5 Things That Everybody Thinks Are True About Resumes (but aren’t)

I talked to a customer today who was adamant that her resume needed an objective statement “so that they know what job I want”. Longtime readers, of course, will note my jihad against that offensive vestige of resumes past and can only image the head explodeyness that was swallowed with a smile. In the end, the customer is always right, so her resume has that utterly useless objective statement.

It was a slight blow to my professional ego, and got¬†me to thinking about other misconceptions customers have that I do my best to correct. Here’s some of the most popular ones that I deal with:

1. A great resume will land you a job.
When the economy is roaring along and times are good, this is close to true. Now, when the addition of new jobs is not enough to keep pace with population growth, this is absolutely false. I like to counsel our clients that a great resume is 30% of the equation. Networking and interviewing skills are just as, if not more important.

2. One resume is all you need.
I suspect this falls under “the easy way out”. The fact is that you should be creating a tailored resume for each position that you pursue. This can be as simple as changing the headline and key skills, or a wholesale rewrite. Matching the keywords in a given job posting will tell the hiring manager you’ve paid attention and have the requisite skills, with the added benefit of ensuring that your resume makes it past automated screening software.

3. Your resume has to fit on one page.
I see this a lot from clients that have jammed 15 years of experience into one page with 9 point font and quarter inch margins. Your resume should be exactly as long as it needs to be to effectively convey your skills, experience, and intangibles. That said, unless you have a compelling reason or are in a profession (engineer, doctor, attorney, etc.), it’s usually a good idea to keep your resume to two pages or less to avoid fatiguing the reader.

4. You should blast your resume everywhere.
There is some truth to the sentiment behind this common misconception – finding a new job is a job in and of itself, and requires real effort and dedication. However, blasting your resume indiscriminately is a bad idea rife with potential dangers from your current employer finding out about your desire to find a new job to giving all of your personal information to a scam artist (like this Salon contributor found out the hard way). It’s far better to do the hard work in networking and identifying suitable openings through reputable sources.

5. Hiring a resume writer to write your resume is unethical.
This one hits close to home, obviously. If you are trying to land a job as a resume writer, this is absolutely true. Otherwise, it’s a load of hogwash. Let’s face it, many people cannot write about themselves objectively or effectively. Many others are too busy to spend the five to six hours it may take to research and create a powerful resume. ¬†Hiring a resume writer is a way to maximize your time or most effectively present your strengths and experiences relevant to the job at hand. And here is a bonus tip: as a job candidate, you are likely sitting across the table from a manager or executive who had their own resume professionally crafted by a resume writing service.

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