I recently met a woman who had started a new job with a Fortune 50 company several months ago. While she enjoyed some aspects of her new position, she was having a very difficult time adjusting to the culture of her new company due to the other employees constantly using acronyms she didn’t understand. The situation is so bad that every day she writes down a list of terms that she doesn’t grasp and asks her assistant to explain them.
This is a fairly extreme example of corporate culture gone awry, but it reminded me of something I see often in reviewing resumes. Candidates who have worked for one company or in one industry for a long time often fill their resumes with acronyms and jargon that would only make sense to another employee at their current company. People often don’t even notice that they‘re doing this, as they have been using these terms for years and forget that not everyone knows them.
A related issue is candidates capitalizing terms on their resume because they’re used to seeing them written that way by their current employer. For instance, while your current company may have you complete a Baseline Analysis of Risk report every time a critical incident occurs, your resume will read much more clearly if you simply write, “completed risk analysis of serious incidents”.
This issue also occurs in relation to job titles. Let’s say you’re a family therapist, but for some reason your business card reads “Family Centered Practitioner”. It is in your best interests to either write “Family Therapist” as your job title, or to write a clear summary of your role so that your duties are obvious.
As you write your resume, remember that jargon and acronyms not only vary by company and by industry, but sometimes by geography as well. Also, you cannot assume that someone in your own industry will be the first person screening your resume. As you describe your former accomplishments, strive to do so in a way that reads clearly to an outsider. Someone who doesn’t understand the content of your resume will never fully grasp what a qualified candidate you are. View professionally-written resume samples here and read additional resume, job search, and career advice articles.
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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