I met a woman who had started a new job with a Fortune 500 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, every day she writes down a list of terms she doesn’t grasp and asks her assistant to explain them. Related: Top 15 Words HR NEVER Wants To See On Your Resume 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 they're doing this, as they have been using these terms for years and forget 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's 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 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. This post was originally published on an earlier date.
January 24, 2015