Tech recruiters failing their clients

I get a fair number of resumes emailed to me.  From friends and professional peers, from recruiters, from random people that find me online.  Today brought a resume that had far too many issues, and it came from a recruiter.  It smelled of recruiter.  It smelled bad.

The resume came to me with no name attached.  I don’t know the location.  I know they want to work remote and they are a he because the email tells me he’s ready to start right away.

So I will start by saying this person is probably a decent resource.  But, if I’m picking apart the resume (which I am because I’m blogging about it), I’d be curious why someone with such extensive experience is going through a recruiter to get his next project.

First problem, they claim 15 years of .NET experience.  15 YEARS!  Problem.  .NET was released in 2002.  Math.

Then there’s the 20 years of SQL experience, but only 18 years as an end user.  So, dude was working on a database, but didn’t know how to use software?

Certifications come next.  I have a love/hate relationship with certifications.  The resume shows certifications in CRM 4.0 and 2011.  Problem here, most recent certs are 5 years old.  That’s like 10 technology generations old.  Don’t brag about that!

There are more, older certifications.  If your most recent certifications are that old, then either remove from your resume or get newer ones to add to the list.  If you know me enough to send me a resume, then you know we only work on new stuff.  Version now and version next.  I’m not impressed that you are certified in SQL 2008 R2.

This final critique takes the prize.  Going to copy and paste here from the resume.

“This is a terrifically well-rounded candidate with a wealth of CRM experience, including 10+ years of Dynamics CRM experience (he was given a free copy of version 3 to test by Microsoft). “

Maybe the resume was intended for someone that doesn’t read them?

I cannot stress enough how important it is to stand up to these folks.  They mean well.  They represent YOU.  They sell YOU.  But, they often don’t know enough to make you look good on paper and paper is all I have when I’m emailed a resume.  Don’t let a recruiter make you sound ridiculous.  Please.  There’s loads of work to be had.  But this will likely cost you some good opportunities. 

(I am happy to review just about anyone’s resume and offer feedback, so if you are out in the CRM jungle and looking for work, drop me an email.  Even if we’re not hiring, I’m happy to help so that you don’t suffer the same fate.  And if by some chance this is YOU that the recruiter is selling, email me.  I’ll get you your money back.)

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Hi Julie,

Although I typically love a good tirade on crummy resume review, this post didn't quite hit the mark for me. I'm not sure if you're just fed up with garbage resumes or you're nitpicking because you wasted time on phone screens that went the wrong way, but at any rate I thought I'd try and help.

Maybe this post should have been titled "Landing your next job - Resume tips and tricks and how to work with recruiters". A more succinct list of helpful hints might go like this:

1. Current skills - It's awesome that you passed your SQL 2008 R2 exam back in 2009, but make sure your resume contains both a mix of experience and newer technologies. Employers want to see that you've kept up with the times.

2. Relevant skills - are you a well rounded technologist who qualifies for a number of different positions in the market? Consider writing a few different versions of your resume specifically targeted with a technology profile for your dream job. If you want to be a top notch Bootstrap/Angular/modern web developer, there's no sense in telling the story about your extensive experience writing WPF applications.

3. Recruiter pitch - Work hand in hand with your recruiter to fine tune your pitch. Don't just assume the recruiter will provide a great cover or story on your behalf. In addition, consider practicing that pitch with some colleagues or professionals in the industry.

4. Details matter - take all of the time you need to assume someone will actually read your email and make sure there are no grammar, punctuation or spelling errors. Your resume should tell a story about you without any blemishes, and the smallest mistake can land you in the "no" pile too quickly.

5. Don't be afraid to stand out - Frequently recruiters ask you to send your resume without contact information, header, or footer, or maybe in "their format" so they can commoditize you. Don't do it, insist that they represent you the way you intended, with your resume design in tact.

I'm sure we could spend more time dreaming up a ton of items for this list (comment below, please)!

Lastly, for what it's worth, it's very possible to have 15 years' .Net experience. I remember working with the beta of 1.0 in early 2001 well before the 2002 launch. I know I wasn't alone :)


Totally agree with your points. I give actionable feedback on resumes all the time. This was my snaky reply to one more bad resume from a well-intentioned recruiter.

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