Software for the finest computer – The Mind


Posted by Tim Bryce on January 31, 2014


– Are they too good to be true?


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I’ve read a lot of resumes in my day. Coming from the Information Technology sector I have seen some pretty crazy ones filled with a lot of gobbledygook involving technical acronyms and programming jargon. Here’s an example, “Proficient in the following languages and operating platforms: C, C++, DOS, MVS, CICS, ISPF/VS, DB2, OS/2, OS/400, UNIX, AIX, Java, JavaScript, Perl, Basic, HTML, DHTML, XHTML, XML, PHP, PDP, JCL, SQL, George 3, Win95/98/Me/XP/VISTA, etc.” Sounds pretty impressive doesn’t it? The problem is verifying that the person does, in fact, know these things. Most of the time I’ve found they might have nothing more than a rudimentary knowledge of the subject which is why we recommend testing the applicant as opposed to just taking his/her word for it.

I also find it irritating when a person uses verbose language to describe himself. For example, whenever someone says they are a “Senior Software Engineer,” this simply means he is nothing more than a programmer with two or more jobs under his belt. Some people add so many adjectives to describe their credentials and boast of their successes (not their failures) that you would think he is the second coming of Christ. Whenever I see this, I ask myself, “If this person is so great, why isn’t he running his own company; why does he need a job from me?” Touting ones’ successes is natural, but a little humility in the presentation of the resume would sure be refreshing.

I may not be an expert in preparing resumes, but I think the ones that appeal to me most are those that are simple and to the point. Frankly, if they cannot keep it to one page that isn’t too busy looking, I think people will lose interest. I know I do. If I want additional detail, I’ll ask for it. Tell me plain and simple: What are you interested in doing? What’s your background? (your employment history) and What do you know? (your skill set). I don’t want to know how you conquered neuro-electronic fusion systems based on a hashing algorithm you invented; do not try to baffle me with your brilliance. Just tell me how you can do a job for me and blend into the corporate culture. I think team accomplishments are still valued over individual achievement by most employers today.

Just remember if the person’s resume seems too good to be true, in all likelihood it is.

Originally Published: 1/19/2009

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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4 Responses to “RESUMES”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    A B.H. of Boulder, Colorado wrote…

    “The REASON that people inflate their resumes is because the prospective employer is LOOKING for exactly that – they screen out on key words in context and if you don’t have a certain “score” – your resume goes into the “not interested” bin. At one time, TRW had a computerized system that scanned the resumes looking for key words … if they found enough of them, they identified the hiring manager with a requirement that matched, and sent him/her the resume for review and determination whether to ask the person for an interview. That was in the late 90’s. I can certainly see where you might look at someone who had TOO MANY quals as being suspect…especially if they don’t have enough time in the profession to be really “proficient” in much of anything.

    Average time spent by a hiring manager on reading a resume? I think it was around 30 seconds when I was doing it. Basically, if you didn’t have something in the summary paragraph at the beginning that caught my attention, I wasn’t interested and didn’t spend any more time with the rest of the resume. Multiple page resumes were pretty much automatically ignored because people were obviously not paying attention. “


  2. Tim Bryce said

    A W.A. of the Dominican Republic wrote…

    “Good article, Tim. The first thing I always scanned the letter for is the big word “I”. If I saw that word used many times, I would immediately file it in the trash, as I knew they were not a team player. If just a couple of “Is” were used, then I would go further and look at the rest. Scanned a few hundred resumes in my day and looking for a team player in the printing business was the most important thing to me. Hope you had a great weekend and enjoy the Super Bowl,”


  3. […] RESUMES […]


  4. said

    I’d like to think the “right” person for the advertised job will keep it as you recommend. I believe 95% of all resumes are trashed by the recipient. The 5% kept most likely will be invited for a face-to-face interview. Then they’ll have to “think on their feet” without hesitation.


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