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Gobbledygook And Your Resume

The following post is courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap:

From: Lorraine Russo

What is gobbledygook? Webster's New Encyclopedic Dictionary defines it as “wordy and generally unintelligible jargon.”

Unfortunately, gobbledygook is found everywhere: in newspaper articles, brochures and, sad-to-say, many resumes.

If you commit the error of trying to impress the reader with your use of fancy words and jargon (rather than clearly conveying facts and ideas), your message will FAIL.

If you write sentences like the following examples and expect the reader to understand what you do (or want to do), you may be very disappointed. Consider this sentence I recently found in a marketing manager’s resume:

I oversee a team that demonstrates capacity to provide comprehensive support for executive-level staff including scheduling meetings, coordinating travel, and effectively managing all essential tasks.

So does the team demonstrate the capacity to provide support, or do they actually do the work? The sentence suggests that they might be able to do the job if given the opportunity.

Choose your words carefully. Think about what you mean to say….don’t try to make the job sound better than it really is.

Also, it would be a whole lot easier to simply say: Manage a team of xx that provides administrative support for the executive level staff. You might even add a second sentence: This includes travel arrangements and scheduling meetings. (Believe it or not, sentences can be shorter than 25 words!)

And what, exactly, are “essential tasks” – someone please clue me in! Unless you state what you’ve done, the person reading your resume isn’t going to start shouting, “Hey everyone…Listen up! I found someone who can perform our essential tasks!! Whoo hoo!!”

Here’s a sentence from another resume:

Use advanced problem solving skills to achieve desired results and meet customer and prospects expectations.

I have many issues with this sentence. First, what are “advanced problem solving skills”? Is this person a Six Sigma Black Belt? What problems were solved? What results were achieved? For that matter, what were the goals??

Bottom line, this tells me absolutely nothing about this person.

Let's now move on to pet peeves. Well, actually, my pet peeves (and there are many!). One is use of the word “utilize” and any of its annoying forms, such as:

  • Utilization
  • Utilized
  • Utilizing

And so one. Can anyone tell me why people stopped using the more simple word use?

Take a look at your resume and see where you can eliminate the gobbledygook and replace it with clear and simple ideas and facts.

For more gobbledygook, check out the top 25 gobbledygook phrases used in press releases sent in North America 2008.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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Randy Bunker

Good reminders. As a relatively "new" manager who has hired two employees and now hiring a third, it has been jarring to read such poorly written and organized resumes (for seasoned positions). That's good news to those of you who do provide meaningful, quantifiable info, because you really, REALLY stand out. I just think it's hard for people to hold back, and they feel that if they can't show they know the lingo that they won't be considered (to me it demonstrates that you are poorly organized and can't think more strategically). Show restraint and discipline, people.

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