I get Rickâ€™s rant â€“ particularly if youâ€™ve ever been duped into hiring based on a resume and interview, and discover the â€œnew toyâ€ out of the wrapper was completely plastic. All packaging, no product.
Iâ€™m of two minds about fluffed resumes (damn those fluffers, which is how Iâ€™ve come to think of them). On the one hand, fate is cruel and often timely and will mow them down when it can and will hurt the most. (Ah, lovely fate). On the other, if a resume is the new sales glossy for your product (your time), should you maybe oversell and then fake-it-til-you-make-it?
Lucky Come Eleven â€“ Bring it Home Fate
Itâ€™s a funny truth that we all typically see our daily work lives as fairly mundane, nothing that we get dressed up for or sweat over each morning. Now, this isnâ€™t how we describe it at the club house or to acquaintances over drinks at our spousesâ€™ Christmas parties. But yeah, even the exciting or exotic becomes status quo over time.
This is the â€œliving itâ€ versus â€œselling itâ€ difference. Most people want to live easy, and sell large. The easiest way is for Billy Slacker to dodge the stretch assignments at work, but make a note on his resume that he was present when the assignment was dreamed up. The new rules say, if you were present (in the building evidently counts too) when the work occurred, you can record it on your resume.
Recognize that this attitude flies in the face of seeking purposeful work: you canâ€™t lie your way into an organization and then continue these same antics. It wonâ€™t work. And if it does, you probably deserve each other (just hang a sign out front for the rest of us so we donâ€™t come knocking). At some point, weâ€™ve all worked for/with/near a manager that blows hard but canâ€™t clear a task list. These people just occur in nature, like lice, and strep throat, and ingrown hairs.
For all these fluffers, a word of caution: if I find you in my midst, Iâ€™m going to out you like an anti-gay Republican prom queen that privately covets his share of younger men. Fate requires this of me â€“ it is not only a civic but morale duty. To our peers, our shareholders, and all the future bright-eyed employees that might unfortunately fall under your inattentive and un-nurturing span of control.
Playing on FUD to Get the Sale â€“ The New Sales Slick
But maybe you are just shaping the edges, honing the details to cast you in the best possible light as you go forward in pursuit of your next new adventure. Is it really a crime to blur the edges of your experience? Can you claim that it was you that actually invented the internet?
As a hiring manager, I was interested in specific experience as well as aptitude. The resume needed to be clean, compelling, and demonstrate a capable professional that I could bring in and start handing tasks to on day one.
Most of the specifics I look for are fundamental, and things Iâ€™m going to drill down on. You developed/ managed [x]?
- Who was involved in the analysis and decision â€“ HR, Marketing, Operations, Finance, Sales?
- How did this effect or get affected by existing company values?
- How did the project change through the implementation?
- What played out differently once you got deep into the project? What did you learn?
- Who was your ultimate champion? CMO? CEO? CFO? Operational managers?
Know that whatever is on your resume is fair game for some very deep dives. Very deep. Who, what, when, where, why, how. If you are making the claim, you have to be able to back it. Period.
Simply put, donâ€™t list anything on your resume that your last boss wouldnâ€™t confirm. We know the rules on background checks, but the world is a small place full of relationships. If I get a resume that shows you used to work for a friend of a friend, I WILL get an informal download on the details. Call it what you will â€“ but I do my background as best I can (painful lessons of the past), and you should expect your next manager to as well.
If you really want to stretch out for new things you think you are capable of, start networking. No one is going to risk on you like someone that truly believes in you. Less likely the guy that interviews you off of the internet job boards.