Resume Do's and Don'ts from Dave Ramsey's Human Resources Team

Many people are out there looking for the work they love. These days, many more people are out there looking for any job they can get. So how can you stand out among other applicants or, as a business leader, find the best person for the job?

We decided to go to a man who knows all about what companies look for to get the answer. It’s our own Rick Perry, Human Resources Director for Dave Ramsey.

Rick, what are the most important things to remember when sending in your resume or applying for a job?

Rick Perry: The purpose of a resume is to get the HR person to flag it as interesting, rather than delete it. I look at 100 resumes a day. Write yours in a way that stands out. Don’t fake it and don’t write long paragraphs. Write short, concise statements that genuinely show who you are as a person and what your strengths and passions are.

Don’t do “I, I, I” on your resume. You’re trying to make it all about you, rather than what you can do for the company. Don’t apply for “any” or “every” position the company has open; that shows that you’re desperate.

What’s the biggest complaint you have about resumes that come in?

RP: Resumes that are cut and pasted together and have no human aspect to them. HR people want people, not just warm bodies to fill a seat. Write your resume for the position you are applying for and if you’re applying online, follow the instructions for applying. Make sure the resume is proofread, so there are no misspellings or mistakes. The rule I use is to write it once for a C, write it twice for a B, and three times for an A. Have someone else look it over before you send it in. Resumes must be perfect just to survive.

How bad is it when you get resumes where people blow up their accomplishments?

RP: Resume integrity is important. Don’t try to blow smoke. I’ve had people who claim they are bilingual, so when I’m giving them a tour of the office, I’ll stop by the desks of Bengy and Jorge (who both speak Spanish). They’ll strike up a Spanish conversation with the applicant, and all of a sudden he or she can’t carry on the discussion. They’ll say they can’t understand Bengy or Jorge’s “obscure” dialect, when they are speaking very generically.

Another no-no is name dropping of a company employee when you don’t know the person. I don’t mind using personal relationships, as long as the relationship exists. If you say you know a team member personally, how will it look if you are introduced to that person and they can’t remember you? That is very, very awkward.

Finally, don’t do something over the top when applying. I had someone mail a rock to us, and taped on it was a note that says ‘I’m a rock solid candidate’. Someone else sent us a cardboard container of Kool-Aid with Dave’s picture taped to it, proudly declaring ‘I drank the Kool-Aid!’ That’s too much.