Interviewer says my resume is too bleak!

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008 - CV Writing, Job Application, tutorial


CV Writing

Johnny Edwards - HDR
Creative Commons License photo credit: Aplomb

Hyder, a web developer asks: I had an interview at a design firm this morning. The interviewer told me that my resume was too bleak to be considered. I have always felt that I’ve got at least enough experience behind my back to be considered for a regular developer’s position. It was only a junior developer position after all. The overall interview went better than I expected too. I simply don’t see a reason why anyone would call my resume bleak. In other words, he was referring to my career. I would like to ask this from your recruiting experience: What would compel you to discourage a candidate so blatantly?! I’ve got no reason to believe it was personal. And I wasn’t applying to a job where I would be required to take cold calls from pissed off clients. I have read and re-read my resume to find something that may turn off potential employers but apart from subtle changes, I couldn’t find much else. My resume is here… I’d love some tips to revamp it. I’ve never had anyone review it before, perhaps it needs a fresh pair of eyes. All contact info has been removed.

In answer:

There are many, many issues with your resume, including:

  • A weak career goal/opening statement
  • Inclusion of your date of birth/references. Not required, which with some simple editing would take it down to the necessary 2pages length
  • The largest order of information issue is that your work experience comes into the second page
  • No need for inclusion of High School, or a part-finished degree. There is a need to consolidate skills into one part of your resume
  • There are far too many words, and they don’t point the reader easily at employable skills. Write about your professional experience in terms of S-A-R: Situation, Action, Results. Briefly explain the problem or situation, the action/tactics (which should reflect your skills) you took, and the POSITIVE outcomes. It presently appears that you have limited or shallow skills, supported others on the projects, but have not directly contributed to the final products.

If you submit your resume to our free review service, we will happily give you a detailed review.

However, if this is the resume you sent to the firm, then they choose to interview you off of the back of it: clearly the interviewer was having a bad day!

What I will do additionally is give you a view of how I see your resume as a recruiter:

  • Having read your resume through five times, there appear to be some great skill here, but….
  • As a recruiter, I would only read your resume once before deciding whether to reject or call you
  • The major problem in your resume is in a combination of style and layout. If you hold your resume at arms length (ie – you can’t read the words), you will instantly understand why he called your resume “bleak.” There is far too much black/grey, and too little white. For someone who claims to have excellent proficiency in Illustrator and Photoshop, it doesn’t at all correlate to the claimed skill
  • If we then come to the words, it took me five read throughs to get what you have. If I was vetting the submission, you wouldn’t have been interviewed
  • The two pieces I did read, were the last line and the first line: as a recruiter am I supposed to call you about “concerns;” and I can’t see how any of the design problems show application to deliver “enhanced user experiences.”

You have some great skills, but need a professional to: totally revamp the design; cut out the sections which are not required; and then re-shuffle the words to make it easy for the reader to know what you can do/deliver.

The interviewer may have been having an off-day, but in all honesty I think he has done you a favour. By getting your resume revamped now, you will with your skills get a job far quicker – and your acceptance of his critic and willingness to ask the question here just further illustrates to me why you will get a job quickly once those skills are communicated.

Good Luck!

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