Cut the Crap Out of Your Resume Please.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but anyone who has spent time recruiting fresh graduates or staffing entry level positions will agree: it is facts, not fluff, that makes the difference between a good resume and bad resume.

I’d like to let you know that a few words and phrases have been so overused they will give a negative impression to recruiters and hiring managers.

Recent graduates have particular trouble writing a readable resume. Those who have little or no work experience are the worst. With no knowledge of real life exposure they often use “fill in the blank” resume templates available on Google or Microsoft Word. This means the entire resume has no soul, no energy and no personal character displayed within.

Those who have experience are often too desperate in emphasizing their features but not their benefits.  Companies want to hire someone intelligent, creative, and independent enough to solve problems on their own. They will never hire someone simply because he or she got high marks or distinctions in Accounting 202 and Market Research 301. Putting fancy adjectives all over the resume has no direct correlation to the perception the resume presents. No one would be inexperienced enough to believe someone is amazing just because the word “excellent” is written on the resume. These words don’t make the recruiters believe what is said. Memorizing textbook content or doing university group assignments, when compared to cutting it in the real business world, is a whole different ball game. Telling others you are beautiful doesn’t make you Miss Universe even though Miss Universe is often beautiful. Any sensible person would make their own judgment based on analyzing facts instead of fluff.

I’m not saying that getting good results in school isn’t important, but hiring managers want to know how you will be able to apply your skills and knowledge into the job to ultimately benefit the company in the end.

There is a very fine line between facts and fluff. Take a look at the following examples.


1)   Excellent customer service

2)   Good knowledge of computers

3)   Reliable and punctual


1)   Received Services Excellent Award in 2011 & 2012

2)   Advanced knowledge in MYOB, MS Word, Excel, Adobe Photoshop

3)   100% attendance at work and school

In conclusion, fluff is something completely intangible and immeasurable. You can say whatever you want and use it to talk yourself up, but there is no substance behind it. In contrast, fact allows other people to create a perception of you and visualize the type of person you are with given measurable numbers or tangible information. 

Trilingual Career Coach & Recruiter with experience across Europe and Asia Pacific. She is also a speaker for workshops on resume writing, job searching tips, and interview techniques. She travels frequently but you can stay in touch with Eleanor via

Posted in Before clicking the SEND button, Resume Writing Tips Tagged with: , , ,
2 comments on “Cut the Crap Out of Your Resume Please.
  1. Erika Humby says:

    Too true Eleanor – very well put.

    Plus get creative people and really research your company you are applying to it’s amazing how many people still don’t do this, it’s 101 application basics.

    • Eleanor Ho says:

      Thanks Erika and I can’t agree with you more. That extra 10-15mins getting the basics right will easily set someone apart from the majority of average job applicants in the job market.

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