Marc Denholm recently came across a remarkable résumé.
The job candidate in question listed the following weaknesses at the bottom: “My looks can be a distraction in the workplace to members of the opposite sex (and in some cases the same sex). I have been told I am an overly generous lover. The filter between my brain and my mouth does not always operate as it should.”
“It was right at the bottom of the résumé, the very last section of it, and my initial reaction was one of laughter,” Denholm told Business Insider. “I believe this was exactly the reaction the candidate was looking for, to be honest with you.”
Denholm, the founder and principal consultant at IT and engineering recruitment firm Talent Hive in New Zealand, has been recruiting for 12 years. He’s seen some pretty funny things in job applications before, but this one stood out for him. He posted it to LinkedIn, where it quickly racked up thousands of likes and comments.
Despite the unconventional nature of the résumé, things ended up working out for the anonymous applicant. Denholm says the candidate had good work experience and was a great fit for the role.
“I met with the candidate for an interview, which went well,” he says. “They were professional and well-aligned to my vacancy.”
While things ended up working out well for this anonymous job applicant, Denholm notes that he’d recommend most people forego the humour and instead focus exclusively on what they have done and how it added value to their employers. This means cutting out subjective sections like personal statements, objectives, strengths, and weaknesses. After all, a weakness in one role might be regarded as a strength elsewhere.
“In my experience, they will usually serve to trip a candidate’s application up rather than enhance it,” Denholm says.
So keep the résumé focused on the hard facts.
“In an interview, you have a better opportunity to assess the character of the hiring manager, build a rapport with them and gauge whether it’s appropriate to inject some humour,” Denholm says. “In summary, keep the resume professional, save the comedy for later!”
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