Myth 1: My résumé can’t be longer than one page
The one-page rule is probably the most common résumé myth. Candidates, even executives, use minuscule fonts, omit important information, use reduced margins, and resort to countless unhealthy practices — all in an attempt to restrict their résumé to just one page. Many well-meaning college counselors advise their students to be concise and limit their résumé to one page. That was important when you were a student with little or no experience, but why subscribe to the same wisdom after rising to the ranks of Vice President?
Myth 2: Your references must be listed on the résumé itself.
Normally, a separate page is used as a reference sheet. This not only protects the privacy of your references (imagine posting their contact information on every job board), but also makes the screening professional’s job a little easier. Furthermore, do not put on your résumé, “References available upon request.” HR Managers already know this and you should make better use of the space.
Myth 3: You need an objective statement.
Once it was imperative that you start your résumé with a statement declaring your career objective. HR Managers and recruiters are more interested in how successful you have been in your previous position and often skip over this section completely.
Myth 4: All I need to do is post my résumé on a job board and recruiters come calling.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, only 5% of openings are filled using job boards. Networking always has been, and always will be, the best method of finding your dream job.
Myth 5: Résumés should have your entire work history.
If you have been working for 30 years and the first few years were in an outside field, you can certainly drop selective things. Same thing is true about internships after you have 10 to 15 years of experience; unless those internships or prior employers are great examples of your capabilities or the employer’s name itself may garner some attention then it may be worth keeping.
Myth 6: Everybody stretches the truth. A little white lie never hurt anyone.
Honesty is the best and only policy. Period!! Potential employers value integrity and you demonstrate that by being honest and forthright in all your interactions, starting with your résumé.
Myth 7: Résumés should thoroughly describe the responsibilities of each position.
Responsibilities only tell the reader what you were supposed to do, not what you actually did. Let’s say you are a Sales Manager, congratulations, you are one of 360,000 Sales Managers in the country. If a potential employer is looking to fill a Sales Manager position, chances are they know what you did in your previous job. What they don’t know if how well you performed. What makes you different? What sets you apart from the other 359,999 Sales Managers? Employers want to see a highlight of your accomplishments.
Myth 8: Résumés should include personal information, to indicate the many dimensions to your life and interests.
Unless you are applying for a position at a bowling alley, no one cares that you carry a 210 average. Save the space for more pertinent information that can be used to sell yourself and showcase your professional accomplishments.
Myth 9: A few grammatical errors or typos are expected, everybody makes them.
Don’t let anyone tell you that details don’t matter. Proofread. Proofread. Proofread!!
Myth 10: I heard that putting my picture on my résumé would be a good thing.
Unless your appearance is a determining factor for the particular job, save your headshot for LinkedIn. Not only are you wasting space on your résumé but a potential employer could hold your gender, ethnicity or age against you.