Why Bad Resumes Are Like Holiday Fruitcakes

 In Career Tips, Job Search Strategy, Resumes and Cover Letters

Why Bad Resumes Are Like Holiday FruitcakesThe other day, I was participating in a Twitter chat when someone complained about getting not just one, but FIVE fruitcakes this holiday season. And since December is just getting cranked up, this lucky fellow could potentially end up with a whole herd of fruitcakes crowding out the gifts under his Christmas tree.

Instead of pondering big questions like, “How did this whole awful fruitcake thing get started in the first place?”, I started thinking about why we hate them so much… and oddly, how they compare so nicely to a real stinker of a resume.

So with that in mind, I give you this:

1. Bad resumes are like holiday fruitcakes because they get thrown away.  All. The. Time.  A really awful resume is something no employer wants. They can’t do anything with it, so the fruitcake and resume both get tossed and end up sitting in the garbage together, getting to know each other.

2. Bad resumes are like holiday fruitcakes because there are just too darned many ingredients that don’t fit well.  Nuts, fruits, sugar, and a whole other assortment of other items don’t necessarily fit well together, and neither do a whole bunch of random elements in a resume. You have to have the right recipe that tickles the taste buds and has a flavor.  And more importantly, entices someone to want more. Having a mash up of leftover baking ingredients from last year’s cookie baking party isn’t the answer… and neither is a wild journey into your resume.  Make sure everything fits well.

3. Bad resumes are like holiday fruitcakes because no one will tell you how awful they are, especially after you give them one.  You know the drill: a guest arrives at your holiday party and hands you a wrapped, squishy package and you already know what it is, with a sinking feeling.  But you nod, say “thank you” brightly, and then slink into the kitchen to feed it to the dog before anyone notices.  You would never tell the guest how much you hate fruitcake, but you appreciate the gesture. The same thing goes when an employer gets a bad resume; they nod, say thank you, then as soon as you are out of sight, they are feeding it to the shredder.

4. Bad resumes are like holiday fruitcakes because they are like bricks.  Solid and yes, even durable, fruitcake is a dense object. And so too, resumes that are especially sucky will land with a thud. These clunkers are unwieldy and if they don’t hit the mark, end up falling flat. So please make sure your resume  is usable and not a dead weight, so it doesn’t up as someone’s door stop.

5. Bad resumes are like holiday fruitcakes because they often seem like a last resort.  Stumped on what to bring someone for a holiday gift?  Heard about how much people hate fruitcake? Yet you still hand one off as a present? Bad resumes are like fruitcake gifts because that means they are last-minute easy grabs at the grocery store that come usually wrapped pretty. But that doesn’t cover for the unpalatable contents.  Your lack of preparation in getting a resume done should not come off like an afterthought at the 11th hour. Plan ahead, do it right, and you won’t regret it.

Think about how you might avoid some of these disasters in 2013, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll come up with the right mixture to make both your resume and a fruitcake delightful and enjoyable.

Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is a Certified Advanced Résumé Writer and the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. Clients from across the United States and Canada and from all career levels have benefited from Dawn’s highly-focused and results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Many professional groups as well as colleges and universities have appreciated the insights and expertise she shares during presentations on career management topics, and she is a frequently requested national speaker as a result.

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