How to Fix Your Horrible, Stupid Résumé In 23 Easy Steps

Steve Davidson
Steve Davidson

1. Here’s a tip for formatting your résumé on Microsoft Word: right-click within the document, select “paragraph,” and then run screaming through a flaming, plate-glass window.

2. Find every time you used the word “planned” and replace it with “implemented.” Swap every “collaborated” with “managed.” Upgrade those verbs! Um, you’ve “used Microsoft Word”? No motherfucker, you invented Microsoft Word!

3. It might be a good idea to sign up to LinkedIn. So far as I can tell, when a person signs up for LinkedIn, his corporeal body disintegrates and he is reincarnated in the form of persistent, unsolicited spam e-mails. It’s not going to land you your dream job, but it sounds like a pretty peaceful alternative for those of us looking to shuffle off the ol’ mortal coil.

4. Don’t lie. Don’t plagiarize, either. I used to have a résumé comprised mostly just of random sentences from Moby Dick, and that certainly didn’t get me anywhere.

5. Many experts recommend choosing an upscale, high-quality paper made of cotton or linen. But these experts already have jobs, and live in gated cloud-cities where they can afford to use material typically reserved for clothing as their résumé paper. You’re unemployed and live in a studio apartment, so I say handwrite your résumé with a dull pencil on some construction paper and let the bastards go blind reading it.

6. Think of yourself as a brand. Today’s job market is all about packaging your skills and expertise as a product that employers can’t afford to pass up. So, what brand are you?

7. Well, you’re not Coke. Don’t be ridiculous. You’re not even Sprite…

RC Cola. You’re a dented can of RC Cola.

8. Consider including an objective statement towards the top of your résumé that explains your career goals and overarching plan in one concise statement. Note that the objective statement should be something about furthering your own skills and the success of the company, rather than, say, “Escape from the unceasing nightmare that is my life,” hastily scrawled in specks of your own blood.

9. Pick the right font. Times New Roman? Yeah, that’s a great choice, if you’re applying for the position of Stupid Nerd. Loosen up a little and show your future boss that you work hard and play hard, and drop a little Comic Sans on their heads.

10. Studies show that human resource employees typically only spend 15 seconds on each résumé. I once worked for a place that had some kind of screening program that literally turned every application into a smiley-face or a frowny-face for hiring managers to quickly peruse. It might be helpful when constructing your résumé to view yourself less as a person and more as a smiley-face: blindly optimistic, spiritually vapid, and exceedingly yellow.

11. In today’s technology-driven world, your résumé needs to be readable in a variety of formats, including on mobile devices. I have no idea what this actually entails. Maybe just make your résumé out of a series of increasingly disturbed and frustrated emoticon faces.

12. Don’t forget to list any part-time jobs/temporary work you’ve done that can illustrate your wide-ranging skillset. Examples from my résumé include:

-“Negotiated the consumption of a record nine beers and four bratwurst sausages during the first half of a Jets game (circa November 2004, specific date/game hazy)”

-“Successfully outperformed all CPU competitors to victoriously prevail in the Twisted Metal 2 Vehicular Manslaughter Tournament (7/9/1997 – 7/14/1997)”

13. Employers never like to see large, unexplained gaps in your work history. You’ll need to explain that mysterious void between 1992 and 2013, preferably without using the words “rehab,” “maximum security,” or “straight chillin’.”

14. As with any successful product, you need to convince your potential employer that they have a serious problem to which you are the only solution; this is a method most of my ex-girlfriends refer to as “emotional terrorism.” Better yet, you can even go so far as to create the problem yourself! I.e., “I’ve released a horde of Emperor Scorpions in the women’s bathroom, and I will only get them out if you hire me.”

15. Add a catchy tagline at the bottom to ensure your potential employer remembers your name – something like, “Ron Dungle: The Very Best the Unemployment Line Has To Offer!” or, “Dick Flatman: Don’t Push Me, ‘Cuz I’m Close to the Edge!”

16. Clipart! I cannot be emphatic enough in noting that when I speak with hiring managers, they all specify that they want more clipart in the résumés they receive. It’s literally all they talk about. They NEED the clipart. They’re jonesin’ for the clipart. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GIVE THEM THE CLIPART THEY SO DESPERATELY CRAVE AND DESIRE.

17. When listing your favorite bands, look for that appealing sweet spot between commercial success and artistic integrity. You know, like Hoobastank or something.

18. Feel free to get creative with your job title. Your last position was as a bathroom attendant? Sounds like “Director of Waste Management” to me!

19. Don’t be afraid to list responsibilities you’re willing to take on that aren’t specifically mentioned in the job description. After all, what hiring manager wouldn’t consider someone who’s explicitly “willing to grovel” or “beg for treats”?

20. You can never spend enough time selecting your résumé format. The most effective format depends on your skills and desired position, but popular choices include Chronological, Prioritized, Mystery Whodunit?, Scratch ‘N’ Sniff, Blaxploitation, and Choose Your Own Adventure.

21. Don’t forget to exhaustively proofread. Many proofreaders recommend a strategy where you start with your last sentence and read backwards, sentence by sentence. Unfortunately, reading your résumé backwards could potentially summon Satan himself, who will likely only jab his pitchfork at you and suggest making a profile.

22. Ever been demoted? Well, that’s a bit unsightly. Fortunately, thanks to a dash of that non-linear storytelling that worked gangbusters for Tarantino, your demotion just turned into a promotion!

23. People always want to know, “How long should my résumé be?” The answer, of course, is simple: its length should be directly proportional to your worth as a human being. One 8 ½ x 11 should be more than enough. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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