Just when I think perhaps I have heard everything, particularly when it comes to resume advice, someone has to go and put something out there that seems to come from left field. The flavor of the moment now seems to be: human-ness, making your resume sound more “human.”
And the pearls of wisdom that seem to go along with this concept are that you should incorporate “I” into your resume more often so that it seems less like a robot wrote it and more like a person, i.e., a human, wrote it.
On the surface, it sounds very nice. After all, we want to put a real person with this cold, hard document. And we want employers to see us on a human level. And, hey, full sentences are much more grammatically correct than the harsh sentence fragments utilized in resume documents today.
The problem is, however, once you start putting this into application, often you just end up with a jumbled mess of a document that says nothing more than “I” everywhere. And pretty soon, although you may very much be “human” on the page, you are also totally off course.
Most people fail when it comes to resume writing not because they haven’t cracked some magic code or produced the most amazing document ever written but because they have lost touch with their audience. They’ve made the document all about themselves and who they are. In other words, they have “I’d” it to death (sometimes even without using the word “I”, but just because it is implied with every statement).
Of course, the resume summarizes your work experience and helps shape your image for employers. But all that should be done with an eye not on you but on them. What interests the audience the most? What type of candidate are they looking for?
I’m quite certain that employers are well aware that humans are at the other end of a resume document. After all, they aren’t looking for robots to employ, and if they want you, they are going to call you in to meet you face to face. Furthermore, most employers/recruiters are spending so little time with your document (30 seconds or less) that writing a narrative is pretty much lost on them anyway (the HR pros who keep touting this human voice nonsense should be well aware of that fact!).
So if you want to be special, if you want to make that human connection, through your resume, it isn’t the voice or overuse of “I” that’s going to do it for you; instead, it is recognizing what your audience’s needs are and communicating how your background fulfills those needs.
Tell them what they need to hear most.
Bottom Line: People who spend so much time worrying about human-ness are spending way too much time thinking about themselves. Don’t play that game. When it comes to employment, you will lose every time.
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