Resume Myths: Content
Most of us view the resume writing process as one of the most challenging hurdles in the job search process. Your resume is an example of your writing skills, your ability to relate your career history in an organized concise manner and, most importantly, a chronology of your successful career.
This can seem like a daunting first step in the job search process and it is tempting to have someone else prepare your resume for you.
Don't. No one else can represent your talents, experience, and accomplishments better than you can, and the process is not nearly as painful as you may think.
The TBA team guides you through the maze of myths out there about your resume content:
My resume will be read completely from top to bottom.
Are you reading this article completely, from top to bottom? Chances are you are scanning this article for items that interest you. Recruiters and hiring managers do the same thing. Your resume will be scanned for sixty or so seconds for the experience that the reader is looking for. Don t bury your qualifications, make them easy to find.
All I need to present is the past 10 years, or only those positions related to the industry in which I am seeking a position.
Hiring managers want to see your entire employment history, with the most content devoted to the past 10 years.
I should be completely thorough, describing every task I performed in each position.
The seasoned resume reader will look for the following: Positions you currently hold / have held in the past, Companies you have worked for, Industries you have worked in, and value your efforts brought to the company.
Keep it simple. Again, your purpose is to make it easy to determine you are qualified. There are four main elements to cover in each employment experience:
If you held a position outside your current industry, or is not well-known, provide a one-sentence description of that company. If the company is within the industry you are job-seeking or is very well known (IBM, Microsoft), there is no need to provide a company description.
If your current employer acquired or merged with your prior employer, list total years of employment with both (or more), then list underneath that the positions you held with each company. Include a brief note about the acquisition/disposition/merger.
State correct position titles.
Brief description of position responsibilities
Describe what you performed in the role. If you are in sales, state who you have called on (such as the "C" level, department directors, etc.) and what products you sold.
Accomplishments/Achievements in the role
In bullet format at the end of this paragraph detail your awards, ranking and accomplishments for example, "120% of quota, Presidents Club Member past four years".
I, Responsible for, Duties included, and Accountable for are words I should use repeatedly throughout the resume. These words waste space. Leave the I out of it - the reader knows you are referring to yourself. Instead of, "I managed...", just say, "Managed..."
Hiring managers really want to know what you did. Using the phrases above is passive and ambiguous and makes them guess if you actually managed 15 people or if you were just responsible for it. Always opt for leading your sentences with an action word.
Dates are not that important
Dates that you have been employed with your employer, (be accurate), are very important. If the prospective employer finds a discrepancy in your resume with respect to work history, your candidacy is finished and so is your relationship with the recruiter if you were represented by one.
Many companies perform background verifications and if it is discovered that you have misrepresented your work history you will be terminated.
Graduation dates are important on a resume too. Educational background without dates of completion is interpreted as hiding your age. If the reader has to assume an age group, what do you think he or she will conclude? Best to address it so your time is not wasted.
When describing myself, I need to add many complimentary adjectives
It is not necessary to state that you are motivated, hard working, team leader, etc. We have never been asked to find lethargic, lazy, anti-social candidates. The assumption is you are all of those fine things that the employer is looking for.
Leave the compliments to those that love you and devote that resume space to describing your achievements.
Including an objective or profile is not necessary.
A BRIEF (no more than one paragraph) statement of the type of position you are seeking and your related qualifications is a good introduction of your qualifications to the reader.
Be specific. If you are a sales specialist with a great deal of technical knowledge say it. For example, "Seeking a position as a sales specialist in diagnostic imaging applying ten years of success selling MRI"
Since my education is unrelated or completed long ago, I can omit it.
Any education, related coursework, professional development, specialized training and technical certifications earned should be listed on your resume, as they enhance your qualifications.
Dates attended/graduated are important, too. If you omit them, we assume you are tying to hide something (see Dates are not that important above).
Listing lots of outside interests and personal information will connect me to potential employers.
Limit your list of outside interests to those that underscore your professional character. Some examples of these include Personally Financed Education, Professional/College Athlete, Charity Work in field of endeavor, and Arts or Academic Achievements.
Are you in a garage band, paint seascapes, or enjoy time with your family? That s great, but best left to share only with family and close friends.
What should be omitted is any information state and federal laws prohibit an employer from asking. These include race, gender, religion, marital status, age, disabilities, ethnic background, country of origin, and sexual preference.
References should be included in the resume, or at least the statement, References available upon request.
Keep the references off your resume and have them ready at the appropriate point in the interview process.
Leave the statement off, too. It is implied that you will provide viable references when requested.
I need to include a long paragraph of Keywords so my resume will come up in a search.
Once keyword searching became an available tool in most resume databases, many candidates think a long paragraph of keywords is necessary to have on their resumes to ensure a search hit .
Recruiters and hiring managers do not read this jumble of words and it takes up valuable space on your resume that can otherwise be used to describe your qualifications.
If you are a salesperson specializing in MRI, a clinical applications specialist for PACS, or an R&D director, make sure you have these words in the body of your resume in context with the position(s) you have held where you used this experience. Your resume will surface when these keywords are searched. More on this in our blog article Candidates: Help us Find You.