Overselling Yourself, Sells Nothing!

As a career coach, I see many resumes that often have words or phrases that tend to oversell the individual in his or her resume. Well, I’m here to let you know that overselling yourself in a resume sells nothing.  If you are not sure what overselling means, please keep reading.

Overselling is a terminology used when an individual adds too much or irrelevant information to a resume in an effort to convince the hiring manager to hire them.  This is very different from “blowing your horn” about your knowledge, skills and capabilities. Blowing your own horn really encompasses giving concise information about your expertise, work experience and other knowledge areas.

Over-selling can:

  • Highlight your lack of self-confidence in your expertise.
  • Can show gross mistakes in your writing style and comprehension skills.
  • Show that you are trying to hard to impress the hiring manager.
  • Make your career goals appear unclear.
  • Make you appear unprepared during your interview.

Here is an example.

“As a motivated, organized and committed Administrative Accounting individual professional, I’m seeking to join one of the most dynamic team organization and devoting myself to becoming an asset to a company that will provide me with an opportunity for continued growth and increasing responsibility.”  
  • Notice that the writer added “motivated, organized, and committed”.  By default these words are a part of your overall professional business acumen skills; and therefore, not needed.
  • The next part says, “Administrative Account Individual Professional”  There are too many adjectives here.  Choose either your job title, or professional. Everyone knows you are an individual.
  • The next line says, “I’m seeking to join one of the most dynamic, team oriented organization and devoting myself to becoming an asset to a company… and so on…”   Well, there is too much in this sentence to be concise. First, you are telling the reader that you are only interested in a company that is dynamic and have team oriented staff. Does this mean that the candidate can only work with dynamic, team oriented staff?. Next you are telling the reader that you want to devoting yourself to the organization, however, the grammar is incorrect. It should read “devote”; but even then I would not use this word because all professionals are generally devoted to their job at first. Finally, the paragraph go on to say that the candidate wants to be advanced with continued growth and increasing responsibility. All of this is the wrong way to present your long-term goals..

Below is the correct way.

“As an experienced accounting professional, I’m seeking to join an organization where I can contribute my expertise an an Accounts Payable Assistant while pursuing opportunities for continued growth and increasing responsibility.”

As you can see in this example, I am telling the reading who I am, an Accounts Payable Assistant, what I am seeking and why, as well as what my career goal will be.  This way the reader knows exactly what I am looking for without the added information. Finally, the reader has some sort of idea of when I expect to receive increasing responsibility for career growth.

Eliminate descriptive words such as: dedicated, great asset, trustworthy, committed, detailed-oriented etc., because these words are pretty much longer used in resumes, and it makes the reader question your business acumen soft skills.  Keep the sentences short, clear, concise, correct! 

Also, be sure to include the 4 Ws & H (What, Who, When, What and How) so that your resume always stays true to explaining your expertise.