Here are 3 readers' experiences with some unusual resumes and job search strategies they have encountered.
Resumes and Perfume Don't Mix
I work as receptionist at a large company. It is my job to sort the mail and put it in the mailboxes of the executives.
One day we received an envelope that was doused in perfume. While the scent might have been pleasant in small doses, this was just overpowering. Still, I dutifully dropped the envelope in the mailbox of the human resource department, to whom it was addressed.
While I was still sorting the mail, the human resources director came to check her box. She pulled the mail out and caught a whiff of the perfumed envelope. She frowned and wrinkled her nose. The offending envelope was easy to find. She just had to follow her nose!
She opened it, saw that it was a resume, and threw the whole envelope away without even reading it. I asked her why, but I already knew the answer. The over-perfumed envelope was annoying and did not make a good first impression.
The lesson is that if you make your resume stand out in an annoying way, employers won't even read it. Make sure that whatever steps you take to make it pop are appropriate and professional. Your resume is the first impression an employer has of you, so you don’t want it to be a bad one!
Many years ago, while working at a nursing home, I ran across a resume hand written on a napkin from the local bar. The nurse had met the Director of Nurses at the bar and they chatted over a few drinks.
It was a hand scribbled resume with a list of qualifications. She had her name, address and phone number with a list of seven jobs she had held in the last 10 years. While the resume was certainly not the most effective resume I have ever seen, the most outstanding fact was that the Director seriously considered hiring the prospective employee.
The nurse was hired the next day. She was fired within two weeks. Perhaps the lack of job hunting preparation was a small indicator of future performances.
The time, care and consideration one takes to pull together their skill-set on paper should, in many ways, reflect on how they actually perform those job skills they have identified.
Things that were wrong with this resume were first, it was hand written. One should always use a word processing application on the computer to complete a resume. Secondly, it was on a napkin. Good paper tells the future employer that you are a serious job hunter. Third, there needs to be more than a list of jobs, but a job description and a comment about why you left that job.
While this resume was initially effective in the fact that the nurse was hired immediately, it did become a good indicator on the care and quality of work this nurse provided. It is a good lesson for all of us who may have the degree, but should consider some job-searching savvy.
You hit it right on when you said,
"The time, care and consideration one takes to pull together their skill-set on paper should, in many ways, reflect on how they actually perform those job skills they have identified."
That's how employers usually think. They assume your resume is a reflection of your very best work, and that's why great content, formatting and proofreading are so important when you're writing a resume.
I had worked in process engineering and six sigma in manufacturing for several years. My experience had been that software was often a big hurdle on the shop floor my job was to support. I led several six sigma projects that included software improvements and software documentation and training initiatives to solve that problem. I wrote several professional articles on the subject.
My employer was laying off, so it was time to job hunt. I interviewed for a technology process improvement and documentation job. The hiring manager said my job title was officially manufacturing engineer, their product was software, and how was I qualified.
I asked him to bring up Amazon.com and type my name in. There was a list download-able versions of my articles on the very field this job was in. I clicked on one to show my pictured tied to the article, then to a link to the original article on the Institute of Industrial Engineer's magazine. "The professional society for this field considers my work an expert opinion on this area. That's proof I have recent credentials in the area, regardless of job title."
I was hired shortly after the third interview.
Amazon.com is not the typical first place one thinks of looking for professional credentials. However, professional publications in the job field are valid proof of expertise, and that is why it helped me get the position, despite the "non-matching" job title I held.