Russian, Kitchen Faucets, and the Inflated Resume

Board Member: I can’t do the interview in Russian.

Me: “In your bio and on your profile, you list Russian as one of your languages.”

Board Member: “Yes, but I didn’t mean it that way.”

Me: “OK, thank you for your time.”

I hung up the phone in disbelief. I run a worldwide certification board. I needed to find an interviewer for a non-English speaking candidate. So, I did a scan of languages for our board members. I found one who listed Russian as a language. Imagine my surprise when I heard, “I didn’t mean it that way.” I understand we want to represent our best possible selves on a résumé, curriculum vitae, and a bio. I beg everyone, consider what you write. After that incident, everything on that board member’s bio became questionable for me. You want to build your brand, not have people question it. From a business perspective, what do you consider résumé worthy?

I replaced my kitchen faucet last weekend. My faucet was bad and with expense in mind, I decided to do it myself.  The faucet replacement seemed like 2 hours, so I allowed 6 hours not including three trips to the hardware store. IT took me 2 days. The actual replacement time was only 2 hours, but I was trying all kinds of things to loosen a rusted part that was finally resolved by carefully chipping away a polymer sleeve. The repair is complete, looks great and here’s the thing. I can replace a faucet, I did replace a faucet, but this is definitely not résumé worthy other than it shows my powers of perseverance and willingness to try. The ability to successfully execute and repeat a task versus have done a task is two very different things. Most likely technology is being used to scan and filter your information. People are using keyword searches, because they are looking for something specific. Your content needs to be an accurate representation of what you can successfully and repeatedly do.

If called upon to do a task related to what you include as your expertise, can you do it successfully? So, while I have replaced a kitchen faucet, twice and installed a garbage disposal and swapped out a float in an outdoor fountain, plumbing expertise will not appear on my CV anytime soon.  While, you may think it is very obvious with the plumbing example, résumé inflation happens. The goal is to highlight your best self to get a job or an assignment. A résumé should not be a document of aspirational expertise. List your strengths and expertise, as they apply to the job or assignment you want, those things are résumé worthy.


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