Significant results proven independent team building implementer

The Source
Any resume. Today’s selection is real, but anonymous. It represents the current resume genre, and is so precise that it may have been lifted directly from a resume how-to guide.

The Setup
Almost every day, a resume comes across the fax machine from the greatest executive I have never met. Astonishingly, even among the sales executives who ply the fax, no one ever calls to follow up.  

Hammer Words
Results proven Marketing Executive with significant consumer and business-to-business experience in strategic planning, product marketing and P&L management. Consistent track record of profitable sales and market share increases. Ability to balance: 
         

          Big picture planning with detailed implementation
          ● Independent thinking with consensus building
          ● Self motivation with team development

Crushing Force
Are certain words tickets into GE, GM and other generally corporate enterprises? I mentally tap one of those hotel front-desk bellhop bells every time I read “results proven” <ding!> “significant” <ding!> “consumer and business-to-business” <ding! – ding!> (why leave out government?) and “strategic” <ding!> Don’t forget the obligatory “P&L”, “revenue responsibility”, “market share increase,” etc. Why do companies ever allow these people to escape?
I suppose that human resource managers (everyone is at least a manager) who read such a paragraph think to themselves, “Hmmm… he or she seems to know the code words. Perhaps we should investigate further. Keep this one.” Just once, I’d like to see someone follow up on their resume, express some knowledge of my company, propose an interesting plan and speak frankly about their prior career. Actually, that did happen once: a man came in with his own presentation about our company and told me how he would improve our marketing. I hired him on the spot.

The modern resume rides forth before the knight-executive – a hard-charging, well-balanced, courteous and unstoppable hero who excels at organizing and inspiring teamwork among the legions of foot soldiers who will gather vast spoils if you but extend a job offer. Heck, why doesn’t everyone start a company and hire three or four of these people? We’d all be rich.

This particular actual resume excerpt perfectly balances what the reader might desire in a candidate. Do you seek someone who is detail-oriented or do you prefer a big thinker? This person has “Big picture planning with detailed implementation.” Do you want an independent leader? Look no further: you’ve got someone right here who is both “self-motivated” and a team player. “Team development”, I guess, means that the new leader will inspire those who are not sufficiently self-motivated to become part of an exciting team that lifts all boats.

Reading these resumes makes me realize that I am unemployable. I would write something like, “Thinks about the future and tries to make stuff that people will buy. Career, such as it is, moves in fits and starts; sometimes right, often wrong. Sometimes decides that doing the right thing is not supported by consensus.” Geez, I’m in trouble.

On the other hand, the postscript that I imagine on these resumes is, “Not motivated enough to pick up the phone. Good with code words, excellent follower.” Anyway, after 25 years of hiring people, it seems to me that you never really know anyone until you hire or marry them. Most executives consider themselves to be excellent judges of character, and every one has made an over-the-top, completely wacko hiring error. (Think Ovitz at Disney.) I’ve given up believing that I can divine the true nature of a person in an interview. Instead, I hope to discover someone’s character in the first 30 days by observing how he or she reacts to truth (deal or deny) and to difficult situations.

If only words were deeds, no one would need a resume.

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Published in: on September 29, 2006 at 3:39 am  Leave a Comment  

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