Placement agents will often ask that you make “minor” alterations to your resume for presentation to a client, “Don’t say Oracle, say SQL,” and inevitably there’s a time constraint giving you the impression that you’re not going to be submitted for a particular position if you don’t make their suggested changes instantly.
Evaluate these requests carefully, especially if you’re applying to multiple positions through multiple resources. On the one hand, the suggestions may yield a stronger resume. On the other hand, the suggestions may be the placement agent picking nits, due to their personal biases.
After four solid years of looking for permanent employment, I can’t honestly tell you if making changes under the gun will land you a job, it sure hasn’t in my case.
What I can tell you, is that making changes on the fly can introduce some of the darndest typos in your resume.
In various attempts to comply with placement services “requests” I’ve found myself editing my 900-word resume on my phone, sitting in a parking lot, in my car. “This is an immediate opening; I can’t submit your resume without these changes…“
“Planned” and “Planed” look an awful lot alike on a phone’s screen. Spellcheck isn’t going to catch the difference either. Punctuation? Ha! Worse yet, you make the edits then rush headlong into another interview, forgetting you made them.
If you’re using a cloud service your edits are propagated to all your devices and any errors, introduced may linger in your resume for quite some time. Who re-reads every single word of their resume each time they send it out? You “know” you’ve worked hard on getting it just right and you don’t recall making any changes…
So you merrily select “Upload” on whatever job placement site you’re using and move on to the next flagged position.
Wanted: detail oriented person for high paying position…
Yep, they’re going to really believe how detail oriented you are because you planed the project, cutting costs by 20%. While shaving costs, may in fact be a good thing, you probably meant you planned the project.
I recently noticed that I’d at some point, (fairly recently, I hope,) made exactly that mistake. I did it literally on the first line describing my former duties. I even think I know when I did it.
I was having to reword several descriptions because the placement guy wanted a bit more “punch”. I was distracted, sitting in a coffee shop, doing the edits on my iPad between interviews, and probably accepted the first suggested word choice. I know better!
Nonetheless, I finished the edits, and emailed the update to the placement agent. The agent, in my humble opinion should not only have caught the error, but told me about it and corrected the word prior to sending my resume to his client.
Guess what? He didn’t notice the problem at all.
Which brings me back to the original point.
Minor edits being demanded by placement agencies may land you in more trouble than simply allowing your resume to stand on its own merit.
I’ve been considering placing my resume under source code control for a while. Maybe today is the day! I’ll put my resumes under Git, just like all my other code projects. It’s easy and allows me to compare changes and even roll changes back.
Sounds like a winner.