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Is Your Resume a 3-Ring Circus?


image: elsie esq (flickr)

By Robert P. Poindexter

As many of you are (based on the ratings), I find myself especially attracted to these various talent contest type programs. I wish I could say it is only because I truly care about someone whom I’ve never met making it into the “Big Time.”  I’m afraid my feelings are more sordid than this, as someone I’ve never met before making it big typically has little or no impact on my day to day.

No, I only watch these shows to satisfy my own morbid curiosity, the same curiosity that causes people to slow down for a better look at a crash site along the highway or to gather around an impromptu fistfight.

I know that what I may see could be disturbing, but I look anyway.

Thanks to these types of shows, I’ve had the displeasure of watching a guy in a bathrobe dance in front of millions of people while peeling off a dozen or so pairs of underwear, only to end his act by flashing the audience.


I’ve also witnessed a pair of girlfriends who stuffed themselves into costumes three sizes too small in order to perform a dance routine that no human eye should have ever had to witness. Luckily, the routine was only 90 seconds long, and it would have taken me two minutes to retrieve a steak knife from the kitchen drawer in order to gouge out the organs being offended.

You can add to this list the juggler who couldn’t juggle, the songbird who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, and the magician who only received applause when the judges made him disappear.

And on and on it goes. One act after another by people with so little talent in their chosen category one has to wonder what possessed them to attempt this mind-boggling show of self deprecation to start with: perhaps a good-intentioned spouse said a few encouraging words, never realizing where it might lead. Maybe a friend gave them a high-five and a fist bump as they left the karaoke microphone and the slightly inebriated crowd made them feel like it was time to take their act on the road.

Maybe some of them just wanted to get on TV ever since the neighborhood action committee where they live began protesting the annual “Fire Dance” they insisted on performing in the front yard.

Whatever caused them to show up, I for one am happy they did. Because without these colorful characters, I’d probably be watching the political debates, which are just as humorous, but tend to be much more consequential, sadly enough.

Talent is as unique as a person’s DNA. I know a guy who belches the Star-Spangled Banner, which is great for a backyard BBQ, but probably not something that would get him a record contract. I know people who have great joke-telling ability, but the odds of them becoming the next Robin Williams are pretty slim.

Are you truly a talented professional? Does your resume do enough to spell out those talents in a clear and concise manner?

If the resume you’re using has you looking more like a sideshow then the main-attraction, you may want to consider the writing services available to you by someone who is skilled in making certain you have a real shot at the “Big Time.”

Words Breathe Life


By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

In a recent, blog post, I spoke to the need to differentiate yourself in job search via a nuance-rich career story that will elicit emotion and interest. Interestingly, a commenter honed in on a particular phrase (i.e., ‘weaving in word ribbons of career wonderment’) and dressed-down my post asserting that a resume that ‘sounded like that’ would be tossed. They went on to assert that the ‘hard-core business dealings’ that they review resumes for require ‘someone who can fit our particular mold.’

Interestingly, I felt this reader missed my point and zeroed on an their own agenda. In fact, the energy and the ‘how’ you do what you do in a hard-core and ‘life and death’ decision-making environment often requires evidence of your resilient personality, critical thinking skills and crisp decision-making skills under pressure. To accurately depict such a story requires breathing personality into headlines, lead-in statements and the like.

I’ve cut/pasted my response to the commenter’s comment, hereto. You can read the commenter’s assertions at the original post, HERE.

You CAN Breathe Life Into Your Resume Without Exaggerating Your Value

I can appreciate your opinion. Having owned my resume strategy business for 14 years, and specializing in writing for senior executives and professionals, I have a track record of crafting strategic and high performing career positioning documents. In fact, many of my clients are senior technology executives and highly analytical professionals tasked with serious, fast-paced and pragmatic initiatives.

Well written career resumes must clearly depict what a job seeker’s done as well as his attitude (as you mention). Each individual for which a resume is developed brings to the table his unique ‘way’ of performing his job; how and why he problem solves, works as a team member, envisions and acts on ideas for process, customer service and productivity improvements is unique.

Whereas ’embellishing’ (your word) may imply ‘exaggeration,’ brightening the career picture with smart, interesting words works and spurs interviews, versus the dull drumbeat of lifeless verbs that are often dumped into the resume to create a buzzword-laden, dry repository that neither influences nor encourages the reader (hiring manager, recruiter, HR pro) that the candidate is a fit or can effectively meet the challenges of the job.

A resume, well done, is, indeed, an interesting story that wraps itself around the innate needs and pain points of the reader, and the company to which he is applying. Regardless of what you may assert, a company, and the human resources, therein, are a living, breathing, emotional team of folks driven by more than facts and figures to not only get the job done, but to maximize opportunities and sometimes even, leap over tall buildings to deliver beyond expectations.

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