What is a resume for?

Posted by Dr Glyn Brokensha | November - 21 - 2012 | 1 Comment

What’s a resume for?

It’s not too hard to define what a resume is …the Australian Government has already done that for us, bless ’em:

“When you apply for a job, the employer will want to see your resume. Your resume is a marketing tool that outlines your skills and experience relevant to the job” [1]

Wait a moment!  Did I get that right?  A resume is a marketing tool?   I thought it was supposed to be a factual document about work history, education and experience etc etc.

Not exactly… this time the Government actually does know best.  A resume is an “applicant advertisement”.

We know from research that approximately 30% of resumes are factually incorrect and misleading and 10% frankly fraudulent. High-profile cases of resume fraud remind us that even the highest and biggest are not immune… remember the fall from grace of Scott Thompson, once CEO of Yahoo!

 “A graduate of Stonehill College, Thompson earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting. But his official biography at Yahoo and Paypal, where he worked previously, says that he also has a degree in computer science”


You mean I’m hiring from an applicant advertisement?  Oh!… Ok … I’ll definitely get that vacuum cleaner then. The manufacturer says it’s really good and it gets everything cleaner than clean.  Just like that new and better soap powder.  And they wouldn’t lie, would they?

Of course not.

But what’s a resume for?  Well that seems to depend on your point of view.  If you’re an employer it’s about trying to ascertain the facts and form an opinion.   Should I hire this person?  Can they do the job?  Do they have the requisite skills?  Will they have the right attitudes?  Will they fit with the people around them?

If you’re a genuine job seeker it’s about presenting yourself in the best light to get the job.  It’s about winning… about gaining acceptance.

Think about that for a moment.  Remember the last time you went for something … a job or whatever.  Weren’t you just a little bit “personally invested” in the result, as they say?

People naturally want to get what they go for.  The very act of applying for a job creates a personal momentum which then cries out to be satisfied and resolved.  Even if it’s not what you really, truly wanted, you still want to be offered it.  No-one likes rejection.

The opposite of rejection is acceptance, something most people crave even if unaware of it consciously (think Facebook).  But the paradox is that as a result of this momentum when something is offered people will accept what they never really desired.

People accept jobs they don’t really want simply because they applied and were accepted.

Beyond the deceits and distortions in the resume, the unconscious need for acceptance is a key cause of bad hires.  So when you place a “Job Ad”, remember that what you’re reading in response is an “Applicant Ad”.

But never mind, you’re never influenced by advertisements, are you?… only other people are.  More of that later.

Thanks for dropping by.


[1] https://bit.ly/PptchE.  (jobaccess.gov.au – emphasis mine)









One Response so far...

  1. Tracy says:

    So true!