10 Things HR Won't Tell You About Your Resume

Condensed from Reader's Digest Magazine, April 2011

Use key words and not colored paper -- plus other resume tips from potential employers.

1. "Once you're unemployed more than six months, you're considered pretty much unemployable. We assume that other people have already passed you over, so we don't want anything to do with you."

Cynthia Shapiro, former human resources executive and author of 'Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn't Want You to Know'

2. "When it comes to getting a job, who you know really does matter. No matter how nice your resume is or how great your experience may be, it's all about connections."

HR director at a health-care facility

3. "If you're trying to get a job at a specific company, often the best thing to do is to avoid HR entirely. Find someone at the company you know, or go straight to the hiring manager."

Shauna Moerke, an HR administrator in Alabama who blogs at hrminion.com

4. "People assume someone's reading their cover letter. I haven't read one in 11 years."

HR director at a financial services firm

5. "We will judge you based on your e-mail address. Especially if it's something inappropriate like kinkyboots101@hotmail.com or johnnylikestodrink@gmail.com."

Rich DeMatteo, a recruiting consultant in Philadelphia

6. "If you're in your 50s or 60s, don't put the year you graduated on your resume."

HR professional at a midsize firm in North Carolina

7. "There's a myth out there that a resume has to be one page. So people send their resume in a two-point font. Nobody is going to read that."

HR director at a financial services firm

8. "I always read resumes from the bottom up. And I have no problem with a two-page resume, but three pages is pushing it."

Sharlyn Lauby, HR consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

9. "Most of us use applicant-tracking systems that scan resumes for key words. The secret to getting your resume through the system is to pull key words directly from the job description and put them on. The more matches you have, the more likely your resume will get picked and actually seen by a real person."

Chris Ferdinandi, HR professional in the Boston area

10. "Resumes don't need color to stand out. When I see a little color, I smirk. And when I see a ton of color, I cringe. And walking in and dropping off your resume is no longer seen as a good thing. It's actually a little creepy."

Rich DeMatteo

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Most of these things are true, but I can’t agree with some of them. I find them not related to professionalism. It not should be done by hr professional.
For example, I don’t understand point 3. Why should you avoid hr if you want a job from a specific company? It’s not supposed that human resources want the best employees for his company? It’s true that it can be harder to obtain a job if the hr is in the middle, but if you know that you are good I don’t find this a problem. A more suitable solution would be to obtain a reference from the manager. This can help you to obtain easier the attention of the hr. If you are good, there is nothing that could stop you to become employee of dreamed company.
On one hand, it’s true that hr people don’t read cover letters, but sometimes time doesn’t allow to do things as you want , you need to be efficient and you have to find as soon as possible someone for that specific job.
On the other hand, cover letter can’t not be so relevant because it’s hard to know how valid is the information. It can help to make an idea about that candidate, but is still not so relevant.
For hr word is very important to be impartial, but in the real word is not so easy to do that. So, the candidates should be aware about this and be responsible about how they are sending their resume. The candidates have to take care how they are presenting themselves, the resume is like you mirror. They should be aware that recruiters are receiving many resume, so their resume should have something special that can draw attention. But, that “something” has to be something relevant and serious and don’t forget to use your official email address.

June 12 2014 at 6:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ann Marie Health


May 22 2013 at 3:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ann Marie Health

FAIL TO PLAN THAN PLAN TO FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 22 2013 at 3:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The ludicrousness of the "passing over' candidates who've been unemployed 6 months or longer is ASTOUNDING! MANY educated people are vying for the same positions in the workplace. REVISE your exclusion process and take a minute or two to rethink that MAYBE there is a stellar but currently unemployed worker who has been a victim of downsizing!

May 22 2013 at 12:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kelly.mcpoland's comment

You dare use logic regarding HR?

June 21 2013 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The main thing that I got from this article is that HR people are stupid and lazy. Ms. Shapiro says "We ASSUME that...". Hey, isn't it your job to EVALUATE potential employees' talent? But instead of putting any effort into that, you just make assumptions to justify tossing out half the resumes so you can take a 2-hour lunch and half hour coffee breaks. Another HR director says "I haven't read a cover letter in 11 years." Isn't it your job to read applications and figure out who might qualify? You're just admitting that you don't bother to read what applicants have sent you. Which is probably because you wouldn't have the brains to actually figure out what an applicant's potential is.

How do I get a job in HR? I want to get paid to loaf and take coffee breaks every hour.

May 30 2012 at 3:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


August 27 2011 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is outrageous! What you've done by choosing to quote such subhumans is criminal. Criminal because you chose individuals who you pretend are representative, and they most likely are not! Or you've found one or two big-city ******** whose lives are failing and are just cynical to the max. I was stopped in my tracks when that one subhuman said that if someone is unemployed for more than 6 months, they're unemployable. That another subhuman hasn't read a cover letter in 11 years! All the conventional wisdom job searches have been operating on turns out to be wrong? Perhaps they've just been convinced that their last year or two of searching has been a terrible waste of their and their family's time. There are people who have given up because of this list....perhaps even have committed suicide because of it. I was depressed for days after I read this, then I realized that this was just sensational puke written by a lazy hack. Karma is coming for the author.

May 18 2011 at 4:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am offended as we all should be by the companies that request our age, sex, race, etc. They say it doesn't harm our chances of getting that job if we don't respond to those questions, but you we know that it does. Most likely if we chose the "prefer not to answer" button we are immediately deamed uncooperative, not a team player, or they assume we are hiding something. Discrimination is illegal, period. They legally should not be asking these questions. Demographics and ressearch is not a vialid excuse.

May 14 2011 at 5:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

In my line of work HR doesn't have a clue what I or other co-workers do or the abilities that they need to have. I don't care how good of an administrator you are, if you don't understand the job that you are filling you don't have any business making hiring or resume weed-out decisions. Without having experienced my type of work or being close to someone who does this work there is no way an HR person would know what abilities, skills and personalities are necessary even if they received a list from their employer. Most HR people hibernate in their office behind closed doors and don't even attempt to get to know the people and the industry that they work for. Many of them I find to be on power trips. I realize these comments are generalizations but they are accurate.

Many of these companies and their hiring processes are out of control. They have no respect for the human beings that are applying for their positions. They have reduced all applicants to hoop-jumping monkeys and have no regard for us as human beings what-so-ever. It has been my experience that If they treat you like garbage during the review process then they are going to treat you like garbage once they've hired you regardless of how much money you make for them.

They need to realize that they can't make money, they can't accomplish their goals without us. We are the ones that make them successful, put roofs over their heads, clothes on their backs, and food on their tables. We are a product that they cannot live without.

But we've sold ourselves out to the big boss man. We've helped to create this problem. We can help to reverse it if we would all get some self respect and stand up for ourselves. Sometimes all it take is a well placed comment to plant a seed. It deosn't necessarily take a revolt or harmful, unwanted behavior. We've sold our self respect to the big man. And currently they have us "over a barrel" because of this economy.

May 14 2011 at 4:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Item #6- For every resume, there is usually an online or some kind of application to fill out.
This is where you can't hide age, dates, etc etc. They ask you required fields of information that won't let you proceed until answered. Then comes other forms- they are going to find out one way or another

May 14 2011 at 4:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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