One Common Resume Mistake Most People Overlook

Common Mistake on a Resume

There is a term that’s commonly used in the marketing world.

It’s called “The Curse of Knowledge”, used to caution marketers from communicating details that don’t make sense to the reader/listener.

You see when an expert is trying to communicate about a topic they are intimately familiar with, there is a natural tendency to use terms and phrases that make sense to them, but not necessarily to the listener or reader of that topic.

It’s like a car salesman, who is also a mechanic, trying to sell you on the reliability of a car by talking about the specific details of the engine.

So what does the “Curse of Knowledge” have to do with your resume?

Many times, I have read resumes where the candidate were so specific about names and technical jargon, I have no idea what they are referring to, or I cannot relate to significance of what they are trying to communicate.

Examples of this are:

  • Using technical jargon that is only used inside their organization, but does not make sense to others
  • Use of abbreviations that is only applicable to a certain organization or country
  • Using specific names of process/projects/systems/applications that is only familiar to their previous organization

A reader of your resume seeing information this specific will not understand it’s relevance, and is therefore wasted space and a distraction on a resume.

The solution?

Stay objective.

Think about the reader when writing about your experience. Ask yourself the question “Will the person who has never worked for my old company understand this term or name?”

If referring to a project, don’t use the project’s name, but briefly explain the type of project so that anyone can understand what it’s about.

The same goes for applications and systems. instead of using their specific names, explain the function or purposes of that system or process.

The only exception to this rule is if it’s a name of a project/application/system that is commonly known in your industry or is specifically being asked for in the job description.

Don’t be a victim of the curse of knowledge. The next time you review your resume, and you see a name, assess if any reader will understand that name or term, and make corrections accordingly.

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