TheCalmDev (Dev J Haldar)

ravings, rantings and ramblings

Why résumés do not get jobs

Humility is a rarity.

In the age of sell and over-committment, humility or modesty is more of a vice than virtue. Anybody practicing those is a marketing hermit or clearly an under-achiever.

Let us take résumés or CVs for example. It is an introductory document about the person, core competencies and work experiences. Universal dictionaries define résumés using two key words – brief and summary. Looking at the modern-day résumés, neither of the two apply.

I have received CVs / bio data / résumés for long and each time I am filled with amazement at the yarn people can spin. Damn it, apply for a screenplay writer and that would be a paying profession than writing reams about oneself.

Freshers from college or any training institute start out by writing everything that they know. It is commendable when one knows various computer operating systems, with special emphasis to MS Word. While mentioning special projects, I  see executive summaries of reports finding place in resumes. And on top of that, something that troubles me no end – an ‘objective‘!!! Three marks of exclamation to translate my exasperation! Everybody has the same ‘objective’ of “working in a ‘creatively challenging’ environment with daily challenges that showcase excellent inter-personal skills and oraganisational development”!!! Wait, let me add another one to that! There! Just what does that mean? Has anybody ever got a job based on that ‘objective‘. If so many are so good, specially in all spheres of communication, as claimed, how is it that we have so many bad communicators?

Moving on, from freshers to executives with a few years of experience. The biggest mistake they make is to write every nitty-gritty of their job description. From managing accounts to conceptualising creative solutions to getting coffee for the CEO and collecting the morning papers to opening the office to trouble-shooting the printer… the list is endless. If you are so good and multi faceted, as claimed in the MS Word document, then you are grossly under-paid, my friend. Besides, with all that qualification, you will probably never be hired.

Radio professionals (I could take a re-course to using that word, first up) are a breed apart. They try all the tricks in the trade to market themselves as the best the radio industry has ever seen. So, it all ends up looking the same. They all have developed, conceptualised and executed some award-winning or ground breaking concept that nobody thought of. They all have multi-tasked from taking phone calls to hosting shows to contest management. Well, maybe they have, but such range and brilliance is a rarity indeed. Add to that the forced pressure of being funny. Why on earth would you be funny in your résumé? Why would you not give essential information about yourself instead of giving information on your school project or college ramp walking? No wonder, the mass does not take radio professionals seriously.

The length of a CV is worrying. I have received résumés that look longer than Oliver Stone’s JFK. Why would somebody with a total work experience of 4 years have a CV that is 3 pages long? In that case, one might also specify what ‘position‘ they like it most, since information of all sorts is being made public!

We fail to realise that if the CV says it all, why would somebody want to meet the person?

Besides CVs that run 2 pages plus quickly find their way in the bin, not to be recycled ever.

If you can summarise Mark Zuckerberg’s or Steve Job’s job profile in a sentence, why do you write paragraphs filled with inane and unsubstantiated promises?

To end my raving and ranting, let me close on a positive note by offering (free) tips to getting a professional CV that does justice to one’s career and talent.

  1. Please limit your CV to one page. Most recruiters don’t have time to read all that wasted ink on MS Word!
  2. Be BRIEF. Look up that word in a dictionary.
  3. Please do not give non-essential information like college project or winning a prize in an inter-college ‘show your talent‘ competition. Remember, Brad Pitt’s core competence is acting and not home building (which he did in New Orleans).
  4. And here’s a tip. Try and write your CV in a way where a potential employer wants to meet you and not hire your résumé itself.

Good luck!


8 comments on “Why résumés do not get jobs

  1. Ankit Ojha
    April 19, 2011

    This write-up kicks ass! I will need to take a crash course in building resumes from your very soon! 🙂

  2. Dev J Haldar
    April 19, 2011

    Gratis for you!

  3. Deep
    April 19, 2011

    My resume, fortunately or unfortunately, is less than half a page. Is that good or bad I wonder…?

  4. Dev J Haldar
    April 19, 2011

    Wonderful. You are a simple man, Deep!

  5. Roohi Rizvi
    April 20, 2011

    Once again m impressed by ur writing skills Dev..! Perhaps for the first time i m experiencing such a detailed n theoretical description about a thing like ‘CV’! Although what all u described is very much applicable practically. Reading this article reminded me of my class XII-zoology practicals wen we were disecting frogs! 🙂 only with a difference tht after the disection the amphibian was dead n useless. while here the case is just reverse. You ve disected a resume/CV to give it a better dimension, a better prospective. n thts wht which is making it so intrestingly beautiful to read !
    Your points on ‘objective’ etc. in a cv, at times bother even me too but somehow i think we get casual n hardly improvise it accordingly.
    would have been much better if u ve given a format of a proper CV. would have updated mine likewise. as tht of mine is also two-paged. :))
    Nonetheless..the article is very well written n worth many appreciations. n mujhe to is tarah ka likhne ke liye na jaane kitne jana lene padenge..!!! :)))
    God Bless!

    April 20, 2011

    A well researched & beautifully worded article giving insights on precisely what today’s management looks for in a CV.

  7. Dev J Haldar
    April 20, 2011

    @Roohi: Thank you.. very generous of you
    @Hari: Thank you. I feel that every management must also be vocal about it

  8. Pingback: 10 Page Epic « Dev J Haldar

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