1. The purpose of a resume is to get a job.
NO! The purpose of a resume is to highlight your qualifications for a SPECIFIC job so you will get an interview. Thus, the resume leads to the interview. After the interview is the follow-up, job offer and THEN the job.
2. You should have 1 resume and use it apply for all jobs.
FALSE!!! This is the worst thing you could and really is a waste of your time. You should have a general resume to use as your foundation and then tweak your resume for EACH job that you apply for.
3. It is best to use a resume template and just fill in your information.
The best thing to do is to start with a blank document. This will allow you to format and space the document how you want as templates could limit your space and not be easily manipulated.
4. It is always best to use a chronological format.
This is simply not true! The best format to use is the one that highlights your qualifications the best whether that is a chronological, functional or mixed format. The chronological format normally shows progression in your career and education. The functional format focuses on your actual skills and not when or where you got them. The mixed format is a mixture of the two.
5. Your resume should go back as far as your first job and include all the jobs you’ve had.
Generally speaking, your resume should go back only 10 years and include previous/current jobs that are relevant to the job you are seeking. However, there are some exceptions. If you are seeking a senior level/executive management position, the employer will probably want to see ALL of your experience which will qualify you for the job.
NOTE: If you are using a curriculum vitae (CV), it can be as long as you want it to be. CVs are typically used in the following industries: education, research, medical, dental, and those seeking a Ph.D.
6. Your resume should only be 1 page.
If you have enough experience/education to require a 2nd page, then by all means don’t short change yourself trying to get it to fit on 1 page. (Tip: Decrease your margins on your resume to 1/2 an inch and that will help with the formatting and give you more room to work with. Be sure your name is on each page in case they get separated. Also, never print on the back of the page.)
7. It is okay to use any font and font size.
You should always be mindful of the industry you are pursuing and what is acceptable for that particular industry. It would be safe to stick with fonts that are legible. However, DO NOT use Times New Roman because that is the default font in Microsoft Word and everyone uses it. To make your resume instantly stand out, pick another font. Your font size should never be less than 10. Your name and headings can be up to font size 16 or 18. You want these 2 things to stand out the most for obvious reasons.
8. Resumes should have no color or designs on them.
It is okay to use color in some instances, just be conservative. I have seen resumes with the name and headings in a different color than the body of the resume. Again, be mindful of the industry you are going into. Color may be more acceptable in Marketing or Advertising versus Accounting or Information Technology. If you have a personal design or QR code (www.qrstuff.com) that you have created, it is acceptable to use that as well.
9. The objective should list the specific job or industry you are targeting.
There should be NO OBJECTIVE on your resume…..I repeat…….NO OBJECTIVE!! That is old school…say 1995…..and we don’t do that anymore. Most objectives are very generic and you sound just like everybody else. Objective: Seeking a challenging position in a successful company where I may utilize my skills and have an opportunity for advancement. Sound familiar? DELETE IT NOW!!!!
10. You should list all of your education/certifications/training.
Generally, I would say list what you have earned in the last 10 years. Definitely remove high school once you have obtained an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree. Once you have been out of school for 10 years, remove the graduation date because it will age you. Of course, there are exceptions such as education and the medical and dental fields where it is necessary to show your comprehensive education.
11. You should only include experience on your resume that you were paid for.
This is 100% false. Your resume should include ALL experience that qualifies you for a particular job – whether paid or unpaid. So it is quite acceptable to include volunteer work, community involvement and professional organizations on your resume.
12. If you have worked multiple positions/locations for a company you should list them separately on your resume.
You can list them separately; however, it would probably be best to combine them to show a longer work history with the company. Below is an example of someone who has worked 2 positions in 2 different locations for one bank:
Chase Bank Dallas/Plano, TX 2005 – Present
Branch Manager (2010 – Present)
- Accomplishment 1
- Accomplishment 2
- Accomplishment 3
Bank Teller (2005 – 2010)
- Accomplishment 1
- Accomplishment 2
- Accomplishment 3
13. You should include information about your employer on your resume such as company website, address, phone number, etc.
Absolutely not! The resume is about YOU not the employer. Don’t waste space on your resume with company information. All of these things go on an application. If you want to highlight a specific contribution that may be listed on the company’s website, you can include a hyperlink that will take the employer directly to your accomplishment.
14. You should put the exact month and year that you started and ended each job.
It is unnecessary unless the employer specifically asks for you to include this information on your resume. Not including the months gives the illusion that you worked somewhere longer. This may be helpful for those who have job hopped and/or only worked short periods of time at a company.
15. You should put ‘References Available Upon Request’ at the bottom of your resume.
This is old school as well…..say 1985. You should list 3 professional references on a separate sheet of paper with your name at the top and have it already prepared to provide should the employer ask you for it. You want to include the following information: Name, Title, Company, Email Address and Phone Number. Be sure to call your references ahead of time, send them a copy of your resume, and let them know that a potential employer may be calling them about you.
16. It is best to upload and send your resume as a Microsoft Word document.
The best way to save and send your resume is as a PDF document to ensure that the formatting does not shift. Also, this keeps your information from being altered.
17. You don’t need to bring your resume with you to an interview because the employer already has it.
False! This is a huge misconception. You should ALWAYS bring at least 3 copies of your resume with you when you go for an interview. You may be surprised and be interviewed by multiple people and they each need their own copy. Also, your resume should always be printed on resume paper for a more polished look.
18. You should staple your cover letter, references and business card to your resume.
NEVER put a staple in your resume! If it is more than 1 page or you want to submit it along with additional items, always paperclip them.
19. You should only update your resume when you are actively looking for a job.
Actually, you should constantly update your resume – probably once every 6 months. You may not remember every skill you acquire or training class or accomplishment. So it is best to update it consistently so that when you are ready to submit it for a job, you do not have to think about everything you have done for the past 2 – 3 years.
20. An employer will take 2 – 3 minutes to look over your resume to determine if you have the skills they are looking for.
FALSE!! Employers receive nearly 100 resumes for every 1 job that they post. So they will initially take 10 seconds to browse over your resume to see if they like you or not. Ten seconds will determine if your resume goes in the ‘call pile’ or the ‘do not call pile.’ Use your 10 seconds wisely!!