Banned From Resume!

January 13, 2011

The resume represents an ever-changing reflection of who you are and what you can offer. Naturally, you’ll add new positions at new companies, supplemented by further accolades and such. However, the way you present such information is also important. As I recruit entry-level sales people, I realize that some people get it and some do not. For example, your resume cannot be formatted the same as when you were in college. Here are the pieces that need some tweaking:

* Grade Point Average: you’re not looking for an internship or your first job anymore. You don’t need to share whether you got a 3.3 or a 3.9, because at this point you proved yourself in the “real world”. If you’re really proud of your academic success, mention the honors with which you graduated (Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude, you get the idea). The only time you can make an exception is when you’re applying to graduate school, but that’s not critical either because you will need to send your official transcript anyway!

* References Furnished Upon Request: well obviously you’ll provide references if the company asks for them! This is a given and does not need to be said. It’s almost like saying “will provide availability for an interview when asked!” Don’t worry – if you did well during the interview, the hiring team will surely ask you for references. These are the people who will shed some light on how you did in previous roles. You’re not in college anymore, so include only people with whom you worked and those who managed you. Avoid professors and mentors.

* Extracurricular Activities: this might have been acceptable for you in your younger days so you could avoid feeling foolish due to the blank space on your resume. By now though, you should have some real projects and experiences to discuss. Hobbies and interests are hardly relevant and often viewed as unnecessary “fillers” by recruiters. Some people may argue that a hiring manager may like that you share the same interests. However, this line of thinking digresses from why they need someone and why you want the job. Such a distraction could result in a wrong hire, which does not benefit anyone.

That said, you must always tailor your resume to the right audience. If you’re applying for a position at an expansion stage start-up, demonstrate on paper (and in person during the interview) how excited you are to contribute and help the company grow. Be prepared to show a high level of energy and answer questions around equity in the form of compensation, venture funding, business growth strategies, what it means to work toward an exit, and so on.

As long as you stick to the so-called template above (by leaving out those 3 evils) and conduct some research on how to sell yourself to the interviewer, you should be well equipped for success. Good luck!


Director of Recruiting

Victor Mahillon is the Director of Recruiting at <a href="">Kamcord</a>. Previously he was a Talent manager at OpenView.