I just finished reading a popular media outlet article about the Ten Most Common Resume Questions Answered. I was immediately reminded how many differing opinions are offered when it comes to building a resume. I’ll admit, I’m a rule breaker, and these tips are my opinion so use at your own risk (but you’ll probably land more interviews if you do).
Myth #1: Your resume must stop at two pages.
I mean, yes, it’s nice to only have to handle one or two pages for everyone involved. You may have a problem, if your resume is looking more like a trilogy and you have to refer to book and chapter for one of your career highlights. The one page rule or no more than two can be broken if you follow this new rule: If it adds value, add it. If it doesn’t, take it out.
Your resume is your marketing collateral to landing the right interviews. Sharpen you career story and optimize it with the right keywords. Just ensure that every word adds value that you can speak to in the interview.
Myth #2: You need to include your address, city, and state.
We live in a global community making the job market a much larger place than just the one place we physically live. Adding your address, city, and state takes up space on your resume. Don’t worry though, if you are so concern about adding it, the company’s applicant tracking system is going to ask you to enter it in. Why? Most companies haven’t figured out yet how to make the applicant experience simple and easy. Instead of realizing they just need a name, contact information, and a resume, they consume our time asking for additional data.
If you are open to the global job market or you are trying to relocate leaving this information off is helpful. If relocating use a local address if you can to enter in the applicant tracking system.
Myth #3: Don’t add references available upon request.
Actually, I do agree with this one. No one really cares about your good references that are going to talk you up anyway. It doesn’t add value and waste space. If you are fortunate to be offered the job, you’ll be asked for references. But if you want to add something that makes you stand out, think about adding a client or customer testimony page. It’s what every great marketer knows to do!
Everyone has a client or customer they serve in his or her jobs. Who’s yours? Think about whom that is for you and ask a few people to share how your work has impacted them. You’ll stand out from the competition and show the company you are capable of influencing their clients or customers.
Myth #4: Just include the years you started and finished working for each firm. Your reader doesn’t need to know the exact months you began and ended each job.
This is an immediate red flag for recruiters. It gives the vibe that you are trying to hide something. Employment gaps happen for a variety reasons. Laid-off? It happens and not unusual to see someone take six to seven months to find their next role. Changed companies? The average employee stays at their company two and half years. Took a sabbatical? This is becoming more normal when someone takes deliberate time to refocus his or her life and career direction. Stay at home parent? Awesome job and be proud of it!
The point is that employment gaps happen because life happens. Speak to it honestly and you’ll be fine. Yes, there will be some old school HR folk that has worked the same job for the past twenty years who will not get it. But then again, if they are the ones reviewing your resume, is that really a place you want to work?
Agree or disagree on these resume myth busters? What questions do you have on creating your resume? Leave a comment!