No One Cares About Your Resume, and Why You Should

This post was written by Daniel Bowen and originally appeared on his blog Young And Frugal, a site dedicated to Business and Personal Finance for Generation Y. If you like what you see here, be sure to check out Young And Frugal. Original article here

NEWSFLASH: No one cares about your resume.

What's that you say? You've spent hours perfectly crafting every word in order to make yourself look fantastic on paper? You even read my advice on resume building? That's very kind of you, but I repeat, no one cares, and here are 5 reasons why.

  • Resumes are boring. No one wants to read them, not even recruiters. It's a chore that takes time, and realistically the last time you did read one (instead of glance at it) was when you were writing your own.
  • People are lying to protect your feelings. When was the last time you or someone you know told a friend you wouldn't forward their resume on because it was crap? When was the last time you asked for resume advice and everyone told you it looked good? Friends think a lot of things, but very few friends will be brutally honest to help you, if no one is giving you constructive criticism try sending it to other people.
  • Your resume won't get you a job. Do you really think someone is going to hire you based on a piece of paper?
  • You're exaggerating. Everyone does it to a point, but did you really collaborate with the team on the $300 million dollar project, or did you just make copies for them? If by chance someone does read your resume, they are reading it with a skeptical eye and taking it with a grain of salt.
  • You are sending it into a black hole. Applying online? Unless you have a persons e-mail address not a generic recruiting address, it will most likely never be seen by  a human eye. Even if you are sending it to a real persons address, remember it's a chore to open it and they probably don't want to.

With all this said, it's true, no one cares about your resume, but you should still care. As much as it kills me to say it, resumes are still very important, and here are 5 reasons why:

  • It's not for other people, it's for you. Your resume should be a running tally of every impressive thing you have done, and you should use it as a refresher to remind yourself of these things. It should be up to date whether you are job hunting or not, and when you accomplish something of note, write it down. You can always shorten your resume, it's very hard to lengthen it. Know your resume backwards and forwards and be able to expand on everything on it without fumbling. Even know what doesn't make the final cut, your resume will help you in the interview (but be careful to not only talk about what is on the resume).
  • It is currently the most accepted way to showcase yourself. We are fast approaching the days when someone will say "send me your link" instead of "send me your resume," some early adopters have already started this with LinkedIn, however, for the time being the resume is still the most accepted way to showcase yourself.
  • Key words help you get a foot in the door. Remember that black hole I wrote about? There is a way out, and that is through key words. More often than not applying to a generic recruiting e-mail address will send your resume into a software program in which it will be looking for key words. If it matches the key words, then someone might look at your resume to see if you fit the bill and invite you in for an interview. So remember to use industry language. (Note: although this is my most hated form of applying for a job, I actually did get my current position this way. It never hurts, but don't get your hopes up.)
  • Be true to yourself. A little embellishment is expected but always be true to yourself and NEVER lie on a resume. Lying on a resume is career suicide and it will come back to haunt you. It is better to not get the job by being honest, than to get it by lying. Just ask George O'Leary, former head coach at Notre Dame who was forced to resign because he lied on his resume.
  • It won't make you, but it can break you. First impressions are important, and the resume is frequently someones first impression of you. While it may not make you, it can definitely break you, so in the off chance that someone actually looks at your resume, it needs to be easy to read and perfect. One misspelled word and you are through.

As Gen-Y becomes more of a staple in the work place I see a lot of this changing, particularly the accepted resume format. I believe we will transition to websites with professional bios being the standard (non-boring) way to showcase yourself. But in the meantime, I'll continue my love/hate relationship with resumes.