Are you a resume hoarder?
Generally, hoarding has to do with the massive collection of stuff; i.e. clothes, collectibles, animals, and sadly, trash and spoiled food. As we’ve learned, hoarding becomes an issue once the compulsive behavior negatively affects the person doing the hoarding as well as their families, friends, neighbors, and so on.
Well, I’m here to tell you there are resume hoarders too: jobseekers who insist on holding onto less important, irrelevant, and sadly, trash-type positions without any concern for the negative consequences. [Click to Tweet]
These folks avoid all logic and oftentimes avoid providing solid reasons on why they must keep “this, that, or the other” within their resumes.
The hoarder piles more and more details into their resumes with the hopes that “something” will catch the hiring manager’s eyes, no matter how old or inconsequential.
A resume hoarder refuses to understand that their unwillingness to let go of unnecessary “items” in their resume is actually hurting their chances for moving forward in their careers.
So, what’s important going forward…
Much like the picture in this article, our biggest “stones” should be at the top.
Specifically, be sure to “right” your resume “write” the first time, giving top priority and the best real estate to represent your most important career assets. While the least relevant career details are represented the least (smallest stones) and eventually removed from the resume.
Are you a resume hoarder?
Are you someone who just can’t seem to let go?
Is this you? Here’s a typical conversation with a resume hoarder:
Resume Writer: Those positions are so old and so irrelevant, Sally. A resume generally covers about a 10-year timeline and tries to remain within a two-page document whenever feasible. By keeping those positions, your finished resume will likely be three – maybe even four – pages in length.
Jobseeker: I’m okay with that.
Resume Writer: Help me understand, Sally, what’s the purpose of keeping positions in your resume from the 1980s? 1990s?
Jobseeker: They show career progression.
Resume Writer: Yes, I understand that can be important. You’re currently a manager, however. Many of those older positions are entry-level, support positions. What value do they add at this stage of your career?
Jobseeker: I know you’re trying to help, but please keep them on my resume anyway.
Resume Writer: You haven’t answered me, Sally. From my perspective, there is no need to keep them in your resume, because they don’t seem to add any additional value to your candidacy nor do they appear to fit with your current job focus. What am I missing?
Jobseeker: For now, let’s leave them in and we’ll revisit the subject once we finalize the resume.
Is the subject adequately revisited once the resume is finalized? Would you be surprised if I said no?
Then, a few weeks later, the conversation goes something like this:
Jobseeker: My resume isn’t getting any attention. Why?
Resume Writer: Sally, we went through this. I urged you to get rid of irrelevancies from your resume, but you ignored my advice. Now, knowing what you know, are you willing to revisit doing the nip/tuck I originally recommended?
Jobseeker: So you’re saying that I shouldn’t show career progression in my resume and that I should simply reflect my management positions, and avoid showing hiring managers where I came from, how I landed where I am now?
Resume Writer: Well, I don’t think keeping those very old positions are helping. When reviewing your resume, hiring managers gain an initial impression about you.
Resumes aren’t dumpsters, so carefully “clean” and “de-clutter” your resume periodically.
What you haven’t considered is that keeping those old positions may send a negative impression because hiring managers will wonder why you are telling them “all this stuff” when it really doesn’t matter to them. This could make them wonder what kind of employee you’ll be because you’re struggling with focusing on what’s important and excluding what’s no longer important.
Jobseeker: As someone who hires, I disagree. I like seeing a candidate’s full history.
Resume Writer: Sally, just getting a recruiter or hiring manager to SKIM a two-page resume is a huge challenge these days. Presenting them with a four-page resume is likely to set you up for failure because you’re working with others’ likes and preferences when it comes to your resume, not just your own.
As you quickly see, a resume hoarder can sometimes be their main enemy.
A resume hoarder purposely, and with some foresight, puts up barriers that sabotage their points of entry to interviews.
As a career coach and resume writer, educating a client on the WHYS isn’t always a fruitful venture. Sometimes we just need to sit back, let the client take the lumps (get a degree from the School of Hard Knocks, if you will) and hope they are more willing to listen and be open to solid resume and career advice should they return for resume writing help in the future.
Want to avoid being a resume hoarder? Here are 5 ways to rid yourself of excess within your resume:
1. Let those positions go.
What should hit the cutting-room floor?
Start by examining and chopping out old, irrelevant, and short-term positions when feasible. Don’t keep positions because they are important to you. Keep them because they are important to who will read your resume and consider you for future employment. At this point, it’s probably safe to say positions from the 1970s, 1980s, and yes, the 1990s should be banished from your resume.
2. Don’t “vomit” an intro/objective into your resume.
Your resume’s intro SHOULD NOT be a compilation of everything you’ve eaten (err, done).
Focus only on what’s important to your career move NOW – include no more, no less.
Specifically, don’t include software and soft skills within your intro statement.
If you’re a manager, don’t include support-level responsibilities – or when absolutely necessary, broad-stroke (minimal specifics) those job responsibilities.
3. Recognize that you have transitioned from having a job to having a career – and rewrite your resume accordingly.
Jobseekers should write about their best works; their best assets; their best skill sets; their best results.
Your resume should be the best representation of your career, so stop thinking of your resume as a chronological list of your job roles.
4. Do you remember that?
Training that you attended years and years ago are equivalent to wearing an old brown suit to an interview.
Big, big turn-off!
There comes a time when you must acquire fresh training so your skills become outdated and you are unable to compete.
5. Inactive memberships, lapsed executive board participation, and love of dogs.
You might be wondering, “Well, the hiring manager may call me for an interview because she’s a dog lover too?”
But couldn’t that “bite” you too?
Maybe the hiring manager was once bitten by a dog?
Maybe she’s a cat-loving hiring manager?
Don’t presume that because you were once a member of XYZ industry organization or served as a board member of the local Humane Society that you’re going to get any preferential treatment.
So, here’s one last nugget of advice:
Critique every millimeter of your resume to avoid being a resume hoarder. Strategically map every word, every fragment, and every sentence. Talk the language of the hiring company to get a better return-on-investment (ROI).
Do you need more help with improving your resume?
If so, be sure to check out this free download containing my advanced resume writing techniques on how to get you more interviews.