Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Preaching to the Choir: Resume Help

Awhile ago, it occurred to me that I have been preaching to the choir. Still, sometimes I can’t help myself, and I find myself compulsively delivering the message to the wrong audience yet again. What am I talking about?

I am an HR professional who reviews a thousand or more resumes every year. We are a nonprofit social services agency, and more often than not, resumes could use significant help. I am not talking about a few creatively spelled words; I am talking about probable deal-breakers like these examples from this week’s in-box:

1. All contact numbers out of service or message cue full.
2. Employment history reading “2005-present” even though the last job ended in 11/08.
4. No phone number at all.
5. Omission of the only job relevant to my advertisement.
6. Complete lack of spaces between words and punctuation,like this,and/or this,which is a bit disconcerting to say the least.

Since discovering Twitter, I have often posted resume tips under the hashtag #jobsearch. Eventually it occurred to me that my efforts were misplaced; if someone is sophisticated enough to use social media at the Twitter level, they are more than capable of doing a quick Google search for resume help.

Despite this realization, I still occasionally succumb to temptation and I tweet my #jobsearch tips, even though I know I am preaching to the choir. Frankly, I don’t know how to reach the people who most need the help but I can’t stand to sit on my hands, doing nothing. Call me an HR geek, but a resume at its sublime best is a beautiful art form, a portfolio gracefully showcasing the culmination of one’s talents, accomplishments and contributions. It galls me to receive these mangled pages, like the one from the woman who spelled her name Tamara on page one and Tamera elsewhere in the document, or the six-page resumes that are a hodge-podge of cut-and-paste from years of mismatched job descriptions.

Today I am reaching out to you, my reader, in hopes that you have ideas for me. I feel driven to assist job seekers most in need of basic assistance with resume creation, and I don’t know how to reach them. What can I do? Do I contact the high schools, the County Workforce Development office, organizations that help immigrants, and/or something else?

Give me your ideas. Thanks.

image by Strabanephotos

1 comment:

Krista Ogburn Francis said...

Follow-up: I've e-mailed two nonprofits that assist African immigrants to find jobs. I offered to help review resumes and advise.

No response.

I called my local workforce development board with the same offer. I was put through to someone's voice mail with the promise that she would call me back as soon as she got out of her meeting.

Two days later, no response.

I'll try stopping by the latter next week to offer my services.