I read a recent post on Lifehacker this morning about resume writing (no, I'm not looking for a job, I just read Lifehacker religiously), and readers were encouraged to post their own tips and peeves in the comments. I thought I'd share my thoughts here. (Can you smell the rant coming from there?)
First of all, when did listing your undergraduate GPA on the resume become fashionable? I have discovered, much to my chagrin, that there is a huge emphasis on grade point average in the veterinary school application process, but these people are reviewing applicants for the job of student, essentially. Further, it costs the grad school money to wash people out, so I can see how past performance on test taking is going to be a primary yardstick for a vet school applicant. But when I read a resume from someone looking for a job as a lighting designer and they point out to me that they got a 3.7384 GPA getting their friggin' undergraduate degree, it makes that person look like a brown nosing, whiny little pest, and I don't need that shit. I realize that people fresh out of school need to dig deep for stuff to put on a resume, but babe, look elsewhere.
My bigger issue is with people who list worldwide travel destinations under the "Other Skills/Interests" sections that these resumes always seem to have. Listing other skills and interests isn't inherently bad; doing so can make you seem well-rounded, provide a peek at the rest-of-you and not just the worker bee, and can provide conversation starters for the interviewer. But I'm thinking more like "cycling, photography, playing guitar, travel". Travel, not where you traveled. Travel is mind expanding, educational, humbling. You tell me you enjoy traveling, I'm gonna assume you are an open minded person who, unlike half this nation, sees that there is a world beyond the USA that should be explored. But you tell me you went to all these exotic places as a sidebar on your resume, well, I'm gonna assume you're a giant dick. Here's why:
First off, if you traveled the world and scored a 3.7384 GPA all during your undergrad career, there's a strong possibility that you are a spoiled rich brat who doesn't know what work is to begin with--not a good quality for a job applicant. But you also open yourself to the possibility of making yourself look like a fucking idiot who gained nothing from the travel experience. For example, when you list Chili (sic) as one of your globe trekking destinations, I'm assuming you learned absolutely nothing from your trip except how to find a McDonald's in a foreign land. (Hey, anyone know if they have Chili's in Chile?) By the way, the fucking idiot who wrote that he'd been to "Chili" on the real-live resume that he handed to me, in a real-live interview, for a real-live job--and who continued to prove my point here throughout the interview--did not get an offer. Fucking idiot.
Oh, and if you're gonna have an "Other Skills/Interests" section, don't let that be what makes your resume bleed to yet another page, and don't list just "Music" as an interest. "Playing guitar" I will accept, but "Music"? Come on man, show some heart. It's like putting "Food" down there. Might as well put "Air" and "Masturbating" in your skills and interests section, while you're at it. "Family" and "Friends" are two other curious entries often seen in this section; are those skills, interests, what? Or are you just trying to tell me you're not the next Son of Sam?
So. Drop the GPA bullshit and let potential vet students worry about that one, use that Skills/Interests section cautiously, and don't be a giant dick, kids. I'm reading. And judging.