Myth 1: My résumé can’t be longer than one page
The one-page rule is probably the most common résumé myth. Candidates 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. While it is true, that if you are a student with little or no experience, you should not have more than a 1-page résumé, the same cannot be said for a mid-level professional or a senior executive.
According to a November 2018 study, published by The Ladders, hiring managers were more than twice as likely to pick a 2-page résumé over a single page résumé in a simulated hiring process.
Myth 2: My résumé needs to be completely stripped-down of styles to make it through an ATS
ATS systems have evolved from the days of being able to read ASCII-text files only. Color, formatting, using different fonts, and tables are all acceptable for ATS submissions. There are certain elements that ATS systems cannot read – headers, footers, and text boxes are among them – but having these elements don’t adversely affect the document they simply disappear. With over 300 different ATS systems, there is no single solution, but at the end of the day, a human reader still makes the final decision, so formatting matters.
Myth 3: You need an objective statement.
Once it was imperative that you start your résumé with a statement declaring your career objective, that was 20 years ago. The most critical spot of your résumé is the top third of the first page and a hiring manager makes a decision on your résumé in 7.4 seconds. Instead of an objective, showcase your value with a branded summary section instead.
Objective – Experience Account Manager seeking a new opportunity
Branded Summary – Award-winning, B2B Account Manager averaging 12% annual growth over the last 5 years
See the difference?
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 and your likelihood of landing an interview is about 2%! Networking always has been, and always will be, the best method of finding your dream job. Even today, 75% of jobs are filled through networking. Don’t ignore job boards completely but 75% of your time should be spent building your network.
Myth 5: Résumés should have your entire work history.
Your résumé is not a chronological list of your work history but rather it is a marketing document with one goal in mind, to get you the interview. Think of your résumé as a movie preview – in 2 minutes you are seeing a basic introduction of the movie along with some highlights to entice the viewer into wanting to see more. Your résumé serves the same purpose – present the reader a basic introduction of your skills along with your career highlights and entice them to want to know more.
Myth 6: Everybody stretches the truth. A little white lie never hurt anyone.
Honesty is the best and only policy. 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 your accomplishments! Show the reader what your personal brand is. What can you do better or differently for me than other candidates?
Myth 8: My résumé is all that matters. LinkedIn is overrated.
Not according to research. As of January 2019:
- LinkedIn has over 590 million users with 260 million logging each month and 2 new users added every second.
- LinkedIn has over 15 million active job listings with over 40 million decision makers
- Over 20,000 U.S. companies use LinkedIn as their primary source to recruit, and over 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn as a major source for finding new talent
- Over 10 million job seekers have enabled the Open Candidate feature
- Over 75% of corporate recruiters go to an applicant’s LinkedIn profile to learn more after reviewing their résumé
If your LinkedIn profile is not optimized for today’s job search, you are missing out on a major opportunity
Myth 9: A few grammatical errors or typos are expected, everybody makes them.
Don’t let anyone tell you that details don’t matter. Why would an employer want to put an Assistance Manger in charge of running their business? What exactly is a Costumer Service Representative? 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.