Tag Archives: resume problems

The best way to hide real problems on your resume

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

044919164-president-barack-obamas-daughtThe 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

Glass ceilings

The hours game

Please don’t use these words on your resume

Some words are so overused that they create a mental train wreck for resume readers. Yes, I want you to have all of these characteristics, but show me, don’t expect me to believe your claim just because you use the word.

Here is the original article on words that drive me to distraction.

Do these resume fixes apply to you?

I just sent the following email to someone to help them have a resume that works.


The chances of a recruiter or manager reading your career profile are minimal.  No one likes reading a huge block of text.  At least you put your career profile into bullet points under core areas.  Be honest, would you read a dense 12 line paragraph packed with boilerplate terms?

What if you had 45 resumes to read through?  How much of the 40th resume would you read?

Your resume has only one job, get you an interview.  Even your core area bullets are hard to read through.  There are tooooooooo many. 15 core areas?   It may be necessary to have all those core areas on the resume so that a search finds them, but consider putting the full list at the end of the second page with your education and put only the 3 most important bullets for the job you are applying for at the top.  That way at least those 3 will be read.

Your education should go on the last page in case they care.  An unrelated degree with a MINOR in your field is not something to show at the top of the first page since it may get you excluded immediately when you could do the job.

Get the bullets with numbers in them on the first page. ($175,000 saved, 150 buildings, 6000 connections, 12,000 network connections, etc.)

In most cases the second page is never read.  If you put anything in the second entry on the second page,  you just hid it from notice.

And to make things worse, most people only read the first 6 words of the first 2-3 bullets in the first 2 jobs on your resume.  Put stuff that grabs them by throat in those first 6 words of the first 2 bullet points in each job.

Just some thoughts.

Bryan Dilts

Do you have the smell of cabbage soup in your resume?

If you want to write about a building where people are living on the edge of starvation, you always write about the smell of cabbage soup.  It tells you they are lower class people who have given up on the good life.  At least that is what it means in the books I read.

Your resume can smell like cabbage soup.  It can give the impression that you are a lower class person who has given up on life.  It can say, “I’m desperate,” or “I’m in shock.”  Here are some of the signs:

Any misspelling, grammar or capitalization mistakes.

……….. use a spell checker and get a friend to check your grammar.

Using a lot of different fonts and different colors.

……….. focus attention using words, bullet points and placement of phrases.

Bolded words everywhere.

……….. too much is a distraction.  Use bolding like pepper, just a little where needed.

Lack of focus.

……….. show how you fit this particular job, not how you can do any job in the company.

Very basic job skills.

……….. a secretary’s resume should NOT say, “I make coffee and remove staples.”  A programmer should not say, “I file reports.”  A CEO should not say, “I can type.”

Make sure your resume smells and sounds like a sizzling steak.  Have the smell of success. Get rid of the cabbage.

Something to do today

Take this list and your resume and see if you need to make a few changes.


Coming up

Resume writing services

Resume spreading services