The Curse of Knowledge As It Applies to Resumes

I was reminded of the curse in my book club – www.theexecutivebookclub.com.  We read Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip and Dan Heath.  The concept of “the curse of knowledge” was addressed in the book, and I believe it is a useful one for resume writers.  Basically, the curse is that you know something so well – your job, your industry, your market – that you can’t imagine not knowing it.  It can really get in the way of writing a great resume.  If you’ve got the curse, your resume can be boring, uninviting, or even hard to understand.  If you use acronyms that only your industry or company knows, you’ll be sure to lose the reader.  Look at your job as an outsider would. When you write for the reader (who may be someone new to your industry or from another industry altogether), your message will be clear and easy to understand.  By thinking this way, you’ll remember success stories you’ve had along the way.  Be sure to include those successes – and not just describe what you did.

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  1. Bill Leonard's avatar
    Bill Leonard
    | Permalink
    Bingo. This is exactly why I take a direct role in resume construction (rather than serve as an editor of their homework). “So what?” “Why was that important?” I warn my clients that they might be irritated with me before we are finished, but we will have an outstanding resume. The process is one of a hard-hitting “interview.” It’s well worth the time spent.

    Bill Leonard, PeopleFirstHRSolutions
  2. Bill Leonard's avatar
    Bill Leonard
    | Permalink
    Gerriann: I liked your comments on “the curse” so well I adapted them for use this morning in our client round table. Everything you wrote about the resume applies to the “Position Summary” as well…the flexible,dynamic, non-rote response to “tell me about yourself” with varying versions for networking contacts all the way to the formal interview.

    I teach the Position Summary in “kernel” fashion, stressing never saying things the same way twice: different diction, intonation, order – and always speaking in pictures. But my reason for commenting here is that proper construction of the Position Summary is based on your resume idea…we are too close to the subject and that familiarity breeds boredom.

    Bill Leonard
    PeopleFirst HR Solutions
    La Crosse, Wi

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