Writing the Modern Resume: Dispelling the Myths

Avoid Common Resume Myths
HOW TO TELL YOUR PROFESSIONAL STORY MOST EFFECTIVELY

When it comes to resume writing, there are as many formats and styles as there are job applicants. Everyone wants a resume that impresses and spurs a conversation with a potential employer. However, job seekers often believe the myriad myths about what a good resume should include to their own detriment, according to one workplace authority.

“People hear resume myths so often, they believe they must be true. But many of these myths are out-of-date ideas or were never really useful in the first place. Consequently, there are a lot of ineffective resumes floating around,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of global outplacement and executive and business coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Obviously and without debate, all information on a resume must be accurate. Applicants should double-check exact titles and dates, and not make it look like a degree was earned if some credit hours are still needed.

The beginning of a resume should include a profile that offers a synopsis of who the candidate is and what strengths the candidate brings to any position. A reader of the resume could piece this together after reading the applicant’s background, but don’t make them work that hard.

    Some of the myths to avoid include:
  • “Resumes should be one page.” Recent college graduates or others who have little professional experience should follow this rule. They should not pad their resumes with irrelevant information that will waste the time of someone reading the resume. But professionals who have been working for more than five years, and certainly those who have scores of accomplishments, talents, and expertise, need room to list all their qualifications, and one page will not be enough. Also, most resumes are shared online, so the idea of pages is antiquated. Resumes may still be formatted by pages, but as people scroll through them, they probably will not pay attention to the page breaks.

    • “There is no real ideal for the number of pages in a resume. The document needs to reflect a job seeker’s accomplishments accurately,” said Challenger.

      “Two is great, three is fine for the most experienced professional. Occasionally, four may be needed if someone has many impressive professional positions as well as Board of Directors positions or leadership roles in professional organizations. But never, ever should a resume go beyond four pages,” he added.

      “There are a few industries where it is common to have much longer resumes, such as academia and the medical profession. In those cases, it is standard for an individual to list all research and publications, which take up a lot of space. These folks may want to consider compiling these lengthy lists in an appendix attached to a shorter resume instead of providing a resume of five pages or more,” he said.

      Read the full press release here