Common Resume Myths and Mistakes

If you ask 10 people what they think of your resume, you will get 10 different opinions. Resume writing is not an absolute process and must be individualized to best market the job seeker. There is no definitive or best way to write a resume. Every career counselor, recruiter and hiring manager will have his/her preferences. However, there are common mistakes that people make that will hurt their competitive edge. Below are a few of my favorite resume myths.

Hobbies and Interests Section

At one time, this was a standard feature. With the exception of the entry-level graduate (and then only if it is relevant to the job search), this section is not recommended. What does the potential employer think if you have listed your high golf-score or all of the volunteer work that you do at the school? Do they think you are well rounded or that your time is otherwise occupied? How is “Little League Coach” applicable to your next job? Perhaps the person reading your resume is thinking, “Well, I guess he’ll be running out the door every night at 5:30.” Keep your resume as a marketing tool of what you have to offer the employer. If you aren’t selling yourself, leave it out.

Resume ends with “References Upon Request”

An employer won’t assume that you don’t have references, and this line is a waste of space. Save it for something important that you have to say to your reader.

Resumes Should be One Page

Resumes must be both clear and concise, but 15+ years experience may not fit on one page. In fact, an experienced candidate with a one-page resume may have the reader wondering what they did all of those years! A potential employer wants the best and most qualified person and will spend the time on a well-written resume, whether it is one, two or even three pages.

Content is More Important than Style

Content is very important, but what makes the resume stand out amongst a pile of hundreds? If an employer cannot read it, it is tossed. If it is difficult to navigate and not clear as to who you are what you have to offer, it will lose consideration. Font size, layout, and aesthetics are all crucial to your presentation.

Resumes Should Start with an Objective

Some say that although this is an outdated practice, it still holds true for entry-level. I say NEVER. Does an employer care about your objective? NO! You care about your objective, employers care about what you have to offer them. Begin with a header that defines you and a profile that demonstrates your value offered.

Cover Letters Aren’t Needed

A well-written cover letter can highlight additional items and experience and further explain how you are a fit for the job. It also speaks to the specific career opportunity. A resume without a cover letter indicates the applicant’s lack of detail, etiquette and is viewed as lazy.