Does This Resume Make My Ass Look Fat?


A friend sent me his resume and asked me to take a look at it.  This is a slightly sensitive situation since it is the equivalent of asking the question above.  He’d also had a “Resume Doctor” jazz it up a little.  The resume summary was terrible.  I fell asleep during the first paragraph.  Here’s an excerpt.

“Accomplished, forward-thinking product manager with an extensive background in developing and implementing strategic plans, providing product planning coordination and managing project execution across both domestic and international markets. Able to identify and act on growth opportunities through insightful market analysis, product management expertise and keen business instincts. Highly regarded for skills in managing multiple projects in expected time frames, under budget and according to defined scope. Able to build top-producing relationships with customers and business partners, as well as develop and lead both hierarchical and cross-functional teams in meeting and exceeding goals. Excellent analytical thinking, interpersonal communication and organizational skills.”

He might have also said that seven moons of Jupiter were discovered on his watch. Why do people write this kind of stuff?  It is everywhere.  It’s on the resumes of sales and marketing people that you may hire.  It’s in most marketing literature.  The major effect is to turn off your reader.  In an era of trust and authority marketing, when we are overwhelmed with information, it immediately says to a reader… this is BS, stop reading.

As an alternative, if my friend had used a simple personal branding statement, “Delivers projects, on time, on function and on budget. Always.” we would have gotten a different impression.

For the record, there are three things wrong with my friend’s summary.  First, it is too long. Second, it uses too many adjectives, and third, it is speculative and unsubstantiated.   I’d rather hear from a reference that this person delivered a five million dollar project on time than have him state it.

The same is true of marketing literature.  I don’t really want to know that you are a “World Leader” in blah, blah, blah.  When I hear the term “World Leader” I could think of Kim Jong il or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Think about your personal brand.  Think about your website.  Or what your sales people say.   The use of unspecific and meaningless language is lazy.  Laziness leads to a “hyper-inflated gluteus maximus”, and yes, it does make your ass look fat.

PS: My pants are tight too.

1 Comment

  1. Jeff Cronin

    Looks like a ‘generic’ resume meant to hit all possible targets… The best resumes I see are the ones where there is a specific targeted message for my company, and if you can get someone else to say great things about you that is the best!

    LinkedIn is a great way to solicit positive references from your network, you should use it often.

    One more thing, many resume-fix shops fill your document with keywords that they know HR departments are looking for, if you want a career and not a job you should not post your resume to HR but rather get someone to recommend you into the opportunity.


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