What HR Thinks About Your Resume (Readers Digest Version)

I recently came across some Readers Digest stuff on job search, and thought I’d share them here.  I’m a lifelong lover of all things Readers Digest.  These articles are okay, but take them with a grain of salt.  If you are disturbed by them, be sure to read the comments!  This is the first of three posts….

In What HR Won’t Tell You About Your Resume, they have 10 quotes from people who are supposedly “in the know.”

Advice includes:

“Once you’re unemployed more than six months, you’re considered pretty much unemployable.” (#1)

“People assume someone’s reading their cover letter. I haven’t read one in 11 years.” (#4)

We will judge you based on your e-mail address. (#5)

“Résumés don’t need color to stand out. When I see a little color, I smirk. And when I see a ton of color, I cringe.” (#10)

So what do you do with this information?

I’d say some of this is indeed best practice stuff. But you can take most of it with a grain of salt.

I’ve seen many panels with HR professionals telling resume writers what they like, what they look for, what turns them off, how they work, etc.

I’ve learned if you get 10 HR reps and ask them the same question, you’ll get 10 different answers.

How does HR work?  How do they make decisions?

It depends on so many factors… their age, the company culture, the tech in the company, the number of hires they do, what their role in HR is, etc.

Learn from HR, but don’t take anything from one HR person as job search gospel… if you really want to know what to do right or wrong as you try to get into a company, ask people at that company!


  1. Tricia Paolucci on April 7, 2011 at 7:51 am

    I agree wholeheartedly. I always advise my students and clients to take the initiative to network and set up informational interviews with people in target companies. It’s not a suggestion that they embrace, but certainly, it creates a more realistic grasp of culture and practice in that organization. Drop your reserve, and get out there and network! Use your LinkedIn contacts!

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