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How to write CVs and Resumes, Curriculum Vitae, Resumes and CV writing, CV Mistakes, Guides and Discussions
No matter how many resumes I look at, there is always one constant problem that almost nobody can seem to get away from: Making something out of nothing. Wait a minute, isn’t that the point of a resume? To pull every last ounce of impressiveness (patent pending) out of your accomplishments? The answer is that both points are valid. Before your head explodes, let me explain.
There is a big difference between describing your accomplishments in glowing detail and attributing successes or skills where they don’t belong. Here’s an example:
Domino’s Pizza delivery driver
* Only late two times out of 100 - Does not remember exact reason
* Employee of the Month Feb. 2007
* No customer complaints
* Employed one year
Pretty basic job, sounds like the person above really maximized their time there. With that being said, there is the right way to maximize the description for it on your resume, and the wrong way. Here’s one way you could present this in the correct way using the basic information that was provided above:
* Excellent delivery on-time percentage, completed 98% of all deliveries made on time.
* Earned the Employee of the Month Award for February of 2007.
* Received zero customer complaints during the entire tenure of employment.
You’ll notice that the information above is pretty similar to the basic information provided. This is because the accomplishments really stand on their own, all you need to do is add the extra word smithing here and there to spice it up a bit. Now, let’s take a look at a bad example:
* Excellent delivery on-time rate, only late two times due to vehicle difficulties during entire year of employment.
* Earned the Employee of the Month Award in February of 2007, which showcases my ability to excel at any position given to me.
* No customer complaints were received for deliveries made during my tenure at Dominos. During my time, I gained invaluable knowledge about client relationships and feel that I am ready to sell future work.
Clearly, there are a number of things wrong with the above statements. For example, in the first bullet, there is mention of vehicle difficulties. However, the basic information states that the applicant couldn’t remember why those two deliveries were late. Maybe it was vehicle problems, maybe it was something else. The best way to go is to not speculate and possibly get yourself in trouble (maybe the potential employer calls Dominos and finds out it wasn’t vehicle problems).
Also, the second bullet reads way too much into getting that award. Yes, it’s a good award to have and you definitely want to document it. However, does that really mean you can excel at any position? This is too much of a stretch and just makes you look arrogant and/or foolish.
As for the third bullet, this is a clear overstatement of the amount of knowledge gained from the two minutes you talk to someone when you deliver a pizza. Once again, it’s great that there were no complaints. However, it doesn’t make you the expert at client relationships, let it speak for itself. Selling future work? This is not even remotely related to the experience point.
Believe it or not, these examples are based on real life examples that I’ve seen come my way. There is nothing that puts a potential employer off more than this kind of exaggeration. Remember: You need to be able to back up all of your statements on your resume with concrete reasoning and examples. A good check is to read each statement and make sure you have talking points for it before you submit it.
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