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Is Job Search “Trick or Treating” Hurting Your Chances?

Is Job Search “Trick or Treating” Hurting Your Chances?

Phil Rosenberg | President, ReCareered

How often do candidates treat their job search like it’s Halloween?

Do you dress up your resume to appear like you are someone other than you?

Not only is it unethical, it’s impractical. It wastes the employers’ time, but even worse, it wastes your time as a candidate. Take your kids trick or treating, there’s a more effective way for you to stand out.

I can’t begin to count the number of times a candidate has asked me if they should hide their age, change their experience, or try to adopt a different personality, so they can appear to be someone other than themselves. To make it worse, many recruiters either turn a blind eye, or actually encourage this.

It wastes your time because hiring managers aren’t stupid. They read many resumes after they are pre-screened by HR staff and recruiters who read thousands of resumes. So whatever trick you’re trying to pull to mask the truth… they’ve seen it.

The easiest example is age. So many candidates blame a poorly thought out job strategy on age – complaining, “I’m too old” or “Hiring managers want someone with more experience." Guess what? It’s not your age. It’s how you’ve branded yourself, the perception you give, the skills you choose to highlight, and how you describe your skills.

It’s so easy to play the age game, pass the blame to your gray hair, and devise ways to mask your experience. I see it in over half the resumes I look at, and the easiest giveaways are missing dates. Does it take a rocket scientist to realize that if you leave your college graduation dates off your resume, you’re probably hiding your age? Duh!

But what if you get lucky, trick the reader to think you’re interview-worthy, and land the interview? If you’ve given the impression that you’re a hip 30-year-old gel-head, what impression will you make when you meet in person, with your thinning gray hair? At best, you’ll make a first impression of disappointment…at worst one of deceit. Either way, at that point, your skills and talents won’t matter, you’ve wasted your time and set yourself up for disappointment.

Why play that game when there’s a better way?

Instead of trying to play “trick or treat” with your resume, why not look for jobs that want someone like you? There are plenty of companies that want gray hair and plenty of other companies that want younger talent. There are companies that want someone who’s extroverted and others that want a quieter, serious employee. Instead of dressing yourself up for Halloween, look for companies that value someone like you!


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