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Fluff Is for Tabloids, Not Resumes

I finally received my Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) diploma this week, so I'm no longer the only writer on staff without that accreditation (woohoo!). But getting that piece of paper meant I had to update my blog bio to match. After a year of writing for the blog, I was itching to rewrite parts of the bio, anyway.Don't exaggerate your experience

When I was reading and rewriting the part that's supposed to make me sound like I've been doing this since I was born, I had a shocking revelation: I've only been out of college for three years. How much could I really have to say about my career when it's only been a "career" for 36 months?

I noticed that my first bio was an ill attempt at making me sound as experienced as my fellow writers, even though they're years ahead of me on their career paths. What was I thinking? Where was the need to fill up as much white space as they did, when I don't have anything to fill it with?

So I chopped and cut and reworded to focus more on what I'm doing now and how that benefits the blog, instead of adding fluff to exaggerate what I've done in the past. Because I realized that my old bio was doing just that, making my past two years of experience sound more impressive than they were. How so? Well, I claimed to have experience in the Education industry—but the only Education experience I had was through my college degree and the brief summer internship I did at a publishing company, neither of which qualify. That was the wrong approach.

Take this revelation and apply it to your resume. You need experience to write a resume, and you need more than one job to fill a whole page of experience. But most of all, you need to let all the irrelevant fluff fall by the wayside, even if you can't fill a whole page.

Case in point: If you're applying for a $50,000-a-year general engineering position, you're not going to put your job as a lifeguard at summer camp on your resume, just as you're not going to list building bridges out of toothpicks as one of your main skills. Most of all, don't make a big deal out of something that's not, and don't make it seem more professional than it was. Nobody starts out with years of experience, and no one will be fooled by your fluffed-up efforts to make it seem as if you did.

Have you done this on your resume before? When is too much really too much?

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