Friday 27 January 2023
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Dear HR: Resumés Stink and it’s All Your Fault

Dear HRDear HR Practitioners,

I’d like you to know that there are more to resumés than you think. Many of you in HR, have decided that resumés are passé and irrelevant. You wish for something more, something that gives you a better understanding of the candidate and their potential to fit with your organization. You have conferences and events to discuss technology that will allow bypass of the resumé and find another method of evaluating talent, yet to no avail. Some companies have dropped resumés for a social media activity approach, as if people can’t or won’t lie on social media or present a false self.

Do you want to know why?

Do you want to know why efforts to circumvent the resumé don’t work? The reason is simple. It’s you. It’s your approach to resumés which has frustrated and caused a want to abandon them. Yes, you in HR, have created the very thing that you hate the most, the bad resumé!

You tell everyone to load their resumés with industry jargon because that helps them to get noticed. You write articles, blogs, and job training materials stating that every resumé needs an objective statement and now you hate them – you don’t even read them. You tell job seekers to have multiple resumés, knowing full well this will only cause more confusion. You post job descriptions for one thing, but hire your friends and family who don’t fit the description at all. You cave when the boss wants to hire someone who is not qualified.

The truth

The truth is resumés are still immensely important and vital to careers and lives. Resumés aren’t bad or boring or invalid, they’re just misused and misread. For instance, trying to get an executive to remove the words “results-driven” or “goals-orientated” from their resumé is like pulling teeth (look at your own resumé, it’s probably there), sadly, it means nothing. Resumés can be very attractive and informative if only you would drive the message to your community and the workforce that senseless adjectives and overused adverbs don’t impact a decision during the hiring process and that dragging the resumé out to 2, 3, or 4 pages is a total waste of all of your time.

The worst offenders?

Some of the worst resumé offenders and violators are in human resources. No, seriously, an HR lady once told someone with 10 years of experience, that his resumé should be 5 pages long, at least. Another HR person told someone that they wanted to see every last job that this person had over their lifetime. True story, college grads are being told by career services to have an “objective” on their resumé – still, now, today, in 2016 that’s still happening.

So if you hate scanning resumés, it’s like Jimmy Buffet sings, “It’s your own damn fault”

HR, please, stop the madness.



Chris Fields
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Chris Fields, MLHR is an Expert Resume Writer and HR Consultant who has been featured on, and Monster Thinking. He helps Executive job seekers with their resume credentials and writes regularly at the