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Job Magician Avoid the Job Description Resume  

  • Some resumes read like job descriptions - listing duties, surprisingly. These resumes give the reader nothing to differentiate you from any other job hunter with the same title.
  • The key to catching someone's eye is by differentiating yourself - by highlighting your achievements.

You’ve heard me rant against the functional resume, and why they get an immediate go to jail (my trash can or delete key), do not pass go, do not collect $200 (see The Functional Resume:  Don’t Do It! if you haven’t heard why I, along with desirable employers, can’t be bothered with functional resumes). They are almost universally used by someone who is trying to cover something up.



Another commonly seen resume that harms a well-meaning, straightforward job hunter is the job description resume. This is the resume that simply lists what the person’s duties have been at jobs throughout his or her career.  It reads like any job description or classified ad.

I’ll see a financial executive’s resume with the following:

Chief Financial Officer, Blatantly Boring Bearings, Sleeping Wolf, South Dakota.  Responsible for budgeting, banking relationships, cashflow projections. Managed Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivables Staff. Interacted with auditors at company’s CPA firm.  Oversaw SEC filings.

This is only slightly abbreviated, and not too far off from resumes I’ve seen.  Any Chief Financial Officer does all of these things, and yet I see resumes cluttered with the obvious.  Even worse, I’ll see job summaries – the first things that appear on a resume – with nothing but this type of stuff.  Frequently, these people leave their achievements out – and achievements – not duties, not adjectives describing your personal qualities, are what keep people reading resumes.

To get a better look at a resume that highlights a job seeker’s achievements, read Writing a Resume that Really Shows Who You Are.

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