Top 10 Tips to Land Yourself in Resume Hell

Over the past six months, I’ve reviewed so many resumes from friends and old associates out of work seemingly interested in finding jobs.

I use the word seemingly because while I know they are sincere about finding work, you wouldn’t know it by reading their resumes. And, the worst part is that many of these resumes have already been edited and approved by the outplacement firms that have “coached” and “consulted” these folks.

While I’ve never worked with any of these outplacement firms, I think I now have a pretty good grasp on how they “advise”. From the results of their sage counsel I’ve crafted the following “resume enlightenment tips” they must be using to give their constituency their best shot at employment:

10. Include every job you’ve ever had and everything you’ve ever done. Be sure to include your high school gigs as well.

9. Use lots of bullets with incomplete sentence fragments that don’t convey much meaning.

8. Include plenty of acronyms and proper nouns that only people from inside your old companies would know. That makes you sound really smart and “in the know”.

7. Tell the reader what kind of job you are seeking. Potential employers don’t want you to focus on their needs – instead, they want to know exactly what you want.

6. Fill it with plenty of soft verb phrases such as “helped with …”, “responsible for …”, “reviewed …”, “served as …”, “learned …”, “completed …”, and so forth. Avoid giving concrete examples of how much money you’ve made for the company – no one likes to hear about boring revenue numbers and other “business-y” stuff.

5. Make sure you write that you are highly motivated, hardworking, and results-focused. This will help you stand out from the people who say that they are lethargic and incompetent.

4. Similarly, talk about how well you work in a team environment in order to differentiate yourself from those that write they are ego-maniacal loners who must work in a vacuum.

3. Don’t allow any of your passions or game-changing skills to seep out. This would only confuse the reader into thinking you might actually be interesting.

2. Absolutely include your computer skills like PowerPoint and Excel. It’s sure to separate you from the masses that have never used a computer before.

1. Above all else, be sure to bore the hell out of your reader.

Follow these tips and I can guarantee your resume will not only be the epitome of mediocrity, but it will also help ensure it looks like everyone else’s out there.

Happy job hunting.

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Anthony Gold presenting the commencement address at
Penn State University - School of Graduate Studies.

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