Tuesday, September 13, 2011

“As a Clown at a Nursing Home, I Gave Old People Pleasure”

By Sheilah Zimpel

Okay, so the title is plucked straight from a resume I was editing. I cut the line—not a hard choice. Please, please, please, people, no prospective employer ever, ever needs to know that about you. First, how does clowning around fit into a new job, where you might have to go makeup-less, without funny shoes and red nose, sans little car and big horn? Hopefully the job you’re looking for has none of those, unless, of course, you are looking for employment as a CLOWN. If so, then keep the sentence. Secondly, though, the giving old people pleasure part lacks finesse and smacks of something else. Rephrase.

Here’s another strange claim to put on a resume found in an engineer’s itty bitty type at the end of 6 pages under “other skills”: Apparently, the guy can “magic eye.” Seriously? Does he mean what I think he means? Is there another kind of magic eye? I so would grant this guy an interview and have a Magic Eye poster behind my desk to see what he’d do. Would he automagically spout out: Aha! I see it! It’s a dolphin! If so, out he’d go. Also, dude, cut about 3-4 pages of that resume. It’s not a brain dump, not an autobiography, and I don’t give a hoot if you were an Eagle Scout 40 YEARS AGO. You are plain exhausting me with your 500 words on a page. I can tell you’d talk a lot, not to mention stare things down.

So for kicks I write resumes, sometimes for pay but usually for free. Last week, the owner at my favorite coffeehouse said he got a face-to-face interview with his dream company, and the employer said his resume was stoked. Loved it. He thanked me—I’d done both his and his wife’s resumes. Sometimes they throw a free coffee my way. It does the heart good to hear of success from some words you placed on a page, WITHOUT LYING and without mention of CLOWNING.
Don't send in the clowns, rather send me your too-dumb-to-get-a-job phrases from resumes past. We’ll rewrite them together. I think you need about 50 people pulling for you to get a job nowadays, so let’s help each other out.

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