Marshmallow fluff is a pretty delectable treat. Simply sweet and adds height and volume to a scrumptious ice cream sundae… However, you do not want fluff in your resume. Keep it strictly for your ice cream sundaes. How do you know if you have fluff in your resume?
To start, if you are listing tasks, initiatives or areas of responsibility on your resume, but you do not have accomplishments corresponding to the task, initiative or responsibility, then you may be engaging in fluff.
Here is an example: If a Program Director at a middle school board has a resume bullet that states: “Created initiative to employ cutting-edge teaching programs for the learning disabled,” I would want to know did the program get deployed? For how many students? What are the results of the program being implemented? At what cost? What was the direct and perceived benefit of the program being executed? Answers to these questions should be part of the resume bullet.
If the person cannot answer these questions, and they simply wrote an initiative but never put it in place, well, my friends, that is resume fluff.
I would much prefer this resume bullet to read something like, “ Created and executed a $96,000 teaching curriculum that caters to the 72 children requiring custom learning disabled teaching that enabled students to be mainstreamed 45% faster into certain subjects and programming.” This second statement tells me the program was implemented and it was deemed a success.
Now I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Resumes and LinkedIn profiles were written in more of a task-driven / job responsibility format about 5-10 years ago. Think job description with your name on the top.
So just because you have a fluffy document, doesn’t mean you are automatically fluffy… If your document is dated, and you have not updated it in a while, you might be given the benefit of the doubt by some if you work for good companies and have progression. (However, I would not leave that to chance…get your documents updated). But if you are given that benefit of the doubt, you need to be able to answer the questions on how well you did those functions you have listed on your resume.
Today’s career documents focus on achievements. How well did you do at that task, initiative, or area of responsibility? Simply doing it or being accountable for it is not enough to set you apart or tell me that you did it well. I want to know how well you did at that function. Did you make money, save money, streamline a process, positively contribute to the culture of your organization or mitigate risk?
These answers tell me if you did it well…and I can compare you to other candidates to see how did it best and most relevantly to what I need as an employer. No fluff. At least not on your resume… but on that chocolate coconut milk ice cream sundae with hot fudge, walnuts and sprinkles? Oh my… throw on the marshmallow fluff…