If you’re afraid to let someone else see your weakness, take heart: Nobody’s perfect. Besides, your attempts to hide your flaws don’t work as well as you think they do. (Morgenstern)
Hiding real problems
The trick to hiding things on your resume is the same one that stars use to hide flaws. For instance, what if you had to be perfectly honest and still answer the question:
“Does this make my butt look big?”
A good honest answer would be, “No. Your butt looks big anyway. Let me find something that makes people look at your smile. It is ravishing. They will never care about what you are sitting on.”
More than one starlet has played an irresistible vixen on TV while 8 months pregnant. How? They focused on everything above and below the swollen pregnant belly, and the actress stayed out of the tabloids until fully recovered. No one ever saw the belly.
If you have problems, even severe problems, you have to make sure the camera focuses somewhere else.
Common problems people want to hide are frequent job changes, being fired, bad references, a several year sabbatical from your field, not accomplishing much, working for a disreputable employer, an ogre boss, etc.
One way to hide problems is to point out what you did well. If you switched jobs too much, create a resume format that draws the reader’s eyes away from your employment dates and to your accomplishments. If you have bad references, you may want to emphasize how long you worked for a company so that those bad references will sound like sour grapes. If you left your desired field for a few years and want to get back, make those few years a one line entry, not a detailed account. You may want to put your jobs in order at the top of your resume, but put the dates at the bottom of the resume in another section on the third page.
If your problem might get your hiring manager in trouble later, make sure he knows about it before you receive an offer. If you are using a recruiter, tell him up front before he submits you anywhere. If you hurt someone who is trying to help you, your bad reputation will be spread very quickly.
Accentuate the positive. Make people’s eyes slide past the negative to get to the ravishing. It’s a game you see every day on TV.
Something To Do Today
Do you have a real problem? Emphasize the positive and make the negative insignificant. Don’t lie. Just put your emphasis on all the good things you have done.
Next: When is your resume being thrown away?
Getting past the trash can
Coyote traps – when to gnaw off your arm
The hours game
Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and ugly in us, but our emptiness. The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there. (Hoffer)
Hiding what is NOT on your resume may be the hardest part of writing one. Someone is going to get that job. Most successful candidates lack some of the requirements. Some lack major components and still get hired. Let’s look at one of the world’s greatest experts.
Many people say Saddam Hussein was the foremost expert in hiding what is not there. Rather than argue the facts, let’s exploit his methods. It works when you are trying to get a job or promotion to do something you have never done before.
Saddam showed great enthusiasm for the weapons he was not supposed to have. He built expertise in their design, construction and use. He got hold of parts of the technologies required to build the weapons and made sure the world knew it. Tests were done openly with related weapons and delivery systems. His experts visited seminars, arms factories and suppliers of illegal goods. There were even articles published by “insiders” who “blew the cover” of the program. Last of all, he refused to prove he didn’t have the expertise.
Here is how to apply Saddam’s tricks towards getting a job or promotion you have no experience for:
- Show enthusiasm for the job.
- Learn on your own. Get certifications. Join societies. Read related magazines.
- Start doing what you can. Programmers (to be) can create games and databases. Salesmanagers (to be) can lead popcorn sales for the Boy Scouts that gross a quarter million dollars. A computer technician (to be) can put together a network in his basement.
- Get a job in or volunteer to work somewhere that is doing what you want to do, even if you are not directly involved.
- Talk to people doing what you want to do. Attend their seminars and trade shows. Discuss the latest ideas in the field with people in that field.
- Start a blog. Write articles for trade publications–they are always starved for good thoughtful articles. Call reporters with ideas and quotes.
- List what you have done in your resume or job review. Do NOTapologize for lack of experience. Emphasize what you have done.
In order to get the first shot at your future, you have to prepare. Eventually your enthusiasm and persistence will get you an opportunity.
Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade? (Franklin)
Walking on the flat, open plains, an Apache claims he can disappear from sight. There is no place to hide, so the Army officer backs off to a safe distance and turns his back for a minute. Sure enough the Apache is gone, but there is no place to hide. After the officer searches fruitlessly for awhile, the Apache erupts from the ground.
In the book Life Among The Apaches, John Cremony gives example after example of Apaches hiding where it should be impossible to be out of sight.
Do YOU hide inside your resume?
Another example: Be honest. Do you read every insert in every medicine package you buy? Every word? Why not? You may open it up and take a few seconds to look for something obviously important, then you throw it away. Critical information is on those inserts, but you don‘t read them.
Is your resume as bad as that insert?
You’ve got 2 or 3 sheets of paper for your resume. How much do you hide in plain sight? Are the most important facts about you hidden in long paragraphs? Are they hidden at the END of bullet points?
In school you were required to write in paragraphs. Opening sentence, 3 arguments saving the best for last, and a closing sentence. Guess what? It does NOT work for resumes. No one reads paragraphs in a resume. No one gets to your best argument.
Use bullet points that are effective.
- A bullet should be less than one line
- Power words at the beginning
- Never give the whole story
- Make readers want to call you
- Your most important word should be in bold in a set of bullets
A resume’s job is to get you an interview. Nothing more. It is not a job interview. It is not a medicine package insert. It is not an essay.
Does your resume get read? Does it get you an interview? If not, change it.
Here is the QUICK FIX
This is an exercise that will help you fix your resume and get job interviews.
- Make a copy of your resume
- Cut your longest paragraphs down to three lines
- Do not split paragraphs, mercilessly shorten them
- Make every bullet in your resume less than half a line
- Do NOT split paragraphs
After you have done this, look over the two resumes.
Which is most likely to be read?
Now that you have hacked with an axe, go in with an editors pen and make your resume more readable. But don’t make it longer or you’ll be like that Apache again, hiding in plain sight.
One more idea? Go to www.grab-me.us and check it out.
Every day, businesses in every industry all around the world fail to make sales to qualified, hungry clients who desperately need what they are selling. And the real problem isn’t what they think it is. They aren’t paying attention to the most critical factor in sales — the critical ingredient that determines what their customers will actually do, and when they will do it.
They don’t know what it is, but I tell them in this viewable and downloadable podcast.
For the past 30 years our proprietary evaluations and courses have helped salespeople, entrepreneurs, managers, engineers, CPA’s, and programmers harvest sales they previously left languishing until their competitors stole the business.
Living in a ghetto, slum or trailer park does not make you trash. Mother Theresa lived in a slum. Her resume was good enough to get a Nobel Peace Prize.
I get some REALLY bad resumes. They say:
I can’t do this job. I have no skills or training. The reason I have the nerve to apply for it is because I really will work hard. I know I was fired from my last job. It wasn’t my fault. The job really was terrible. The job before that was terrible too. I’m not a freak.
We get at least one of these resumes or cover letters every week. Yes, this bad. Okay, only close to this bad. The resume is trash. It is literally worse than nothing.
Being laid off or fired tends to get workers, salespeople and executives to focus on the negatives from their previous job. They feel they have to explain things in their resumes. That is a mistake. Your resume has only one job, to get you an interview. It is not a confessional. It is not investigative journalism.
Here are 4 signs your resume will be thrown away in record time:
- Explain that you are part of a group that would normally not be hired (I want to learn to be a…)
- Tell why your boss was an idiot in your last job (I was not allowed to fix…)
- List excuses instead of accomplishments (Due to lack of…)
- List skills way below those really required for this job (As a carpenter I sawed boards…)
Are you sure you don’t do any of these? Usually these errors are hidden in a cover letter or large paragraph.
Something To Do Today
Seriously look at every line of your resume and cover letter. Every single line. Do you make excuses? Do you subtly or openly put down your previous boss or job? Were you smiling as you wrote it because of the subtle needle in a paragraph? Is a skill you list so basic it shows your lack of higher skills? Do you put yourself in a group of losers accidentally?
Job death is NOT a bad thing. It is a part of your progress. Once you are dead, just get on with your life.
Rigor Mortis – signs of job death – job CPR fixes
When your job is dead you have a decision to make: keep it or leave? If you keep it, perform CPR on your job whenever possible. If you decide to leave, check for rigor mortis before you give up hope.
Signs of job death and rigor mortis:
- Dilbert cartoons posted over the company goals
- No one notices your 2 hour bathroom breaks…3 times a day
- Facebook used more than all other applications combined
- No raises in more than 2 years…even for your boss’s mistress
- You try to organize a union and there already is one
- Surgery required on bitten tongue after your annual review
- Quality program of the month comes from a federal agency
- A job with the State Department of School Taxes sounds exciting
- Members of the beef and whine lunch club get food poisoning
- Spouse uses an electric cattle prod to push you out the door in the morning
CPR for your job:
- Learn new skills…pay for it yourself
- Turn in weekly, monthly and quarterly job reports to your boss and possibly his boss
- Go to lunch with enthusiastic people, find out why they are that way, contribute
- Get involved with Toastmasters…guaranteed excitement and comedy, some of it on purpose.
- Find out everyone’s birthday and decorate their cubicle
- Ask the people everyone respects how you can make a bigger difference
- Help a customer without permission
There is always something you can do. What is it?
Something To Do Today
Time to write your weekly report in your job journal if you didn’t do it Friday. Make a copy in a format your boss can use to send to his boss. Give it to him even if he protests he doesn’t need it. There is no way he can know all the good things you have done unless you tell him.
Check out www.toastmasters.org . Go to a meeting at 2 or 3 different clubs.
When I was in Spain in 1977 I knew of no supermarkets there. You had to go to a small store and ask for exactly what you wanted. The owner would bring out what you asked for from behind the counter. There were no food aisles to roam.
By 1979 supermarkets were taking over the country. Huge places filled with choices. You could literally make shopping an all day event, and forget to come home with what you needed. Then you would go to that local store and ask the owner for what you forgot, if the store was still in business.
Now let’s talk about the job supermarket.
In 2003 and 2009 jobs were few and far between. Candidates were happy to accept any job offer if they were unemployed for a few months. Employers were being very picky. Salaries were often dropping.
In 2005 and 2014 a job boom started. Employers were starting to beg for workers in 2007 and 2015. People who couldn’t get a job in 2004 or 2010 were getting multiple offers. People fed up with the way they have been treated for years are changing jobs.
Unfortunately in 2007 and again in 2015 some people are going job hunting, changing jobs, and forgetting to improve their situation. Employers get very wary of people who hop between jobs.
The moral: Be careful you don’t make it impossible to get a great job because you were seduced by sparkling packaging on inferior jobs in the job supermarket. If you aren’t careful the stores you could have gotten a job in will be like the stores in Spain, they’ll be out of business as far as you are concerned.
If you go out and quickly change jobs only for a small salary increase, you will probably be disappointed. By the time you figure out why you are disappointed, it will be too late to switch jobs again. Two new jobs within a year just doesn’t sit well with most employers.
Don’t lose your head. If you want a raise, tell your boss without threatening him. Show him what others are earning. Educate him. Don’t forget to listen to him. He may tell you a few things you need to fix to be worth a raise. Giving your boss a month or two to fix a problem gives you more time to improve your marketability. Figure out what will really be a job improvement. Take control of where you want to go instead of letting 50 sparkling job ads seduce you.
As the next few years continue to heat up, use the opportunities available to get where you would like to be. Don’t settle for a raise. Demand an opportunity in your current job and your next job.
The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created, created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination. (Schaar)
Something To Do Today
In your job journal make two lists. 1. The things you like about your job. 2. The things about your job that could seriously be improved.
Next write down what can be done in this job and in searching for a new job to seriously improve your situation.
Next: Rigor Mortis – signs of job death
Later: Resumes: trash or treasure
Goliath was the best thing that ever happened to David. (Weed)
Okay, Goliath tried to kill David. But it was how David reacted to Goliath that made him famous.
How horribly bad stuff can eventually help you have a great job
Some people claim that the best thing that happened to President George W. Bush, was that terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center towers. There is even an apocryphal account of Bill Clinton saying, “If only that attack had happened on my watch, then I would have been a great president.”
How about these:
- Not getting a job you really want.
- Someone else getting the promotion you worked for.
- Being laid off.
- A terrible job performance review.
- A letter of reprimand in your file.
Disasters? Yes. Setbacks? Yes.
Setbacks make me think of the two richest families in our neighborhood when I was a kid. One ran a gas station. The other was a plumber. They couldn’t get great jobs, so they took opportunities no one else wanted. The gas station manager now owns 10 car dealerships. The plumber started his own company and employed a host of people. They took stock of their situation and decided to move forward.
Evaluate why you really suffered a setback. Ask the easy questions and the hard questions. What did they do to me? What did I do to me? Where can I go from here?
One of the oldest books on the subject of success is Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. Every other book on the subject just steals his material and puts it in different words. His book can help you gain perspective and focus on what you can do.
Are you dealing with a Goliath? Then make sure you DECIDE how to react.
Today is always the time to start your future. Yesterday is past. Today you can make tomorrow a little better. Focus on what really caused your current situation. Then go forward with a plan. The world will change around you.
Something To Do Today
Get a copy of Think and Grow Rich and read through it. It’s a classic.
Later: The job supermarket
Rigor Mortis – signs of job death
My passions were all gathered together like fingers that made a fist. Drive is considered aggression today, I knew it then as purpose. (Davis)
Can your job search be like General Grant’s assaults on the Confederacy? You certainly can’t start from a worse personal position than he did.
Robert E. Lee said, “We all thought Richmond, protected as it was by our splendid fortifications and defended by our army of veteran, could not be taken. Yet Grant turned his face to our Capital, and never turned it away until we had surrendered.”
Abraham Lincoln was strongly urged to remove Ulysses S. Grant from command by Grant’s two senior leaders. Lincoln replied, “I cannot spare this man, he fights.”
Grant’s first army unit as a General had driven away two other Generals in the previous month. The unit was insubordinate, untrained and outright rebellious. Yet they followed Grant.
The year before the US Civil War, Grant was an alcohol abusing store clerk who only kept his job because he worked for his father-in-law.
What changed in Grant? Passion, focus, and high purpose.
Do you have a career plan? A job search plan? One that really suits your talents and skills? If one plan of attack fails are you willing to immediately switch to another? As the job market changes are you ready to take advantage of previously unseen opportunities? Are you constantly preparing?
Your passion may be your family, church, job, or club. It is probably a combination of them. If you take the time you spend on your job, concentrate, plan and execute, you can do wonders. If you slackly follow orders, give the minimal possible and expect to get a raise before you work harder, you will stagnate.
Where can you go to succeed? What can you do? Do you have to relocate your family? Do you need a new job? A new career path? What can be your great purpose at work?
Acres of Diamonds can give you some directions along that path. You can read it or listen to the author tell it at this link.
Something To Do Today
Read or listen to Acres of Diamonds . Read it.
Later: Slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Eventually every great plan deteriorates into hard unexpected work. The trick is to get credit for it, and a raise.
A newly minted Psychologist went to a new elementary school. Her job was to help children develop strong characters, overcome problems, and become fulfilled individuals. At 11:15 that morning the Principal poked her head in and said, ”Come with me. We need your help.” A crisis intervention? Her training would really pay off now. They both went to the lunchroom. The Principal took the Psychologist over to the milk cooler and told her, “At lunch you sell milk to the children who bring lunches from home.” That Psychologist said she nearly quit. It took her weeks to realize that every job has some work that just needs to be done. Someone has to sell the milk.
She works for the children. She really does change their lives, just not always the way she expected to.
You work for people. Your boss is one. He is a customer. Your coworkers are customers. The people who see and use your work are customers. The people who buy your company’s products are customers. Are you giving them what they need and want? Are they satisfied? Can you prove it?
In a job journal you can keep track of how you have served your customers. Tracking what good you have done will improve your performance. Telling your boss exactly what you contribute each week will get you a raise as you improve. If your boss doesn’t give you the raise you have earned, your job journal will help you get a new job.
So, who did you help? What was their problem? Did your answer save time, money or frustration? Write down and report on your expected duties. Also report on the times you just have to sell milk.
It is not hard. It’s a great plan. It just takes a little work.
Something To Do
Do you have a job journal? Create one for as far back as you can remember if you don’t have one already. Unemployed? Create one for your last job. Write down what you accomplished. What things are better because you were there? Did you save money, earn money or keep a customer? Write it down.
Here is the gutsy part if you have a job. Managers need to know what you accomplished, but most are afraid to admit they don’t know what you do every day. Submit a report to your manager in a format he can use to show his boss. Do it every week. Give your manager something to brag about every week.
Write down your failures in your journal too. That way you can show how much things have improved later on. Report failures along with how you have fixed them and how much money your improvement will now save.