How to ensure your resume goes immediately in the trash

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6ac07840-2651-4fb0-80cd-9f65bab9a36fWe get several unsolicited resumes a day. Most go straight into the round file (the trash). I got one today that was so bad that I just had to blog about it, as it has all the classic no-hire reasons:

  • serves as interface between executive management and engineering
  • resume has every technology and language listed you can think of, thus, no skills
  • background in data warehousing and web, a vast wasteland of failed implementations
  • tons marketing speak, “solutions”, “executives”, “synergies”, etc…
  • demonstrates zero understanding of our business, typical of the mass “pray and spray approach”

Here’s his cover letter, which I have left verbatim….

“I am capable of playing a great variety of roles; however my areas of greatest strength lie in guiding technical teams to deliver solutions that truly meet users’ expectations. My experience addresses all aspects of these efforts ranging from working with executive management on strategy and approach to helping developers resolve challenging technical issues and everything in-between.”

Do you remember that scene from “Office Space” where the Bobs ask Tom Smykowski, “So, what would you say you do here?” And the most that the useless Initech employee can come up with is that he brings the requirements to the engineers. When you look at this guy’s resume, it lists this…

Technical proficient with:
PHP, Microsoft IIS & ASP, XML, WebSphere, Java, JSP, JavaScript,
Apache, HTML/DHTML, AJAX, MySQL, Oracle, Teradata, SQL*Server, Oracle
Business Intelligence Suite, Cognos, Business Objects, Brio, Informatica,UNIX and Windows.

…along with every technology and language in the book. That’s called “buzzword bingo”. Yet, he’s not a programmer, based on this:

Senior technical leader, Manager/Consultant/Architect.
Extensive experience leading global teams composed of both technical and functional members of up to forty people working on multiple, concurrent efforts.
16 years of professional experience.

The economy is in the toilet, and so is the quality of candidates that come streaming in. But every once in a while, you find a star, and those folks are especially hard to find among the folks that are likely let go for good reason. The outlook for internet marketing is as hot as ever, and it’s still as hard to find folks, no matter what the economy. What’s your experience in finding good people?


  1. Finding good people is hard. Find people who can fit socially is equally as difficult.

    People who are let go either do not do their job or do not fit well in the culture (most of the time both).

    It is extremely difficult to cut someone from a corporate job, and especially if they are “that guy” who everyone likes… Actually, I have found that it is easier to get fired if you do your job perfectly but no one likes you versus not having a clue and everyone loving your personality.

    What concerns me the most is that I Googled my resume and your post was an exact match (just kidding 😉 )

    To be fair, most recruiters just look for keywords — so the idea is that if your resume mentions a specific set of keywords that they are asked to look out for — they will set you up with an initial phone call — after that your resume has done its job.

  2. Wow That was fun to read. While I don’t get resumes, I now am more qualified to read them thanks to you! Hahaha. 😉

    Also, love the comment about resumes being like SEO. Hahaha

  3. Hi Glitzer,

    The “wow” CV is one that is short and has a couple sentences that specifically reflect an understanding of the company. 5 page long resumes are usually indicative of folks who are reaching for things to say. My mentor was Al Casey– his resume merely said CEO of American Airlines, Postmaster General, head of the LA Times, and head of the Resolution Trust Corporation. What more needs to be said?

  4. haha, and lets see your resume dennis..
    this is how it goes…?

    “CEO of a comapny that has no proper website.
    a scam maybe, but we let you believe the owner is
    some new age Wunderkind, harrison. no wait, im working for his daddy. yep. a multimillionair, but we let you believe its all the kids doing. making a star from early age. yes, like the kardashians, harrisons sex tape will come out when public interest drops.. blahblahblah”

  5. I do agree with all the ideas you’ve presented on your post. They are really convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are too quick for novices. Could you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

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