What Do #2 Diapers Have To Do With Résumé Writing? Everything.

My wife, Christina, and I have been blessed with three healthy boys and right now we are in the process of trying (and struggling) to potty train our youngest.  Until he decides the ‘potty’ is a fun place to go one of my responsibilities as a dad is to change #2 diapers.

It’s not fun, it’s not glamorous, but it is a responsibility of being a dad One thing I can guarantee you is that when I get asked about what I think about fatherhood that is not one of my go to statements that defines what it means to me.

So let’s talk about résumés now.

In the vast majority of the ones I see (a good 90%),the writer talks about responsibility after responsibility (i.e. “I change #2 diapers”) instead of achievement after achievement (i.e. “I was father of the year three times”).

What that tells me is that the writer was (allegedly) good at doing what his/her manager said to do and little else.

In my opinion one of the most effective questions you can ask about EVERY (and I do mean EVERY) line on your résumé, LinkedIn profile, personal website, etc is, can five other people do this same exact thing?

If your answer is yes to a majority of what you have written you are in serious trouble and probably want to go back to the drawing board.

It’s important to remember that résumés are a nothing more than junk mail until the reader finds something attention grabbing (hopefully in a good way) and/or worthwhile to hold their attention and responsibilities just don’t cut it.

Here’s hoping that you don’t have much #2 in your résumé so you can be the #1 candidate for someone very soon!

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!


6 responses to “What Do #2 Diapers Have To Do With Résumé Writing? Everything.

  1. Very well written! I like your point of view … so many resumes are just a bunch of #2. And they want to argue if you say so!

    Best wishes with the potty training, from the mother of 5 home grown and two store bought.

  2. Vivian Rishton

    Love this analogy — the kind of story that sticks with you. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Considering that scanners looking for keywords have replaced an actual person reading a resume and scanners are only looking for keywords and checking a proverbial box the odds of even a well written and organized resume getting be seen or appreciated are almost as slim as a snow ball’s chance in hell. I understand both ends of the dilemma but I feel in today’s economy with the current technology it’s almost as if you have to write a new resume for each job listing instead of a resume per a job type. The odds of getting your resume sen are still just as remote as before even after doing this. Looking at the limitations of websites whether its formatting or not showing someone properly in their best interest makes things even worse. There are jobs that don’t even exist that are posted and a myriad of other broken things in the typical recruitment process. In all honesty I think the system has failed.

  4. This is definitely true. I have one line for job title and one for all the responsibilities (duties) and that’s it. If it doesn’t fit into a sentence it isn’t important enough OR I figure out a way to include it in an achievement and keep those to a minimum. The trick is to give the reader just enough info to be enticing and make them want to interview you to know more.

  5. There are actually now clever “word cloud” applications that can help you link the words in your resume to the words the “scanner” is lookiing for. But more importantly, if you do make the cut to a real person, you need to give the specific, concrete facts. OK, you did that–but for how many, how long, at what potential savings or great impact to the organization? If you can’t make a concise, concrete statement that “show” you have the expertise, no one is going to believe you anyway!

  6. Resumes today demand the inclusion of “what happened” — results, the outcome. Hiring managers and business leaders want to know the outcomes of your involvements. Matt has it exactly right.
    Mike Komives
    Career & Job Search Advisor and Strategist
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikekomives

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