10 reasons why resumes and resume advice suck!

30 in 30 Dec 19, 2020

Ok! Today, I am shifting gears a bit. This is not your typical tech blog post but let's discuss about this. At one time in your life, you may have to write a resume or maybe you have written one or a couple...or even plenty. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. As for me, the following irritates me about resumes...

Before I start venting...let me say that I am not qualified for any of this. I am neither a recruiter nor a hiring manager. I am just someone who is super frustrated with the whole job application process. So anything I say here shouldn't be taken so seriously...

Ok, let's begin...

1. Resume Format

Here is where the great divide begins. I remember when I was in college and I would go to the career center to receive some advice on how to better my resume, every time I had different results. The career center had a format that they expected everyone in the school to follow. If you follow their format that just means your resume will be just like any other person that went there - no uniqueness at all. We were told that the format was formal and it was supposed to work.

To me the general format of the resume shouldn't really matter. Of course people expect to see a few things included maybe where you went to school, what you studied, your past positions, etc. But to tell me that I have to put these dates in a certain format or maybe education section is supposed to be at the bottom instead of the top seems so minute.

2. Resume Customization

Let's be honest here...no one has the time to customize their resume for each job position they apply for. You're telling me that I have to apply to about 100 jobs in order to maximize my chances of landing that 'coveted' interview...and on top of that am expected to also have the time to customize my resume for each of those applications.

I have got no time for that. I would say why don't you instead apply to the jobs that you think your resume will measure up to. Customizing a sentence or two to kinda fit in the job description is a waste of time...and probably won't work. Don't do it. (This is probably bad advice!)

3. Side Projects & Extra-curriculars

The things you least expect might actually impress recruiters or the hiring managers. I was quite surprised almost every interview I got...asked me about the three courses I published on Udemy. I just created the courses because I like teaching and Udemy was a platform that easily allowed me to be an instructor.

It wasn't that of a big deal but it became a discussion on most of my interviews. So that skill or extracurricular you have thought might not be related at all with a job at hand might actually impress the hiring managers. Forget about what they're advising you...put your favorite side projects on your resume...you never know!

Now how does this reason suck...I don't know...I guess it does if you choose not to include extracurriculars and side projects. And instead you put other stuff that might not matter...they say GPA doesn't matter on your resume...I don't know about that.

4. Quantifying Results is Overrated

Talking about numbers and statistics in resumes is kinda overrated. Who came with this anyway? It's actually doing more harm than good in my opinion. You want me to say that "I contributed 5% to the $20M annual revenue of my company by working as a/an [put your job position here]. Well! Maybe I did...But come on! These statistics and numbers mean nothing for most people.

And please stop telling every person to put numbers on their resumes...You just can't quantify everything. I sometimes felt like a fraud when I did that... "I increased the companies profit margin by 0.01% when I worked as intern for three months" ...Really?

There are a few exceptions of course...and those do make sense...if that applies to you may be put in those numbers...if you're a car salesperson and you sold 10 cars this month...that tells something...but for most people just be honest and share exactly what you did...no need to sugarcoat anything.

5. The ATS Systems

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)...I don't know what to say about them. Job applicants don't like these systems but hey... they're needed. If a company is receiving about a thousand or way more than that there's no way a few recruiters are going to look on each of those resumes one by one. Companies have to use these systems to filter out qualified candidates.

It's in here that as job seekers we are expected to use keywords so as to pass the ATS filter. Also it's because of these systems companies force us to manually enter the same information on their online application forms when we have already submitted our resume. Another waste of time! You already have our resumes why again do you want us to enter the same information?

As a footnote, word documents work better with ATS than image-like pdf files.

6. Resumes Don't Deliver

A resume may be just that. Having a great resume is not a guarantee to getting a job interview let alone a job. It reached a point on my job search where I kinda gave up on tweaking my resume. Putting much time and effort on your resume might not necessarily produce the results you expect.

Instead, why don't you try to look for other avenues...like networking for example, or sharing with friends and family that you need a job. Forming connections and knowing how to use them is by far the best and easy way to get a job rather than spending 2 hours everyday tweaking your one page resume.

7. The Bias

The bias existing in the whole recruitment process makes resumes almost useless. Some people will easily get jobs no matter how bad their resumes are...and unfortunately you might deceive yourself by trying to copy their resumes. Or they might go online and say something like "this is the resume that got me into [put your favorite company here]".

Just know that people will always be people...and don't buy into companies 'bullshit' that "We're an equal opportunity employer". No, they're not. People will get jobs just because they're liked...and also people won't get jobs just because they're disliked or for whatever other reason that might have nothing to do with either their resumes or qualifications. It sucks...but that's life. If it's that hard of a reality for you...you might want to consider starting your own thing.

8. Resume Alone isn't Enough

So you have come up with the best resume in the world, guess what? It's still not enough...you're expected to send a cover letter or maybe a portfolio or maybe a link to your LinkedIn profile or sometimes even a video to your employer.

What's the use of a cover letter anyway if I have already sent you my resume...to reiterate what is in my resume or to tell you how excited I am to be working for your company?

9. Resume Advice is all over the place

Who should you listen to? The ones that tell you you should never use Times New Roman because it's so boring? Or the ones that say don't put your education or GPA in your resume? Should you even consider having an objective statement?

If I have to say something, I will say just be you. People will give you contradicting ideas on what should or should not be on your resume. Be as creative as you want even when that means using Comic Sans as your font of choice.

But seriously, if you don't like Times New Roman, try Georgia, one of the most underrated font types of all time. Also, while am still here...one of the biggest problem people have in their resumes is typos. So if you just make sure your resume is typo-free, you will be way ahead of the competition. Having a typo just tell people you don't pay attention to details...a no! no!

10. Resumes Work Against You

If you're a member of a minority group, resumes might work against you. Just the name at the top of your resume will give it away that you don't 'qualify' for the job. Yes! Just the name. I don't want to go deep into that but read about this Harvard study that explained the phenomenon.

Even when you pass that initial step for some reason...you will be expected to prove that you can actually do the job BUT for others, it might be they only have to show that they have got potential. Having potential and proving yourself are two different things... Just another reason why resumes suck! ...Some people just can't pass through their biases... (It's sad when you think about it...but it is what it is).

Again, you are receiving this piece from someone who is neither a recruiter nor a hiring manager...but someone who is super frustrated with the whole job application process, with companies that wouldn't care less about their candidates, with recruiters who are just phony...and they will never reach back to even update you on the results of the interview, someone who is just frustrated with the whole system.

Job descriptions have become unrealistic, some interview questions are just 'stupid' for lack of a better word.  (Why do you want to work for us? …– Well! I just need a job mam! …That question is relevant to only a very small percentage of people. Most people just need a job and they wouldn't care if they work for company A or B)


If you're going through hell, keep going.


Ami Amigo

Ami Amigo (pseudonym) is one of the main contributors to this blog. He is a tech aficionado, developer, blogger and an online instructor. Ami Amigo studied Computer Science and Philosophy in college

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