Stupid Resume Mistakes: “Creative Writing” |

What do you think you’ll accomplish anyway?

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This 1 of those stupid resume mistakes I call “creative resume writing.” What is creative resume writing? I will politely call it “exaggerating.” You may call it lying; I will call it exaggerating.

It's exaggerating you are qualifications, exaggerating the results you achieved, exaggerating things that you’ve done to make yourself seem more important then you really are.

Why is this a problem? Real simple.

Number 1 is people can smell out bullsh*t and what you doing is bullsh*t. You may get the interview, you’re not going to get the job because of their start to probe what you did and how you went about doing it, Results achieved, outcomes where you helped the firm make money or save money and I you are not going to be able to pull it off.

I see so few instances where they even get past me, where I am reading a resume and I'm just going, “Huh?” They exaggerate their title.

There was a search I was doing for a position and you have “the combo title,” like business analyst/development manager or executive assistant/HR business partner and you just pause for a second and go, “ Okay I get it. You are blowing smoke up my derrière and you know what I do? It involves this – – I hit the delete key because I'm being conned. Even if they get past me to get to the client, the client is not going to hire them because the reality is they haven't done the job. They may have done a little teeny tiny portion of the job but they haven't done job.

I am going to tell you point-blank don't get creative with titles, don't get creative with responsibilities because here is really the worst thing that can happen – – you get hired. You get hired any can't deliver. You are going to have to learn on the job and they are not looking for someone to learn on the job. The are looking for somebody who can do the job. You get fired. You really want that to happen? You want to explain to your friends and family why you got fired you for lying during your interviews, pull it off during the interviews, but being unable to deliver?

Don't do it it. Sometimes, creative resume writing goes into the realm of “hiding your age.” category. You know, all the dates when you got your degree disappear and some of the early employment that you had disappear.

So, for example, everything on your resume is from, let's say, from senior manager on up. There is nothing older than when you miraculously became a senior manager. And we know there's more experience there and I am going to ask you about it and, in doing so, you are going to tell me how old you are, because the math adds up. I may go so bluntly as to say, “Okay. When did you get your degree? Great and what did you do after graduation? Good.” And I am going to go meticulously through this, not because I want to find out how old you are, because I frankly don't care. If you look at me, for example, your realize I'm not exactly a young person myself.

So I'll simply say that clients want to know. They want to understand career progressions and yes, you will be hired based upon work you have done in the last 10 years, but they want to get a sense of where you came from.

Sometimes you are submitting your resume to a job based upon stuff not on your resume. You have forgotten that you took it off.

So don't hide it because, if you are concerned about ageism, as soon as you walk in the door, they are going to figure out that you're not 24, right? That you're not 34, are you? Or 44. .

So do you want to go to work for firms where they are going to discriminated on the basis of age? Do you really want to do that anyway? Of course, not.

And you are not going to be able to fool them because, at some point they are going to figure it out. Those firms are going to discriminate then come up with excuses. So be it. Get rid of them.

And the right firm isn’t and there are a lot of “right firms” out there these days. They want the e experience and knowledge that comes from having made major mistakes already, so don't sell yourself short.

Don't sell them short. You just go out there and present yourself as you are and let the chips fall where they may.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1100 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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