Great Resume Advice to Ignore

Alan Rasof | Great Resume Advice to IgnoreAs 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.

5 Ways to Improve Your Resume

Alan Rasof

1. CUSTOMIZE FOR THE APPLICATION.

Employers who are screening resumes will eliminate any of the generalized resumes submitted. Offer only specific qualifications you have to best perform the job advertised. State your desired job title, for example, physical trainer, and then make all content relevant to performing that job. You should use a customized resume for different job titles even if you are qualified for several (i.e., one resumé for Physical Trainer, and another separate resume for Office Administrator) stressing only the information relevant to doing that specific job.

2. USE KEYWORDS!

Employers who sort resumés electronically look for keywords. Be sure to include potential keywords for job duties in your resume. Example: state purchased, bought or procured inventory (instead of bought inventory). That way, if the employer searches using the keyword “procured” your resume will not be overlooked.

3. SHOW BUSINESS SAVVY.

Only submit resumes created in the Microsoft WORD software, which is the business world’s standard. Many home computers use other word processing software that can’t always be read by many employer computers. You want to avoid this possible mishap and stick to the reliable Microsoft WORD. Whenever possible, also mail a hard copy of your resume after you have submitted one electronically since you would never be informed if the electronic version wasn’t readable.

4. ONE PAGE IS BEST.

Employers have stated that resumes get less than a 15-second glance, so concise and to the point worked best no matter what level position the candidate applied for. Be a skillful editor, deleting old portions or anything not relevant or helpful to your securing a particular position. No vague generalities. Say exactly what you mean, using the smallest number of words to make the point.

5. BE PERFECT.

The resumé must be flawless. No spelling errors, mistakes or typos. Many HR managers have insisted that they would not hire offenders. PROOFREAD CAREFULLY. Don’t trust computer spell checkers since a correctly spelled word like sea, would go unnoticed by your computer but would be incorrectly used if you meant to say “see.”