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When It Comes To Your Resume, Are You A Flasher, A Streaker, Or An All-Out Nudist?

July 27, 2009
by Gwen Darling
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I review resumes from Healthcare IT candidates on a daily basis, and like the job seekers they represent, they come in all shapes and sizes. However, although a few of the job seekers are fresh out of the gate with not much more to tout than soft skills like “great sense of humor,” or “consummate team player,” or a recent memorable favorite, “can spread sunshine on a cloudy day,” for the most part the resumes I receive are from experienced Healthcare IT professionals who have been around the block a few times. The specific backgrounds and qualifications of this group of candidates may vary a great deal, but I’ve discovered that virtually all of the resumes fall into one of these three disclosure approaches:

1. The Flasher: This candidate’s resume is a one-page bullet point-ridden, no-nonsense, “I’ll fill in the blanks during my interview” kind of approach. This is a macro resume, where you’ll typically see sweeping generalizations with no supporting details like, “Ensured IT/IS Alignment with Hospital Goals,” or “Implemented Disaster Recovery Strategy,” or “Developed and Implemented 5-Year IT Strategic Plan.” Unless you are an industry celebrity whose specific accomplishments are well-documented, or are lucky enough to find a recruiter or hiring manager who moonlights as a psychic, this approach is risky. Much like a Flasher, you are giving prospective employers a brief glimpse at your goods, without sharing any details, leaving too much to the imagination.

2. The All-Out Nudist: This candidate’s resume is the Flasher’s polar opposite, choosing instead to cover in agonizingly descriptive fashion, every accomplishment, milestone, and event that occurred since, well . . . birth. By the end of this micro “War and Peace” approach to a resume, the prospective employer (if we can still call them that) will know that the candidate was an Eagle Scout, had a paper route, won the tenth grade Science Fair, sung in a barbershop quartet in college, and was a Quiz Bowl standout in his state’s quarter final round. And that’s just during the “Early Years.” (I have actually seen a resume that segmented the chronology by the “Early,” “Formative,” and “Recent” Years). This approach is risky as well, for just like an All-Out Nudist, you are letting it all hang out -- leaving absolutely nothing left to the imagination, and assuming that what you find interesting or noteworthy or even provocative about yourself will be appealing to those who are meeting you for the first time. Or the second. Or the 173rd.

3. The Streaker: This candidate’s resume strikes a desirable balance between the Flasher and the All-Out Nudist, providing just enough relevant information, and backing it up with adequate specifics to get to the next round. This resume offers the Flasher’s overview bullets, but backs them up with the Key Results that ensued. This savvy candidate understands that although the Eagle Scout designation is impressive, its mention could be much more useful in an interview situation (say when a framed photo of the potential employer’s son in his Webelos’ garb is spied). Choosing the Streaker approach cuts to the chase between you and the potential employer. By efficiently but thoroughly showing what you’ve got to offer during your resume’s limited run across the recruiter’s desk, it will quickly become apparent if you’ve got what they are looking for to be invited to the next round, or if your credentials and experience are not a good fit.

Writing an effective resume definitely falls into the “easier said than done” category. As a senior level executive, it’s a very difficult task to pare down years of success and experience into a manageable “Streaker” format that will contain just the right amount and type of content to persuade a total stranger that you are worth a second look. For this reason, I highly recommend hiring a professional resume writer to give your resume an objective once-over. At first glance, the investment may seem difficult to justify, particularly if you are in transition, but a great resume can often be the difference between keeping those clothes on your back, and all-out nudity.

 

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Comments

Gwen:

I'm not sure where to go with this post - so here it is. There is definately a balance of information needed on every resume to engage a recruiter or a hiring manager to take action. Not too much - not too little - but enough to get the reader to move to the next step in the process. I encourage candidates to include success metrics in the resume that demonstrate job performance and highlight key accomplishments. Very engaging post and title!

Gwen,
Great topic and interesting allusion.
I've found value in the podcasts done by Mike and Mark at Manager-Tools (manager-tools.com). Their philosophy is very much concordant with your advice including your bolded Streaker behaviors and the professional resume writer guidance.

Interested readers can find their high level resume thoughts here:
www.manager-tools.com/2005/10/your-resume-stinks

Thanks for the interesting topic and for sharing your guidance on this important carer topic.

Gwen Darling

CEO, HealthcareITCentral.com

Gwen Darling

@HealthcareITJob

www.HealthcareITCentral.com

Gwen Darling serves as an online HIT matchmaker, bringing together qualified Healthcare IT...