As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance at a first impression. To that end, your resume has to be absolutely perfect. It has to be eye-catching, but not obnoxious. Give potential employers insight into who you are professionally, but not too much insight. It has to be concise, but cover all the necessary bases. If you google “resume advice,” you’ll drown in all the different directions you could take your resume. While there’s no “right” way to construct your resume, there is some advice out there that I highly recommend you completely ignore.
Bad piece of advice 1: Keep it to only one page
Starting in high school, everyone tells you to keep your resume only to one page and make that one-page maximum the priority over designing a good resume. If you feel like you need to go over a page, in this day and age, that’s usually okay. You may be incredibly accomplished and have lots of relevant experience in the field. Of course, it’s never a good idea to babble on where it’s unnecessary, and you can reserve your more in-depth analyses of your work for your linkedin profile or for your in-person interview, but if you need to expand your resume beyond a page to capture who you are, that’s just fine.
Bad piece of advice 2: Keep it completely plain
Teachers and professors caution strongly against anything besides Times New Roman black font on white paper with traditional microsoft word bullet points. There are lots more options now, though, and as long as they’re done well, they’re perfectly viable. The real rule of thumb here is that your resume has to be appropriate for the setting. If you’re applying to be an accountant, a well-organized, simple resume is probably perfect. If you’re applying to a marketing agency, though, consider something more creative like a canva resume or an infographic. It’s all a matter of what’s best for the setting.
Bad piece of advice 3: Razzle Dazzle to distract from gaps in work history
Many well-intentioned career counselors will suggest a “functional resume” to hide the fact that you took some time off work. Put most simply, functional resumes highlight the skills and use the work history to demonstrate the skills rather than vice-versa. In today’s age, though, we value transparency and honesty above all else. If you had to take time off to care for children or a family member, say that and draw attention to what you did in that time to prepare you for the job for which you’re applying. “Functional resumes” are red flags for employers, since nobody with a linear work history uses that format.
Bad piece of advice 4: Write a strong objective statement at the top of your resume.
Space is precious, and most objective statements are just a jumble of entrepreneurial buzzwords. Rather than kill a sentence on a generic blurb on your work statement, use your cover letter and introductory email to detail who you are, where you’re going, and how you’ll get there.