Getting a job is easy. Writing a resume that will get you a job is hard.
It's not just the time and effort involved in trying to remember your achievements over the course of your career. It's the time and effort involved in trying to remember where you've worked for the last five years. (You don't think you've been on automatic, I know. But let's be honest here. If one night your office were replaced with a McDonald's, it would take a month before you realized that your job description didn't include slinging burgers.)
Another problem with writing your resume is reading all the advice available on writing your resume. So do what I do -- check with Ruth Mantell in The Wall Street Journal for the skinny on "How to Make a Resume That Works." I do have to warn you -- the news is not good.
"You've tweaked and crafted your resume, spell-checked it at least twice," Mantell writes. "But have you included a 'QR code?'"
I had never heard of a QR code, but I assumed it was that electronic dingus implanted in Justin Timberlake's arm in "In Time." That's the movie about a future when everyone has a predetermined life span, as measured by his or her QR code. As it turns out, a QR code is something different, but I think my idea is much better. What employer wants to hire and train some doofus who is going to expire in six months?
Turns out a QR code is a kind of bar code that can be scanned by smartphones, and that some people are putting on their resumes "to direct employers to online portfolios, contact information, or other application materials."
Seems like a good idea, but why use such neat technology for such prosaic purposes? How much more exciting would it be to use a QR code to direct potential employers to your criminal record? Why, for bankers, such a link would be absolutely essential.
Mantell also sites a job applicant who applied for an HR position using a video resume. This sounds like a great way to demonstrate that you're an interesting applicant. The person didn't get hired, of course. Nobody in HR is interesting.
"Unusual content and formatting can backfire," is the caution Mantell hears from Charles Wardell, a chief executive with an executive search firm. Wardell points out that "if you put your resume on a watermelon, that won't get (positive) attention."
I disagree completely. How many times a day do you wish a watermelon would cross your desk? Who wouldn't hire someone who spelled out his or her resume in butter cream icing on a red velvet cake? Or how about a resume written in foie gras and rolled into a 10-pound turducken? (If applying for a position in Silicon Valley, remember that fois gras has been outlawed in California. Use chopped chicken liver instead.)