EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

At one time many years ago I had a lot of time for reading. I picked up an Agatha Christy novel and I was hooked. Over the next several months I believe I read just about everything she had written up to that point. I know that when we moved, I had quite a box of books. Trying to pick up the clues was sure entertaining.

There are other fine authors out there that I have indulged in from time to time, but lately the mystery writing on which I spend the most time is confined to the resumes I get from new member applicants.

I am not really sure why they feel the need, but they usually begin creating their mystery novelette by leaving off their graduation dates in the education section of their resumes. I am not sure exactly what secrecy they think they are achieving because in most cases they provide details of all of the jobs they have held. It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to compute their age by assuming that they probably finished college sometime before they started their career. Duh!

Knowing that some readers have gotten wise to this approach, some mystery writers leave off their first few jobs to hide their age. It is amusing to see at times that their first job was so senior. They must be quite talented to have been born fully grown.

Others don’t exactly leave off their first few jobs, but to shorten their resumes they include a paragraph listing a “sampling” of the companies at which they have worked, but without providing the length of service.

All these things are more than a little amusing, if it all weren’t so self-defeating.

Trust me, no one who reads resumes for a living is fooled by any of these approaches. What is worse is that no one who is reading resumes for a living will take the time to try to solve a mystery. Consider a pile of resumes about a foot tall. Yours isn’t clear as to your work history.

As a recruiter, if I am considering you for a golden opportunity with one of my clients, do I sit there and ponder whether what you are trying to hide is important or do I move on to the next resume? Friends, I am afraid that they move on.

No one has the time to consider as a serious candidate anyone who is trying to hide anything. The burning question is: “What else might they be trying to hide?”

Dates of graduation don’t need to be highlighted, but they need to be there. Firms at which you worked early in your career need to be there, but they don’t need any achievements listed. There are ways of presenting your early history that won’t take up a lot of space.

Don’t leave those trying to consider your candidacy with a mystery to solve. Few of those folks have the time for knotty problems.

If they really won’t hire someone who is as old as the hills like you, they aren’t going to hire you anyway. What you need to do is ensure that your recent accomplishments are SO compelling that they will contact you DESPITE your age.

Your knowledge, skills and years of seasoning ARE what you are selling. Don’t sell that short.

Regards, Matt

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