Originally created 10/14/02

Keeping a resume professional is important

"When there's a job to be done, I'm like a tank that barrels through any obstacles!"

That's the way a resume began, complete with a photograph of a tank in battle. While it shows enthusiasm and even a little creativity, the hiring manager may not share the applicant's zeal.

Employers are basically looking for two things in a resume: examples of past work history and an indication of future potential. Here's another example of gusto gone awry:

"I am a computer maniac. I see computer systems as the perfect example of our wildest, yet most tame expression of ourselves in artificial form. To say that I think kindly of the machines is a gross understatement."

Someone that obviously loves his work is inspiring, but the above applicant went overboard and might scare off prospective employers. He would have been better off playing it safe.

Here's another example:

RESUME: "No computer system will ever get the best of me."

Don't be too sure.

"TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: I am a man filled with passion and creativity, and have designed award-winning sales materials. I am a class act."

And modest, too.

While this applicant lost points for boasting, he gained some headway by attaching to his cover letter several of his award-winning materials, giving a prospective employer quick access to his work samples.

Of course, show and tell can go too far:

COVER LETTER: "I speak several languages, and I am very handsome."

The above candidate included a large, glossy photo of himself to prove his point.

Every job seeker has the same goal - to get an interview. The key is to examine your skill set and experience and compare them to the position you're applying for, then communicate in your cover letter what makes you uniquely qualified. Your resume should then detail your work history, education, and other relevant qualifications and accomplishments.

This does, however, require a little thought, or you might end up with something like this:

COVER LETTER: "My resume is not prepared, but I wanted to write to you anyway."

Thanks for thinking of us.

Keep the Resumania coming. Examples can be sent to Resumania, c/o Robert Half International Inc., 2884 Sand Hill Road, Suite 200, Menlo Park, Calif., or faxed to 650-234-6998.

(Max Messmer is chairman and CEO of Robert Half International Inc., a specialized staffing firm, and author of "Managing Your Career For Dummies" and "Job Hunting For Dummies." For more Resumania, please visit www.resumania.com.)


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