Resumes: Fact Or Fiction?

By Rich Weissman

July 13, 2011 at 6:28 AM

I am on several of search committees for my college and was recently appointed to chair a critical one for a position in my department. As a hiring manager for many years, I find the process reasonably enjoyable and a solid exercise of my analytical, communication, collaborative, and negotiation skills. Yes…these committees are that complicated!

Oh, but those resumes! In education we call a resume a CV, or curriculum vitae, but it is a resume none-the less.  Some are like small novels with long narrative passages detailing the ups…and sometimes down…of careers. Others are nothing more than long bulleted lists with little context and continuity. Others take the importance of keywords to extreme and the resume is nothing more than jargon. Some are actually relatively concise, on point, and relevant. Those get a second review and often a personal interview.

I am beginning to see a thaw in supply management procurement opportunities. With this warm up comes the need to update and polish the resume. (Having an updated resume at all times is a subject for another post). While there are many articles, books, and consultants who provide advice, here are my two cents:

  • Tell me a little about the companies that you’ve worked for. A one or two sentence description easily tells me if your industry experience lines up with my needs. Today, many companies opt for cute names rather than descriptive ones. General Electric is pretty self-explanatory but what were Google and Yahoo! before they became household names?
  • Keep the font consistent. I like bold headings but ease up on the italics, CAPS, and underlining. Write clearly and I can tell what you are trying to say. Keep the margins and spacing consistent as well.
  • You can keep the objectives portion out. I know you want a job in a progressive company where you can maximize your skills. So does everyone.
  • Be clear on your education. Degrees are important, especially in the searches I do. Don’t make me figure out the difference between ‘attended’ and ‘graduated’. I also don’t need to know your GPA.
  • Leave hobbies and interests for the interview. I have never brought in a person for an interview because I liked their hobbies. Yet, I’ve had some interesting conversations about hobbies and interests during interviews. I often hire on chemistry so these conversations can be important.
  • Eliminate the one page rule. If you have experience your resume can be several pages and that is fine with me. I don’t like the 6 point font and quarter inch margins that many one page resumes have.
  • The resume you use for Monster and the like can, and need, to be different than the one you send to me. Be careful on the keywords and jargon. I much rather read a cohesive career summary than a series of key words.
  • Keep the cover letter simple. Highlight briefly your qualifications. I typically don’t read the cover letter until after I read the resume. If I am interested I will read further. But, far too often the cover letter is the killer. You either tell me too much personal information or it does not align with your resume. Unlike the resume, always keep it to one page.
  • Don’t be embarrassed about gaps on your resume. I hire moms who have been out of the workforce and others who have been unemployed, or underemployed, for a while. I know the economy is bad and the search has been tough. Nothing to be embarrassed about.

Good luck on your search.

Tags: Purchasing careers resume professional develoment
Category: Blog Post

Rich Weissman


Endicott College Assistant Professor Rich Weissman teaches management courses for the School of Business and the Van Loan Graduate School. He is also the director of corporate education, which includes the Center for Leadership, Endicott’s management development institute. He is vice chair of the planning committee and also serves on the technology committee and the Institution Review Board.  A practitioner turned educator, Weissman has more than 25 years of experience in all facets of procurement and supply chain management. He has held positions with large business units of Fortune 500 companies, medium-sized contract manufacturing companies, small venture-backed Internet startup firms, and third-party procurement, consulting and strategic sourcing firms. 

Rich holds an M.S. in Management from Lesley University and a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University. He is past president of the Purchasing Management Association of Boston and a recipient of the Harry J. Graham Memorial Award, the highest honor bestowed by the association.

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