I have been lurking (albeit with a few interjections of wisdom) in several tweet chats in the past few weeks. All dedicated to “how tos” How to find a job, how to write a resume, how to interview. From the vantage point of having listened to HR and hiring managers give me feedback after candidate interviews for over three decades my opinion of tweet chat how tos can be best described by the thought I had in the middle of one of them last week. Damn! This is like Playin the Dozens with a bunch of sunday school teachers..
PLAYIN’ THE DOZENS
The Dozens is a game of verbal sparring and taunts most often engaged in by African American males between the ages of 14 and 40 and one Sandra McCartt and her friends, some black, some white and some we never have known what color or gender they are. The purpose of the game is “woofin” or “snappin” or “signifyin” in order to one up, outwit, or out last your opponent to gain respect and make everybody laugh..a lot..at somebody else. Leaving the other party without a comeback wins. Or if not the winner nobody forgets a “world class snap” It’s not a game for the thin skinned, politically correct or those without a lot of emotional control and mental agility and street smarts.
TWEET CHAT JOB AND RESUME HOWTOS
The tweet chat .. a wonderful gathering of who knows how many people all trying to type, read and think at the same time and attach a hash tag while 20 other people (at least) are tweeting hi to each other, splainin why they are late, what’s for dinner or promoting their web site , while some seriously dedicated moderator asks a numbered question.
Q1. Should you leave dates off your resume? This elicits 30 retweets, more hellos and five 140 stroke goofy philosophical tweet answers interspersed with 20 or so “Glad to see you heres” and the stats from last week’s chat that it reached 4 billion 234 million 900 thousand tweeps, most of whom had no freaking idea what it was all about or how they got it.
Manchild that is big time global influence. As a side bar comment…The closest I can get to defining a retweet is that it is the same thing as a big burp (or worse) that echos into oblivion. The offensiveness of it declines exponentially with distance. Up close it’s like a stuttering, echoing burp.
Alrighty then, it’s time for a snap. (Do you remember Q1? Only if you can scroll up and down fast) . Refresher: Q1. Should you leave dates off your resume? Here comes the snap or S. S1. Only if your sister is so dumb that she thinks unemployment is luxury livin large.
Now guess what happens after the snap. Oh save me Jesus, I am about to be eaten by the Prunella purehearts of the twitterverse, scolded by the moderator, retweeted fifty times by those who like the dozens but are too nice to play and maybe one playa who comes back with. Reply to S1. Your mother was so confused she put three different dates on your birth certificate so dates on your resume don’t matter.
The problem with all this. peeps is that there is more confusing information being flopped around in tweet chats by new grads who have no clue, self styled career counselors and miserable job seekers who have been given so many don’ts that for them it is like playin the dozens with nothing but a sack full of confusing "Don'ts and not enough emotional strength and agility left to have the “snap” to play. And they retweet it until somehow it becomes fact or at least believable.
GOOD RESUMES DO NOT COME FROM ADVICE OVERLOAD THEY COME FROM YOU WITH SOME HELP.
Trust me on this one there are a lot of bad resume writers and there are a lot of excellent resume writers. The person in the career office at your school is not an excellent resume writer, neither is your mass comm or journalism prof, nor is your wife because she saw something on TV. The reason schools do such a lousy job advising on resumes is because they all talk to each other and decide what the format of the year is going to be.
I credit the schools for that horror of horrors “The functional Resume”. In short, functional resumes suck, don’t use them, real hiring managers, smart recruiters and HR won’t mess with them.
HR people are some of the worst resume writers because they are focused on what their people like. Who then? You are your best resume writer. Then you need an editor. Excellent resume writers are also the best editors.
Write your own resume. Write down everything you have ever done use the dates, everything you can think of that you felt good about. Don’t leave off jobs unless they lasted less than 90 days. Put your educational dates and write down the college jobs you had. If you have been home with kids put the dates and say that. If you have been taking care of elderly family put the dates and say that. Now go find an editor to cut, format, summarize, wordsmith, spellcheck, and proof read plus make suggestions and do a professional rewrite. Take the final product and go find a reviewer.
RECRUITERS AND HR PROS CAN PLAY THE DOZENS - THEY ARE THE REVIEWERS
Recruiters and HR Pros are the best resume reviewers. Why? Because we play the dozens with each other and the hiring managers. It goes something like this:
HR: This resume is so overloaded with goop he could have added Ragu and made it a meal for 12. Was his momma the chef who helped him write it?
Recruiter: Probably so but some of that Ragu got him a fellowship at Harvard so we better leave it on there. You and I may not be able to spell a lot of those words much less understand what they mean but I think if we want the R & D Dept to like him we better ask his momma to send breadsticks and salad with it and call it a full meal deal.
Hiring Manager: What did this guy do from 95’ to 98’? There is nothing on the resume for that time period. Was he in the pen?
Recruiter: No but his boss was. The company went out of business because his boss falsified the 10K and the SEC nailed him. The company went out of business so he left it off his resume.
Hiring Manager: What did he do there? Was he involved, is that why he left it off?
Recruiter: No, some well meaning soul in a tweet chat told him if the company had gone out of business to just leave it off the resume. I asked him to put it back he refused, said he was relying on his network of tweeps. What should I tell him your take is on leaving off jobs.
Hiring Manager: What the hell is a tweet chat and what is a network of tweeps? Tell him when I see a resume with gaps or find out that jobs have been left off I wonder if people are so crazy that if their knee didn’t work they would cut off their leg.
Do they think we are blind or stupid and can’t figure out that they if they left the dates of education off the resume there are probably jobs missing too. Do they not understand that we are not as concerned about age as we are about people who think they can trick us to get an interview then think we like being tricked so much we will ignore the trick and hire them.
If they cut off both legs so they could tell us they were 5 feet tall then came through the door walking on their knees do they think we would not notice that they were really 6 feet with full body parts. If we want to hire somebody 5 feet tall it won’t help to cut off their legs anymore than it will make them a serious candidate if we only want 5 years experience and they lop 15 years off the resume. Sometimes we like to keep our teams at the same experience level for lots of reasons, other times we want some senior experience on a team so we want to see where a candidate really is not what he pretends to be. I don’t want to buy any “Wolf Tickets” and I don’t want any tweeps in my office.
Recruiter: Oh by the way. That job he left off, he was the whistle blower. His momma didn’t raise no fool. He’s not woofin, he’s a straight shooter who risked unemployment to tell the truth and saved the stockholders from losing their investments.
Hiring Manager: I like that, get me a full resume and send him in Thursday .
The dozens is a contest of personal power -- of wit, self-control, verbal ability, mental agility and mental toughness. Defeat can be humiliating; but a skilled contender, win or lose, may gain respect. If we have a good resume to start the game.
Unless you want your momma to get her picture featured on a food stamp get a good resume done and take care of her and quit hangin out in tweet chats hoping for the gospel by retweet.