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34 Employment

Weird and wacky things actually written on résumés

Kate Lorenz, Editor

When Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of, was hiring for her entry-level job site, one particular résumé stood out from all the others. The reason? The applicant claimed to be a "Pig Wrestling Champion" and included details like weight of the pig, number of competitors and months of training.! "[The candidate] definitely set himself apart from other candidates;!not so sure it was in the way he was hoping though," Fell said. "If the gentleman had been applying for a job with a company that's involved with county or state fairs, or with a health organization currently helping to prevent the spread of Swine Flu, then his pig wrestling championship would be acceptable (and in the latter application, pretty darn funny).! Otherwise, he should chalk it off as not acceptable." From religious beliefs to sexual preference, you name it and it's probably been on someone's résumé. Job seekers just want to make a statement and stand out from their competition; unfortunately they are often memorable for all the wrong reasons. "When candidates put things on their résumés that

are completely irrelevant to the job position, you have to question their judgment," says Ty Mays, owner of Perfect Pitch Public Relations. "If you can't make smart choices or determine what's appropriate during the job search process, an employer is going to wonder what choices you would make if hired. And as a small business owner, I can't take the risk on a candidate who doesn't understand that."'s Robert Dagnall agrees. "The

problem with these résumé entries is that they fail the test of relevance. Your résumé should be built around the intersection of your greatest strengths and an employer's greatest needs. Too often, job seekers fail to take into account the needs of their audience -- and that's when the bizarre and narcissistic creep in." It's great to wow a hiring manager; there are certain ways to do it, however, without crossing the line. Patrick Scullin, founding partner and executive creative director for Ames Scullin O'Haire Inc. advertising agency, says there are certain things that are right for résumés and others that are just plain

wrong. Scullin says the following are acceptable on résumés:

Interests that show you're an interesting person - hobbies, passions, musical instruments you play, etc. show a dynamic that brings you to life. Scholastic achievements and high GPAs. Everyone wants smart people; if you've got proof you're one of them, serve it up. Interesting jobs you did as a young person. These show you're not afraid of hard work and you're adaptable.

While these are areas that may cause harm: Big gaps in employment history with no explanation. You're begging questions that will only keep suspicions high. Full disclosure, always. Missing information. Remember Watergate - it's not the crime, it's the cover-up that gets you in trouble. Pessimism. Don't be negative in your job descriptions - no matter how bad the job or your boss was. It raises flags to potential employers that you're a griper.

Spelling and grammatical errors. Whatever you do, proofread, proofread, proofread and then proofread again your résumé. A typo or bad grammar is completely unacceptable. And please, don't have exclamation points!!! Résumés are no place for forced drama. Narcissism. Have a little humility. While a résumé is a good place to present yourself in the best possible light, it does not excuse you from coming off so strong people will think you're an egomaniacal blowhard.

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