Consider more than template resume when interviewing

By DAVID MOON, Moon Capital Management, LLC
April 21, 2013

Spring is the season that brings one of the most vulnerable and least evolutionarily developed mammals out of hibernation: the job-seeking student.

Whether it’s a kid wanting a summer internship or a soon-to-be newly minted college graduate looking to start a career, consider sharing these ideas with the young people in your life.

The purpose of a resume is to get an interview, not get a job. Don’t be embarrassed if yours is half of a page long. You haven’t done anything yet. Being captain of your middle school cheer squad is irrelevant.

Don’t fill your resume up with useless descriptions of your menial work. If you were a cashier at Panera, write “Cashier at Panera.” Don’t write “Facilitated customer nutritional delivery while successfully engaging in retail monetary policy.”

You sold a bagel. We know what a Panera cashier does.

Unless you have already mapped out your career path, skip the “Objective” section. When you’re 20 years old your objective is to get a job.

Employers want to know your grades. We don’t particularly care to know that your GPA is 2.30, but 3.90 in your major. That suggests you made a C in bowling. We want to know if you know how to go to work or if you sleep all summer.

Sanitize your Facebook page. You do not want a prospective employer reading your complaints about your current job or boss. Don’t Tweet about how you hate going to work or class on Monday mornings.

Do not post pictures of yourself at the beach. Think of the person you admire most in life. Don’t put anything in public about yourself that he wouldn’t.

If you land an interview, be honest, but don’t be an idiot. After asking one college student why he wanted to be in the investment business, he told me that he wanted to make a lot of money and not work very hard.

That wasn’t as memorable as the young man who, at the end of the interview, stood up to shake my hand – then fell to the floor, face first. He quickly jumped up. “Uh, my foot fell asleep.”

Keep the blood flowing to your feet during interviews.

When the interviewer asks about a weakness, don’t tell him that you work too hard. Don’t get chummy and tell her the box of wine and rubber hose story from spring break.

None of these mistakes are fatal. When I was in college and applied for my first job that didn’t involve successfully facilitating the removal of inebriated adult and minor bar patrons from retail, dining or performance premises, I had some pretty silly things on my resume, including having been in the Guinness Book of World’s Records.

Mike and Steve interviewed me anyway. I had duct tape on the bottom of one of my shoes, which kept me from crossing my legs during the interview, and possibly prevented me from falling down afterwards.

It turned out to be one of those few, really important intersections in my life, and I almost blew it because I used a university provided resume template.

David Moon is president of Moon Capital Management, a Knoxville-based investment management firm. This article originally appeared in the News Sentinel (Knoxville, TN).

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