I am spending an inordinate amount of time reviewing resumes and one particular word keeps appearing throughout many of the resumes.  The word is…


Perhaps the most insipid phrase is this – “proven track record.”

Every time I see this phrase I immediately want the candidate to prove it.  In most instances, the quoted achievement would be difficult to prove to an outsider.  That fact makes this throw-away phrase easy to included.  My personal take is to have the candidates simply state their record in numbers.

I am stuck in an ongoing cycle of sourcing.  Just when I am about to be worn down, I come across a resume that lists the candidate’s technical skills.  The first thing listed:

-MS Windows 98

Seriously…Win98?  My guess (hope) is that the candidate simply has overlooked that part of his resume for years.  That is about the only explanation because I certainly hope he isn’t touting his technical proficiency with an operating system from 13-14 years ago.

The opening line of a candidate’s experience as he listed on his resume:

Hired by company to penetrate virgin markets…

Honestly, this is a candidate for a high-level sales position.  He doesn’t have enough sense to change that sentence?

Honestly read this under the "Education” section of a resume:

Completed Kindergarten on through 12th grade

I think that is rather funny.  I guess the old axiom that the longest journey starts with the first step is true.  Education starts with successfully completing kindergarten.

In first reading this I thought I was reading a line from one of Jeff Foxworthy’s jokes, “You know you are a redneck if you write on your resume, “hobbies include sitting on the levee at night watching alligators.”  Nope, this is one of many odd resume inclusions from an article on CareerBuilder.  If you have ever run a recruiting process you probably can come up with your own list, but CareerBuilder has put together some beauties:

  • Candidate included that he spent summers on his family’s yacht in Grand Cayman.
  • Candidate attached a letter from her mother.
  • Candidate used pale blue paper with teddy bears around the border.
  • Candidate explained a gap in employment by saying it was because he was getting over the death of his cat for three months.
  • Candidate specified that his availability was limited because Friday, Saturday and Sunday was “drinkin’ time.”
  • Candidate included a picture of herself in a cheerleading uniform.
  • Candidate drew a picture of a car on the outside of the envelope and said it was the hiring manager’s gift.
  • Candidate included the fact that her sister once won a strawberry eating contest.
  • Candidate explained that he works well nude.
  • Candidate explained an arrest by stating, “We stole a pig, but it was a really small pig.”
  • Candidate included family medical history.

Red flags should go up if those words appear in a cover letter.  These sentences are from a recent graduate’s cover letter for a sales position:

Please do not contact me if the position is commission based, or involves cold-calling. Also your company must have a valid website that can help me to identify what your company does.

I will be following his clear orders and not contacting him.

From the outstanding resume file – a resume I received yesterday for a Project Manager position:

Personal Attributes
I am highly enthusiastic, hard working, opinionated and motivated to work under my own initiative or as part of a team.

1. I have extensive practical experience of fault-finding…

Which explains why his team wants him to work on his own initiative. In all fairness, the candidate goes on to finish item #1 with:

…and problem solving systematically.

Certainly  a lot easier to do once you’ve established blame.

There’s a sentence later in the letter that suggests English isn’t a strong suit –

My team were involved in maintenance, repairing and servicing of general electronic equipment down to component level, I was responsible for a team of ten technical staffs, managing them on a day to day basis, and helping them with any problems, and ensuring the team achieved their targets within set deadlines and planning work for staff and monitoring the progress, defining where appropriate, providing regular reports to my company board and conveying practical solution on designing systems to my R&D department and risk assessment of my work.

Well if that doesn’t get him an interview, perhaps his response to the ‘Are you willing to relocate?’ question will:

Yes, London 100% and Minneapolis 50%

That’s a shame, because our position requires 100% attendance, which might be tough if the candidate is always in England, but maybe it’s like that old Superman episode (and I mean Steve Reeves, not the guy from Smallville) where Superman splits himself in two through force of will.

The kicker is probably not as funny as the writing – the position the candidate is responding to has not been on an active job board for at least a week. But with credentials like that, who cares if you take your time responding to the opportunity?