Resumania: Tone down humor on resume

By Max Messmer

“TRAININGS: Currently training to become humorous.”

That gives new meaning to the phrase, “Flex your funny bone.”

As April Fools’ Day approaches, remember there’s nothing wrong with showing your funny side at work. In fact, it can benefit your career. In a survey from Robert Half International, a California-based outsourcing service, 79 percent of executives said an employee’s sense of humor is important for fitting into a company’s corporate culture.

While a little levity on the job can help you build rapport or tame tensions, keep the comedy to a minimum in your resume and cover letter. It’s fine to insert some personality into your pitch, but hiring managers won’t take you seriously if being funny is your main focus. Plus, humor doesn’t always translate well on paper.

These professionals were too playful:

“TALENTS: I do not slurp my coffee loudly during Skype meetings.”

We’ll drink to that.

“LANGUAGE ABILITIES: I can bark like a dog and make the best monkey sounds ever.”

Not the bilingual skills we had in mind.

“QUALIFICATIONS: Accommodating. I won’t argue with you even when I think you’re wrong. Unless you want me to. See how cooperative I am!”

No argument here.

“QUALIFICATIONS: I get things done. Yes, done! Finito! Complete! Concluded!”

Are you finished?

“OTHER: They call me ‘The Chris With Charisma.’ ”

We feel bad for the other Chris.

“INTERESTS: I like funky people. Are you funky?”

That’s the one question you want to ask a future boss?

Finally, don’t get ahead of yourself. There are many steps in the hiring process. It seems this job seeker has been watching too many infomercials:

COVER LETTER: “I’ll make you a 14-day, risk-free trial offer. We get started today, and if you don’t like working with me after 14 days, I am paid minimum wage, and we part ways.”

If we call now, will you throw in a set of steak knives?

(Max Messmer is CEO of Robert Half International, a specialized staffing firm. Send examples to Resumania, c/o Robert Half International, 2884 Sand Hill Road, Suite 200, Menlo Park, Calif. 94025. Or, visit www.resumania.com.)

Scripps Howard News Service


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