I have the unenviable task of hiring an accountant. I’m currently reviewing resumes and setting up interviews. Here are some tips on preparing a resume. I’m not an expert on this subject. In fact, I couldn’t get a job as a space heater salesman in Juno. But I have strong opinions on resumes, and I have this venue, so that makes me qualified to spew my opinion.

  • Proofread – How many resume guides are out there? How many have as their first point to proofread? Answer: A lot and all of them. Yet I still get resumes with spelling and grammar errors. I think a lot of recruiters summarily pitch resumes with errors. Hey, I’m no angel when it comes to spelling and grammar, but I can say that my past resumes have been error free.
  • One page – There are a lot of folks who will disagree with me on this one, but I don’t care. Are you so important that you need three pages to convince me of it? I’m bored by the end of page one. To be sure, there are professions where multiple pages are the standard, but not many.
  • Keep it current – This relates to my one-page theory. I’m sure we’ve all had illustrious and exciting careers, but I couldn’t care less what you were doing in 1977.
  • Technical terms – I like when candidates use industry language in their resumes. I don’t like it so much when they use it incorrectly. Have someone in the industry review the language use so you can avoid saying “Collected Accounts Payable”.
  • Fonts – So you have MS Word and you know how to use the font dropdown. Bully for you. This isn’t France and it’s not the Renaissance, so don’t give me a headache trying to read your fancy script. Oh yeah, as much as I like one page resumes, using a 7 point font to get it on one page is cheating.
  • Handwriting – There’s probably some merit to analyzing candidates’ handwriting, but it’s a little over my head. So don’t handwrite your resume or cover letter. Surely everyone knows someone who will let them use their computer.
  • Paper – I’ve never prepared a resume on anything but white paper. Some of the non-white paper that I’ve seen recently isn’t too bad. Then there’s the gaudy pink one’s. You don’t have to use white, just don’t go overboard.
  • Dates – Okay, you had a bad run where you had five jobs in the last year. It’s not good, but leaving off the dates doesn’t really trick me. If you get an interview, and you most likely won’t, I’m going to ask you for dates anyway, so just put them on there. If you have the skills, I’ll look past it.

Well, that’s my holier-than-thou rant on resumes. I’ve gotten a couple of resumes that are on letterhead. Nothing fancy, just a geometric figure and a line going across. I think it looks pretty nice. Also, there are a few in my batch that have “Excel Expert” on them. Oh boy, I can’t wait to interview those people.

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13 thoughts on “Interviews

  1. Dick,

    I agree on all points but the white paper one. Not that white paper is bad, I just can’t believe you still get printed resumes at all–especially for a computer based job like accountant.

    Speaking of which, what’s with the general requirement of resumes in Word format anyway? My resume in in Excel!

  2. “can’t believe you still get printed resumes at all”

    That’s my mistake. My wife saw the ad and asked why I didn’t include an email address. My reply: D’oh!

    “My resume in in Excel!”

    Hmmm, intriguing. Perfect for an exceliphile, but what would the receiver say? I would have stop admonishing people for using Excel as a database, since I would be using as a text editor.

  3. Then there’s the gaudy pink one’s. You don’t have to use white, just don’t go overboard.

    Okay, you grammar/spelling nazi you. It’s “ones” with no apostrophe.

    I hope you’ll be nice to those “Excel experts” out there. LOL

    I’m not sure what I would think if I received a resume in Excel. I might ask if the person pounds nails with a screwdriver.

  4. I like those ‘Excel experts’ too… I have to admit it…

    During my “early years” with Excel, my boss asked me to do one thing for him, which was kind of a weird task but what did I know… later, I found out that he was actually timing me, so he could have an idea of what to ask for the new recruits… hehehe…

  5. “you grammar/spelling nazi you.”

    Damn. I knew I couldn’t make a mistake in that post after that comment. I usually just plop the post into Word to spell check it, but this post I read over a couple of times – and I still messed it up. Oh well, at least it’s not my resume.

  6. I somehow pasted it as a table in Word so that I could conform. You can still tell it’s all one big table, but it looks great printed. I’m pretty weak with Word and using Excel makes the adding of bullets in columns, centering and formatting easy.

    And I have used a screwdriver to pound finish nails to hang pictures. It worked.

  7. I try to make my CV’s as plain as poss, no tables, etc. My thinking is that the less formating (all my job apps are web based) the less can go wrong, i guess PDF is an option, but then poeple can’t change it if they needed to.

    The idea of sending a CV on pink paper makes me feel ill!
    I’m reading a book on Graphology, it’s ok, but i’m highly sceptical such things – come on!

  8. And I have used a screwdriver to pound finish nails to hang pictures. It worked.

    LOL I normally use that analogy when people ask me why I use Access for database applications rather than using Excel. The right tool for the right job…

  9. Interesting. I had never heard of that before and my co-worker noticed it in a posting here today too, so I encountered the term (which was new to me) twice today.

    Thanks for the link.

  10. Have to disagree on the one page issue. If I have experience or skills which are relevant to the job, what’s the point of leaving it out? And really, if you can’t be bothered to read 3 pages, how serious are you about finding the best person?

  11. Charlie: I knew someone would disagree with that. If I get 200 resumes, that’s 600 pages vs. 200. I don’t hire people based on the resume, rather I hire them based on their interview. Demonstrate the skill set on the resume and I will dig deeper in the interview. Having said that, I don’t dismiss resumes over one page, nor do I think it’s a hard and fast rule. The long resumes I’ve seen have information on there like “Shift Manager – Long John Silvers – 1980?. If I’m hiring for a fast food restaurant, fine. But the fact that someone had a job at LJS 25 years ago, generally isn’t useful information.

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