Some people wisely ask, how can I hide my flaws? Others seem to ask, how can I hide my greatest strengths?
Every resume I read is a mystery novel. For instance, an accountant dismissed in March is a lot different than one dismissed in May. March is the busy part of tax season, so, why would a competent accountant be sacked? May is a time that accountants cut back on staff. Is the firing a red flag or a red herring?
Is an 8 or 10 line “objective” on a resume a red herring? Do any of those 200 words really mean anything? A 300 word paragraph describing the last job is incredible camouflage for good and bad.
A bullet cuts through all the fluff, just like in a murder mystery. Find the bullet, find the gun, find the murderer. I always read the first 3 bullets under a job in a resume.
If those first 3 bullets are three red flags, then I will absolutely skip the rest.
If those first 3 bullets are three red herrings, I may skip the rest. By skipping the rest, I may miss the one important bullet that would convince me to keep your resume.
My problem is that I am human. I am easily distracted. I have hours of work to plow through before I leave. If I see too many red herrings in your resume, I’ll push the delete key. I don’t have the time to carefully consider each bullet to see if it’s a herring or a flag.
How many pounds of red herring are in your resume?
Something to do today
Hand your resume and the job ad you are applying for to a friend. Ask them if they match. If it takes more than 15 seconds to say, “Yes!”, then you lose.