almost never receive feedback regarding your resume; you’ll just continue to fail
Over the past two weeks, I have looked at about 100 resumes. Too many are terrible. Most are “just okay”. A few are good. A select handful, I’m happy to say, are very good… and are ready to share with the recruiting public (and even those could benefit from quantifying and/or showing more impact).
Despite a small minority of resumes actually being application-ready, however, this is what usually happens when we ask: “Does my resume make my ass look fat?”…
Because, just like the jeans version of this question, we didn’t want to hear a real answer when we ask; we already know the answer. For many of us, beaten down and just ready to have our job search nightmare over, we only want to hear what we want to hear:
“Oh, wow… I wouldn’t change a thing… Looks great on you… My, my, that will get you noticed!”
So instead of asking someone who will give a straight answer, we ask those who won’t hurt our feelings… or expect us to take action. If we do get a solution-based answer we don’t listen; we don’t actually make the suggested changes. Instead we feel insulted. We get frustrated. Sometimes, we just give up. That’s when we make justifications like these:
- “Well, that is how my career center said to format the resume…”
- “My mom proofed my resume, I’m sure it’s fine.”
- “My resume shouldn’t have to be perfect. I just need a damn job!”
- “I’ve revised my resume 100 times already… I can’t get it right.”
So, we walk out the door with an unflattering document… the resume version of a “jeans-too-small” fail: 10 pounds of stuff in a 5 pound bag – and a blaring butt crack we pretend not to see.
Especially if you’ve been looking for work or an internship for a long time, or you are new to the workforce, chances are very good your resume needs some help. So do yourself a favor: with an open mind, ask this question of someone with resume expertise, who will provide an honest appraisal and constructive criticism:
“Is this version of my resume going to get me an interview?
The answer, for most of us, is going to be “no”.
So… be ready to take action. Be prepared to try something different. Be ready… to listen. Your resume, and your career, will thank you.
And, because you’ve learned to listen and take action on good advice: on that first casual Friday at your new job, you’ll look much better in those jeans.
About the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial entrepreneur and mentor. Mark has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO.com regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post, 12Most.com, The Daily Muse, Alltop, StudentBranding.com and Intern Advocate.
Mark has been honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors” and was recently featured on HR Examiner’s “Top 25 Trendspotters in HR” and several top blogger lists, including JobMob’s “Top Career Bloggers of 2012”. Contact Mark via email or on Twitter!