Not all advice is good advice. Here are some outdated resume tips you should be avoiding at all costs!
1. “Your resume should only be one page long.”
Two pages is currently the ideal length for resumes. It allows you enough space to be thorough without the information getting buried among itself. Certain positions in the medical and academic fields require a CV (curriculum vitae), which is typically longer because it includes research, publications, or other items that the position asks for. Two pages is a good length for resumes, though.
2. “You need an Objective Statement.”
When we started learning about writing resumes, our career counselors, parents, and teachers deemed this to be a “must.” But times have changed and the objective statement often ends up being a waste of precious resume space. After all, you only have two pages to gain a prospective employer’s interest and persuade them to pick up the phone to schedule an interview. Your objective when sending your resume to someone or submitting it to an open position is implied in the act itself—you want to be hired for the position you have expressed interest in.
Instead of an objective, use that space to add a customized link to your LinkedIn profile and explain any employment gaps that you may have. Doing this gives the recruiter more information and eliminates the risk of them passing on you because of a concerning gap in your employment history. Some recruiters will call to ask you about them, but some will just move on to the next.
Also, the client could have instructed the recruiters to send the resume to them if the candidate had a legitimate reason to explain the gap (e.g. finishing a degree, taking care of a sick relative, etc.), but not respond to any that are unexplained because of the quantity of resumes they already have to sort through.
The bottom line: You probably won’t know who your resume will get in front of or what instructions the recruiters were given, so it is a good idea to cover your bases.
3. “Include ‘References available upon request’ in your resume.”
As with the objective statement, this is implied and the space could be used for better purposes. So far, I have not come across a candidate who refused to provide references when asked for them.
4. “You need a traditional resume.”
With the fierce competition and wide array of job sites, forums, professional networking sites, and so on, the need to set yourself apart from others has been steadily increasing. As a result, businesses have gotten more social and interested in one’s ability to market themselves. This is evidenced by the emergence of all those “Create your personal brand” advice articles geared toward job seekers and any professionals looking to advance their careers.
The creation of non-traditional resumes reflects this idea as well. Although I do advise keeping the bullet point format because it is easiest to read, you can include narration and even a quote from one of your LinkedIn recommendations to spice up your resume. For instance, I have a quote from my former boss on mine and the feedback I have gotten thus far in interviews is always positive. A few have referred to it when I mentioned my work with him. It is a great credibility-booster and is also the only item that is in color (just the brackets around it), which helps it stand out.
If you are planning to submit your resume directly to a company’s website, have a simply formatted version as well (Times New Roman, no bold or underlining, spaces in lieu of indents, standard bullet points or dashes, no images or text boxes, etc.). Many employers, staffing agencies, and recruitment firms utilize an applicant tracking system (ATS), which will jumble any unrecognized formatting into plain text.
With that said, a resume is not everything you need for success in your search.
There is a discussion on whether LinkedIn profiles and similar websites will phase out the use of resumes entirely. I do not think that will happen any time soon. What I am sure of, is that job seekers need to supplement their resumes with a professional online presence. LinkedIn is the main network for this, but Twitter is also a great place to build a professional presence by tweeting articles and videos about your industry that other people would find useful. Some savvy job seekers have leveraged other social networks to further their careers as well, such as Vine, Instagram, and Pinterest.
However you conduct your job search, don’t get discouraged. Keep moving ahead. I wish you the best on your journey to the next step in your career.
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