TMI – Too Much Information

I received a resume from a fellow who wanted an overhaul done and a new cover letter written. He submitted his old resume and I thought it had some great examples of information that really didn’t belong. Let’s take a look at it:

His objective: SQL Server Database Administrator/Developer (or at least that was his most recent objective). Now, he may want to go in a different direction but I still don’t think that his experience as a Crystal Reports Developer in 1994 will have much impact on his current target. His resume goes back too far in time; with a techie, that can be a lousy waste of space. Technology that is over five years old is usually obsolete and this fellow has details of experience and technology that is over ten years on his resume.

He lists his military experience on his resume which is a good thing. He was Navy for six years back in the eighties. He even lists his job in the Navy – Nuclear Reactor Operator/Electronics Technician. This demonstrates he has good technical skills and could carry a security clearance. What he doesn’t need is all the awards he won in the Navy twenty years ago – Battle Efficiency “E”, Oct, 1986, for example. What the heck is that? And what does it have to do with database technology in 2005? It’s understandable that he is proud of his military recognitions but they have no place on his resume at this point in his career. It’s a waste of space. Those awards also put his resume into three pages, an even bigger waste of space.

His resume is task-based. That means he talks about all the tasks he did in his various jobs but he doesn’t show what he accomplished by completing those tasks. Some of the tasks important to mention in the context of a bigger picture, but nothing in the content shows how his completion of those tasks were exceptional. In fact, some of the tasks he lists are basic things that would be assumed by the reader. For example, “I am proficient in Spreadsheets, Databases, and Word Processors” is part of his Overview. And this sentence sets him apart from the competition in what way? Easy – it doesn’t! Eighth graders know spreadsheets, databases, and word processors! It’s wasted information!

His resume is choppy in its timeline. He worked as an independent contractor from the years 1999 to “the present”. Rather than treating that as one job made up of several different projects, he’s divided them out as different jobs, giving his resume the appearance that he was a job hopper. Additionally, he provides information on jobs he held that were not technology related that occurred more than ten years ago. He was a manufacturing supervisor and he was an instrumentation technician. Both jobs were less than a year. That is wasted information. The current hiring manager doesn’t need to know about those jobs to make a decision on his suitability as a candidate for a database developer now in 2005.

He includes URLs in his resume. While this is fine for Word documents submitted via email or snail mail, having these URLs in his online resume would cause problems in the spidering of his resume by online job databases. It would be better to eliminate these URLs and perhaps mention in his cover letter that he can provide an online portfolio of his work for review.

All of this is information that does not contribute to his candidacy for the job. (I won’t even get into the errors in capitalization, voice, grammar, and punctuation.) One of the most common mistakes of self-written resumes is inclusion of too much non-essential information. Knowing what to include and what to leave out is one of the greatest values that a professional resume writer can bring to the process.

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