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 really 3 red herring, then I may skip the rest. By skipping the rest, I may miss the one important bullet.
O jest unseen, inscrutable, invisible, As a nose on a man’s face, or a weathercock on a steeple. (William Shakespeare)
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 herring in your resume, I’ll push the delete key.
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. It it takes more than 15 seconds to say, “Yes!”, then you lose.
Later: Interview red herring