Secrets of the Job Hunt


Monday, October 31, 2005

Many Job seekers still don't get it

Check out this little nugget I discovered today...

It seems there is no shortage of bad resumes making the rounds these days., a leading provider of resume writing services, recently studied more than 100,000 resumes to assess the relevance of the information presented.

The study found that nearly one-third (28.7 percent) of resumes contained personal information that may introduce a host of problems ranging from personality conflicts to more serious issues, such as age discrimination and identity theft.

The most common details that job seekers should have left off their resumes include:

- Hobbies. Space on a resume is at a premium, so don't risk cluttering the resume with information not relevant to the job.

- Name and phone number of references. Don't give employers the opportunity to make unexpected calls to your references. (put your refs on a separate page)

- Marital and family status. Some employers may be skeptical about the commitment of candidates listing children or dependants on their resume.

- Salary history. You risk selling yourself short or even eliminating yourself from the hiring process based strictly on salary.

- Date of birth. Don't make age an issue during the hiring process, as this is one of the most common forms of discrimination in the workplace.

- Social Security number. You have no control over who will see your resume, so don't put yourself at risk for identity theft.

Mike Worthington, a co-founder of Vermont-based, said the problems really aren't surprising. "The average American probably looks for a job every three or four years," he said. "Like everything, you've got to have practice."

People forget that resumes are supposed to serve as a marketing piece for what you do, Worthington said. Applicants often fail to make their resume Internet friendly, something that's important because they're most often read on a computer screen. They also fail to customize the resume to the job.

"A huge percentage of resumes contain these problems," he said. "I think it is just people don't understand."

Career objectives also should not be on a resume. Worthington called that an "old school" element that has just been carried over.

"The reality is the employer doesn't care what you want to do. They care what you can do," he said. Often goals like "I want a job that is challenging that offers growth and utilizes my skills" provide no useful information on the job seeker. They also can be too narrow or fluffy.

Pictures also should never be on a resume unless the application is for an acting job, he said.
It is important for the applicant to have contact information on the resume and it's "imperative" to have an e-mail address, Worthington said. That makes it easy for the employer to contact the applicant.

However, inappropriate e-mail addresses can be a problem, especially if it's a work address where the current employer may be screening e-mail. Some e-mail addresses also may appear unprofessional.

"This all gets back to job seekers not understanding what's going on in the world," he said.

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