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meganfiala

Resume Integrity

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Hi! I would like to know how other people on this forum deal with my following problem. I was reviewing my resume with a friend, and after looking over it, they immediately told me that I didn't focus enough on my 'teamwork skills', 'customer service skills', and every other skill involving dealing with other individuals. I insisted that these were not 'skills' that I think are necessary to focus on, and that since my resume is a representation of me, I don't think that these skills fit the bill. Not that I cannot deal with other human beings in a working environment, but that I don't like the idea of these skills being focused on, rather than my physical and intellectual skills that would contribute to the position I would be applying for. My friend, who I consider an Objectivist, agreed with me, but said that I must adapt to the changing demands of employers, and to what human resources are looking for in, well, human resources. That left me confused. Do I succomb to what the employers are asking, or do I keep my resume the way I like it, focusing on the skills that I value most in myself. Keeping note of course, that my resume can only be so long, and the need to economize and focus on select things is very important. Am I missing something??? I am stubborn....

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meganfiala,

Have you had any input from anyone other than your friend? Have you submitted your current resume to companies, but were rejected? Otherwise, it's hard to say if your friend's well-meaning advice was based on their merely subjective opinions or have a basis in facts which you will have to deal with.

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...didn't focus enough on my 'teamwork skills', 'customer service skills', and every other skill involving dealing with other individuals. I insisted that these were not 'skills' that I think are necessary to focus on

....

Not that I cannot deal with other human beings in a working environment, but that I don't like the idea of these skills being focused on, rather than my physical and intellectual skills...

I'm generally sympathetic to your objection, but consider what the employer wants. Why should they care what you consider important? What's lacking is information on what kind of job you're looking for. If you're looking for a position to do team programming (e.g. write the next version of Windows... not exactly a one-person job), then I'd say that those questions were quite relevant. On the other hand, for a position in copier repair, teamwork is less relevant.

I suggest that you never misrepresent what you can or want to do, especially do not represent yourself as a people person if you aren't. If you find the concept of "teamwork skills" vomitous, then do not try to invent a personality trait that you don't have. If you do, it is a law of physics that they will actually hire you and make you act against your nature. Don't mess with nature.

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Megan,

A resume is like an advertisement. You must highlight aspects of yourself (abilities and experience) that are relevant to the employer. The best resume is also tailored for each prospective employer. This does not mean you lie. It means you highlight what is relevant for that employer.

For example, suppose you know French & Spanish. Suppose that knowledge of French is important to a particular employer who has business dealings in Montreal. Your resume must show convincingly that you are good at French. You might mention Spanish in passing, too. On the other hand, if a second employer deals with Mexico and requires people who know Spanish, you would spend more time demonstrating your grasp of Spanish.

This is not subjective, you are recognizing the reality that a employer is looking for something specific and you explain why you are qualified. The things that the employer is not looking for are not important in the context of the resume.

Next, let me address your specific example of "teamwork skills". First, almost everyone making a resume includes some boiler-plate-like text about how they work so hard, or are good team players, or are leaders, and so on. In general, such thing are usually ignored by recruiters.

However, consider a different aspect: is the ability to work in a team important? have you had experiences with people who have held their teams back? is there a sense in which team-work is a requirement for the job? if so, in what sense? and, how can you demonstrate that you meet the bill?

As for Human Relations departments, they usually do not care about "soft and fuzzy" things like whether the resume says you are a team-player. The HR person usually knows less about the job than the hiring manager. They tend to focus on the written requirement that they get from the hiring manager. In practice, HR people tend to be "keyword driven". Taking the example above, they will search for the word "French" or "Spanish" respectively.

The most important part of getting a job happens before you have written your resume: you have to understand what the employer is looking for. (This is easier said than done, but you need to do it to the best of your ability. Read up about the company. Try to hunt down any acquantance who might know more about the company and the job. You can even call HR and speak to someone, to clarify what they are looking for. The best sales person always finds out as much as he can about what the customer is looking for, before he can make his pitch.) Also, if your research shows you are not a fit, then you can move on.

Next you tailor your sales-message to the people who will filter it. HR will look at the resume and decide whether to pass it on. So, it needs to have what HR will look for -- mainly, the right key words and formal qualifications.

Finally, it must have what the hiring manager is looking for.

At all stages, continue to learn more about the job. Also, always assume that the people doing the hiring are acting rationally; but, do not dismiss things like "team work" without thinking them through first.

I wish you well.

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Thank you to those who replied.

I am studying fashion design, and therefore, will probably be looking for a position either in retail, or more probably, within a textile manufacturing company, or a smaller apparel designing store. It has always been my opinion that for a position in the fabrication of clothing or textiles, it is far more important to have (I want to say 'concrete skills) skills in production, say, than teamwork skills. Yet, as things go along, more and more teamwork is necessary or enforced. I suppose that my refusal to focus on my teamwork skills was possibly (probably) fueled by my irrational (not always, but often) condemnation of teamwork in the workplace. Or to put it another way, I think that because I don't enjoy working in teams, I have projected this too far. I don't want to overgeneralize, but the rising mandatory teamwork in school really gets to me sometimes.

Therefore, I think that I will definitely have to focus more on the individual positions I will be applying to, and decide whether or not teamwork is of importance to that position.

Any other advice is also welcomed!

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If your desire for the position is in the long term then you have to take into account what the employer is looking for. However, you are going to be their long term so you have to let them know at the beginning what you are looking for, if it will make you happy, and what kind of employee you are.

In my experience, though it is always mentioned, "independence" won't even get you an interview because it means to them, "he questions my word."

If it's short term then you have to be fair to the employer, letting him know that it is a test process, but that though you will give him your best (and this is important because: there is no moral rule that says you have to give your employer "your best"--because how can anyone demand the best of you ALWAYS; people take advantage, it is true) for the time you are there, but you may leave.

However, some short term employers are scoundrels. If it's just short term then you might have to leave things out of the interview process. If you despise the employer, but for some reason have to work for him/her, then you got to keep things back. But if you respect the employer, then "honesty is the best policy." Employers do admire this trait; although, many can take advantage of it.

Remain focused, if your life is on the line, FOR SURE.

Americo.

Americo.

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If your desire for the position is in the long term then you have to take into account what the employer is looking for.  However, you are going to be their long term so you have to let them know at the beginning what you are looking for, if it will make you happy, and what kind of employee you are.

Absolutely the best advice you can take. If you find a position you are interested in, tailor your resume to get your foot in the door. If you are posting your resume on something like Monster, then twill need to be more general in your descriptions. It's once the interview begins that both parties really learn whether they are compatible.

Remember, the interview is a two way prcoess. It's your chance to find out exactly what kind of employer they are and what they expect. I hate nothing more than an interviewee that doesn't ask me any questions. When someone doesn't ask questions, it tells me that chances are they are just going through the motions and aren't likely to be self directed.

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Megan,

A team ultimately should, and can, be a group of individuals working together to achieve a common end. You can maintain independence and still provide the "people skills" businesses are looking for. I used to think that "sharing my sand box" meant focusing on making everyone in the team like me and subordinating my mind to other people's ideas and whims. Turns out that I was wrong to assume that "team" was a pejorative.

While some businesses may be looking for a "team-player" in the worst sense: the altruistic one, my understanding is that what they are usually really looking for is leadership ability and communication skills. In fact, though you may not focus on them, you may find through some introspection that you actually do have the benevolence, clear communication (rationality sure helps :huh: ), and understanding of egoism (the implicit motivator - to some extent - for a great number of people, especially in business I have found) that can make you quite a value to a potential employer. It's just figuring out how to communicate these abilities without making them the focus. If they are hiring you for these qualities and you consider them unimportant, especially in particular regard to the job you want, then you may want to look elsewhere.

Hope that gives you a bit to think about. :P

-Elle

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