My Resume; My Resume 1, My Resume 2…

It’s funny how sometimes the things that are so obvious to us are not always immediately obvious to others. Of course I’m smart enough to know that the opposite is equally true; and there are plenty of things that others think I should obviously know but don’t until it’s pointed out to me. And that’s why it’s always a good idea to never make anyone feel too bad when the light bulb does shine on them and that moment of realization dawns.

In sitting down with two men yesterday and working with them on improving their resumes, I started off by looking at a list of their saved documents and asking them to pull up the resume from a list of resumes that was applicable to the job they were applying to. This way, we could start editing together the resume that was being crafted to fit the position. So far so good because each knew to go about making an individual resume for each job. Yeah!

Looking at the list for each however, I could already detect a potential problem that I would help them correct; and both of them had made this error. Both men had me click on what they thought might be the right resume, only to find it wasn’t, and it wasn’t until we opened 4 for one and 7 for the other until we got the resume open we needed.

So what was the problem? One guy had saved his resumes with his name and a number as in, ‘Bob’ 1, ‘Bob 2′ etc. The second guy was calling his things like, ”Joes super resume’. You see neither of them had got their thought process to the point where employer’s would see not only the resume, but the name of the file itself. “Oh, oh! You mean they see that? Well that’s a problem!”, as one of them so clearly put it.

It’s true of course. Think about it when someone sends you a file as an attachment in an email. You click on the email to read what has been sent your way, read the email and the person says to open the attached file. Your eyes then locate the attached file, and it’s at this point that just before you click on it to open it, that you’ll see whatever they’ve called the file. The process is exactly the same if you are the employer and someone sends their resume as an attachment.

So what message is communicated to the employer when they get a file called, “Bob’s resume 5”? First and foremost they immediately know there are in this case 4 other versions of your resume. Now they start wondering a few things: Are you the kind of person who just wants a job anywhere or the kind that wants this job in particular? Doesn’t appear that way. This tells them about your electronic filing capability too. So if you are seeking a job where you’ll be saving computer files and organizing things, you’re not showing yourself to be particularly good.

But let’s look at it from another perspective that is self-serving; In other words, for your own good and in your best interests. Each one of these men opened the right resume through trial and error. That’s wasted time. And can you imagine the rising anxiety each might feel if they had to access it quickly – say an unscheduled call from an employer wishing to do a phone interview and they wanted to get it up on a screen to reference while talking?

So here is the simple solution. When you save a document and are asked to give it a name, name it using a combination of the job title you are applying for and the name of the company. “Dietary Aide Whiteside Villa”, or “Auto Mechanic Canadian Tire”.

Can you visualize now a list of perhaps 15 or 20 resumes a person has made in their job search, and each one clearly labelled and easily identifying the contents? Now see an employer calling you for an interview and asking you to do an interview right now on the phone. You agree and go to your resume list, and on the first click open the resume you made just for that job, as it was easy to locate based on the job title and name of the company who is on the phone. Your resume opens the first time, and you’re anxiety level is minimal meaning you are off to a good start.

And if you are going for an Administrative position where you will be doing electronic filing, you are demonstrating to an employer that the filing system you use will be similarly clear to whomever else has to locate a file you’ve created. They can imagine that if you were creating client files, you’d probably use the clients name instead of opening up a shared filing system to find you’ve named the files by some system like, ‘Client 1’, ‘Client 2’ etc.

Oh and the guy who called his resume, “Joe’s super resume”? Can’t you just see that appearing to be a sarcastic or flippant challenge to the company person about to open it? If I was them, I’d already be thinking, “Super? Really? Well let’s just see how ‘super’ this resume actually is!”

The good news is both men got it and neither attempted to defend or argue. 1 small job search error corrected. Pass this on please and help someone.


2 thoughts on “My Resume; My Resume 1, My Resume 2…

  1. I’ve worked in partnership with HR departments for some systems projects. 90% of them don’t know what they are doing. They need to be explained on how to turn on their computer. Usually on Monday, and Tuesdays they talk about their plans for the weekend, and complain about the amount of work they have on their extended coffee breaks.

    As this department normally controls the system, you can’t complain to HR as they would not care. If you have a concern, HR is the last department you want to tell. It’s like telling the National Enquirer. This is one department a company can seriously do without.


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