20 Resumes Myths Dispelled

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!!


Does Volunteer Work Look Good on Your Resume?

Have you been thinking about joining an organization or doing volunteer work?  Are you unsure whether it makes a difference or not?  When I suggest volunteering or joining a professional organization to people I advise, most respond with they don’t have time.  Actually, it doesn’t have to require a lot of time.  You can volunteer as much or as little as your schedule permits.  It could mean a few hours a week answering phones, handling correspondence, mentoring a youth group or assisting an organization with its website.  Being able to show volunteer work on a resume demonstrates that you have interests beyond the office/classroom.  Nothing in the rule book says that when you list experience on your resume, you had to be paid for it.  Experience is experience whether paid or non-paid.  Every day millions of people do important work for which they are not compensated.  Volunteer work and involvement with professional organizations is one way you can gain legitimate experience in your field.

It’s no secret that employers look at volunteer work and professional affiliations when screening candidates.  Not having it will not necessary keep you from getting a job, but it does let employers know you can network and foster positive relationships in the community.  This may prove to be beneficial if you are hired with them because you can get new clients and new business for them.  It makes you more well-rounded.  Almost all volunteer responsibilities require some kind of skill that an employer could use – definitely if you are in a leadership position.  Most professional organizations are geared towards a particular industry and can bring you closer to employers in that industry.  It is a good way to network as some organizations have local, state, regional and national levels.

When listing volunteer work on your resume you can list it as “Community Involvement” or “Professional Organizations” or “Volunteer Work.”    If you had a leadership position and it is related to your field or a field you want to go in, combine your volunteer work and jobs and call it “Relevant Experience” instead of “Work Experience.”  Saying work experience implies that you got paid for it and “relevant” could be paid or unpaid.  Then list your accomplishments while volunteering just like you would list your accomplishments for a job.  When you are in a job interview, be sure to describe your volunteer work in terms of your achievements and highlight the skills that you learned.  For example did you raise $10K?  Did you manage a budget or accomplish goals on schedule?  Did you get experience with public speaking, writing reports or newsletters?  Did you plan projects or train other volunteers?  All of this could show that you have the ability to motivate others and be a leader.  Describe your activities and achievements fully.  Don’t overstate what you did, but be sure to give yourself the credit you deserve.

12 Things You Should Remove from Your Resume NOW


Employers are very busy and will not call you or email you at multiple places.  You should put the BEST phone number and email address to reach you.  They may only have 3 interview slots and may make an appointment with the first 3 candidates that they speak with.  When you are job hunting, you should check your voice messages and email on a regular basis so that you can respond to the employer in a timely manner.  Slothfulness in this area may very well cost you an interview.  By the way, the email address and voicemail greeting should be professional because it is part of your first impression.  You may  need to create a separate email address just for interacting with employers.


Objective:  Seeking a position in a growing company where I may utilize my skills and have an opportunity for advancement.

Objective:  To work in a professional, challenging environment that allows me to best utilize strong negotiation and communication skills with opportunities for career advancement.

Either of these sound familiar?  I can guarantee you employers have seen it a thousand times.  Employers already know that’s your goal.  Objectives are old school and not necessary anymore so don’t waste space on your resume with this.  Start right away with your Key Skills/Core Competencies.  Use keywords directly related to the job description.


Professional Summary:  Results-oriented and versatile professional with proven success in managing complex projects, growing revenue, and resolving both interpersonal and operational issues. Keen understanding of sales and marketing concepts and applications. Adept in building collaborative relationships with professionals from diverse backgrounds and at all organizational levels.

Professional Summary:  An accomplished multi-tasked professional with an expertise in communications, interpersonal and organizational skills,  solution focused, and result oriented with a history of exceeding   objectives. A decade of successful experience in, customer service, mortgage and real estate support with organized strengths in account maintenance, review document control and record management functions.

That was A LOT to read, right?  Well, think about how employers feel.  After about the 12th resume it all starts to blend in.  They don’t want to read essays and long paragraphs and they certainly don’t want to “dig” through to figure out if you have what they are looking for. Make it easy for them and list your skills in bullets and short phrases.  You have 10 seconds to get their attention…..that’s how much time determines if your resume goes in the “look at again” pile or “do not look at again” pile.


Motivated, Team Player, Great Written Communication Skills, Multi-tasking, Interpersonal Skills, Organizational Skills, Results-oriented, Customer Service, Detail-oriented, Excellent Time Management Skills, Typing – 55 wpm, Flexible, People Person, Hard Worker, Reliable, Dependable, Dynamic

If you use any of these words, your resume will sound just like everyone else’s.  Your resume is your time to shine.  You should think about what makes you unique.  What is your brand?  What are your areas of expertise?  Consider who will be reading your resume and use buzzwords for your industry.

Now, if the job description itself mentions these words, then by all means, put them on your resume when applying to THAT particular job.  However, in general, leave these words off because they are not helping you and are doing more harm than good.


Again, these are overused.  You should be listing accomplishments for each job not simply what your daily duties are or what you are responsible for.  You are trying to impress the employer.  They want to know what you accomplished at your current/previous job that you can do for them. So, when listing your accomplishments, start with an action verb:

Initiated, Led, Managed, Supervised, Trained, Increased, Decreased, Organized, Implemented, Facilitated, Coached, Authored, Negotiated, Drafted, Coordinated, Recommended, Liaised, Communicated, Executed, Designed, Identified, Improved, Presented, Resolved, Recruited, Promoted


Your resume is a snapshot of who you are so you shouldn’t try to list everything on there.  Employers want to know what you have done recently and know that you have kept up with the latest trends and technology.  Saying that you got “Employee of the Year” in 1998 only makes them think that you have not done anything else noteworthy recently, because if so you would have listed it on your resume.  Don’t “get married” to your resume.  In other words, don’t get into a long-term commitment with the things that are listed on there right now.  Actually, your resume is a work in progress until you retire.  (Sorry…but somebody had to tell you!)  You should constantly update it with the most recent accomplishments/skills/education and delete the things that are not so relevant anymore.

Think about your career over the last 10 years. What are your MOST IMPORTANT accomplishments?  That’s what you should list on the resume.  However, there are a few exceptions.  If you are applying for an Executive level position – Director of Operations or Vice President of Finance, they may be interested in more than 10 years just to see your total background.  Also, if you are going into education, you will probably use a Curriculm Vitae (CV) instead of a resume and this may cover more than 10 years.  In either of these situations still don’t get too carried away – accomplishments only!


The resume is about YOU – not the company so don’t give attention to these things.  If an employer wants a description of the company, they can Google it.  I only suggest putting websites if it is a link to YOUR work.  If you did a website design or were the presenter at a conference, then list it or put the hyperlink on there.  Also, you don’t need the company address, supervisor’s name, supervisor’s phone number, number of hours you worked, or part-time/full-time status. All of these things belong on a job application.


This will only age you because employers know that most people graduate from college at age 21 – 23, so they will just add up the years to figure out how old you are.  If they can figure out that you are 48, it may work against you if they are looking for someone younger who they can pay a lesser salary.  Plus, don’t date your education.  Technology and trends change so fast that whatever you learned 10+ years ago they are probably not doing now anyway…..or definitely not the same way when you learned it.


Bowling, Hunting, Ballroom Dancing, Jogging, Reading, Traveling, etc. do not belong on a resume.  You can put them on your LinkedIn profile, personal portfolio, or discuss it over lunch when you get the job.  If you like doing community service as a hobby or personal interest, you should list it in a section entitled “Community Involvement” or “Professional Affiliations” so it gets the recognition it deserves.


Your resume should always look FORWARD to the job you are trying to get and not just simply list things you have done in the past.  You are letting an employer know your experience and expertise by what you put on your resume.  Don’t take up space talking about things you don’t want to do again.   Putting it on your resume may cause them to ask you about it in an interview.  If you don’t mention it, hopefully you won’t have to do it on the next job.


This is also old school.  Just go ahead and list your 3 professional references in a separate document.


Everyone uses this on their resume since it is the default font when you open Microsoft Word.  Change it to something else that is legible and still professional looking to make your resume stand out.

Test Your Resume IQ

See how much you know about resumes by answering TRUE or FALSE to these statements.

  1. Your references should be included at the bottom of your resume.
  2. You should list a home and cell phone number.
  3. You should only put experience on your resume that you were paid for.
  4. An employer will look at your resume for 10 seconds or less initially to determine if he wants to call you for an interview.
  5. You have to put every job you have had on your resume.
  6. When listing your jobs you should put the entire address (street, city, state and zip) of the company that you worked for.
  7. When putting the dates you worked at a job it is acceptable to just list the year.
  8. It is very important to have extra-curricular activities on your resume such as professional memberships, volunteer work, etc.
  9. It is okay to use a font less than size 10 on your resume.
  10. When mailing your resume to an employer, it is okay to fold it to put it in a standard envelope.
  11. To make your resume easier to read, it is okay to capitalize, bold or underline things.
  12. Having just one mistake on your resume could disqualify you from getting an interview.
  13. When describing your job duties, you should use complete sentences.
  14. A resume is more likely to be considered if it has keywords and uses industry terminology.
  15. Your education should always be listed before your professional experience.
  16. It is acceptable to decrease the margins to fit more information on the page.
  17. You must have an objective to let employers know what job/industry you are interested in.
  18. You should list your supervisor’s name and phone number for each job.
  19. A lot of employers use resume scanning software to “weed out” resumes.
  20. You should use ‘Duties include’ or ‘Responsible for’ to describe your job duties.

Below are the answers to the statements above.  If you did not get all the answers correct, you should consider having a professional Resume Writer restructure your resume for you.  

1.  F                 2.  F                 3.  F                 4.  T                 5.    F

6.  F                7.  T                 8.  T                 9.  F                 10.  F

11.  T               12.  T                13.  F               14.   T             15.  F

16.  T               17.  F                18.  F               19.  T             20.  F


5 Reasons Why Your Resume Is Overlooked

You’ve been searching the internet for weeks and you’ve applied for job after job.  You’ve uploaded your cover letter and resume and followed all the instructions, but still you have gotten no response.  You know you are qualified and in some cases overqualified.  So why aren’t you getting responses??  This is the job search life cycle:

Job Posting   >   Cover Letter   >   Resume   >   Interview   >   Follow Up   >   Offer Letter   >   Negotiation   >   Job

Each step points or leads to the next step.  If you’re not getting to the next step, then you know where the problem lies.  So, if you are not getting called for interviews then you know your problem is your resume.  The sole purpose of a resume is to highlight your career accomplishments that are related to the job you are trying to get so that you can get an interview. Here are 5 reasons why your resume is being overlooked:


Employers receive approximately 100 resumes for every 1 job they post.  So you can imagine having to go through resume after resume to find the desired candidate.  They will spend about 10 seconds initially looking to see if you have the qualities they are seeking.  When you go into a retail store, why do you think they put the clearance items in the aisles?  Because that gets your attention.  You have to make your resume visually appealing to get the employer’s attention.   Print out your resume and hold it up at arm’s length.  Are you drawn to your own resume?  Would you read it?  Would you call yourself for an interview?  If you’re not drawn to your own resume an employer won’t be either.  To make it visually appealing spread things out and take up the entire page so that there’s not a lot of white space.  Enlarge your headings so employers can navigate through your resume quickly and find the information they need.  Try putting lines in between each section also to make them “pop.”  Also bold your job titles and degrees – not the company  name or school attended.


Because employers receive so many resumes, there is no way that they can manually read through ALL of them. So they will use resume scanning software to “weed out”  the ones that don’t have buzzwords.  60% of job seekers eliminate themselves just based on this 1 fatal mistake.  You have to write your resume as if you are writing to the hiring manager.  If you want to be a Teacher, write your resume to the Principal.  If you want to be a Market Analyst, write your resume to the Marketing Manager.  if you want to be an HR Generalist, write your resume to the Director of Human Resources.  You have to use industry terminology to let the hiring manager know that you know what you are talking about.


Your resume is your time to shine.  If you don’t brag on yourself, who will?  Employers want to know what you can do for them.  Don’t just list daily tasks you performed – focus on results.  You should include as much hard data as possible – %, $, #.  Examples would be:

Increased sales by 30% within 6 months of hire date by implementing advanced sales techniques to increase market share

Supervised 12 employees and daily business operations i.e. sales, merchandising, expense/inventory control

Secured 22 sponsorships from local businesses ranging from $5K – $10K for annual company golf tournament


When you write your resume in general, you are writing a “foundation” to build on and it is very important that you tailor it for each job you apply for.  Why?   Because your resume has to “match the job.”  The best way to do this is carefully read the job description.  Look at the words they use in their qualifications and job summary.  They are telling you the skills/qualifications they would like to have in their desired candidate.  That is your cheat sheet.  “Tweak” your general resume to fit what they are looking for.   I know you are saying, “That will take a long time if I do that for every job!” Now, in case no one has told you — looking for a job IS a job.  So, yes it is time-consuming to change your resume for each job you are applying for, but it is necessary.


As I mentioned before, you have about 10 seconds to get the employer’s attention.  So you need to be quick and to the point.  Most employers will say they like 1 page resumes and want your last 10 years of experience.  So, try decreasing your margins so you will have more room.  Not everything you have done on every job is relevant to the job you are trying to get.  Besides, who are you trying to impress?  The employer or yourself??!! (Hmmm…….)  Now, if you have 10+ years of RELEVANT experience, you can go to the 2nd page but don’t get carried away.  (I have worked for 17 years and my resume starts at 2005.  What I did prior to that I don’t want to do again and really don’t want to talk about.)

BONUS TIP:  Be sure to have someone else critique your resume – industry professional, colleague or a professional resume writer.  You have an emotional attachment to the information and may not be able to decide what you should keep and what is irrelevant. Someone looking at it for the first time may see things that you don’t see.  A professional resume writer will also be able to help you decide what is necessary based on the latest resume trends so you can brand yourself appropriately.


What Does Your Resume Say About You?

Have you ever wondered what an employer thinks when he/she looks at your resume?


John Doe

1234 W. Campbell Road        Dallas, TX 75240          214-890-7654         studforlife@gmail.com

Employer:  Email address means he is immature.

Summary of Qualifications:  Excellent verbal and written communication skills, team player, detail-oriented, people person, great attitude, hard worker, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and Access.

Employer:  Candidate does not know that I am busy and only have 10 seconds to look at this resume.  Does not know how to sell/brand himself – did not summarize who he is.  Has not researched the job/company because he did not tailor his resume – no keywords or industry terms.  Probably sending out same resume to all jobs he is applying for. Can just say Microsoft Office instead of listing them individually.  Candidate is lazy.  I really should stop reading this resume at this point.

Education:  UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS      Bachelor of Hospitality Management        GPA: 2.75

Employer:  Candidate is putting more emphasis on school name than degree received because it is in ALL CAPS.  Does not know the actual degree he is getting.  Does not know how to sell his education and what he learned. I have no idea when I can hire this person because they did not put a graduation date.  Does not know that you don’t list GPA less than 3.0 but since he listed it, it shows he is not focused.  I don’t know where this school is because he did not list city and state.

Work History:   OLIVE GARDEN               Host                       1/2012 – 5/2012

  • Cleaned tables and swept the floor
  • Flexible, worked every position and a variety of shifts
  • Answered the phone
  • Straightened lobby area
  • Always on time
  • Worked while going to school full-time

EMPLOYER:  Placed more emphasis on company name than job title.  Only worked here 4 months – may be a job hopper.  Doesn’t know how to list accomplishments. Took up too much space on his resume with this job because he listed 6 bullets for a job he was only at for 4 months.  Poor written communication skills which contradicts “Excellent verbal and written communication skills” in Summary of Qualifications.  I don’t know where this job is because he did not list city and state. 

Student Organizations/Professional Affiliations:      None

EMPLOYER:  Not well-rounded.  Not active in the community.  Not a leader in his industry.  Doesn’t have networking skills.  Probably lacks training in professional development.   



John Doe

1234 W. Campbell Road                Dallas, TX 75240                214-890-7654           johndoe@unt.edu

Employer:  No red flags yet!

Summary of Qualifications:

  • Speaks English and Spanish fluently and can communicate with a variety of customers
  • 4 years’ experience in customer service and 2 years’ experience in the hotel industry
  • Experience balancing cash drawer at end of shift totaling $2K or more
  • Strong passion for helping others and serving as first point of contact
  • Adept to working at a fast pace and handling a high volume of phone calls daily (50+)
  • Demonstrated history in upselling to meet customers’ individual needs and exceeding sales goals
  • Ability to serve as a liaison between different departments and interact with individuals on all levels
  • Proven track record in resolving customer issues to ensure complete guest satisfaction
  • Computer Skills:  Frontdesk Anywhere, RoomKey PMS, Social Media, Microsoft Office

Employer:  Candidate has tailored this section to match my job description and has given me tangible information to sell his skills and abilities.  I want to keep reading to find out more.


Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management           University of North Texas, Denton, TX             Expected Graduation:  May 2013

Major GPA:  3.4                                                                 Dean’s List  (2011-2012)

Relevant Coursework:  Introduction to Hospitality, Restaurant Operations I & II, Food Sanitation, Business Ethics, Business Communications and Contemporary  Issues in Business.

Employer:  Candidate placed emphasis on his degree because it is listed first.  I can hire this candidate soon because he graduates in May.  I have an idea of courses he has taken and what he has been exposed to.  His GPA shows he is focused on his studies. 

Work History:

Host (temporary)                  Olive Garden                        Dallas, TX                1/2012 – 5/2012

  • Greeted 200+ guests daily upon entering the restaurant and determined their needs i.e. dine in, take out, preferred seating, etc.
  • Answered customers’ questions and addressed their concerns via phone, face-to-face, and interactive website
  • Assisted 5 – 7 team members per shift with delivering orders in a timely manner and maintaining a visually appealing environment

Employer:  Candidate placed emphasis on the job tile.  He was hired in as a temp so that explains why he only worked there 4 months.  Can handle high volume of customers in person and from remote locations.  Will do what it takes to make sure the team is successful.  Probably good at speaking with others and making them feel comfortable.  Listed most important tasks to show accomplishments.  I would feel comfortable having him interact with  my clients.  This person is trainable.

Student Organizations/Professional Affiliations:

National Society of Minorities in Hospitality        2011 – Present

  • Treasurer    2012

Professional Leadership Program                       2012

UNT Green Jackets                                               2011

Employer:  Candidate is active on campus.  Has leadership experience and is concerned about his community.  I definitely want to find out more about him.  I am going to call him for an interview!


If you need assistance with restructuring your resume, please contact Dena Bilbrew at resumelady101@gmail.com.