There is no denying that job searching today is different than it was 50 years ago. Instead of looking in the classifieds section of the newspaper or dropping your resume off at a business, you’re scanning job sites and submitting your resume online. It only makes sense then that resume standards have evolved as well.
We’re breaking down 5 resume writing myths and sharing what you need to know.
- Your resume should fit on a single page.
The truth is, very few people can write an effective resume that is only one page unless they are a recent graduate or have little work experience. By slashing your experience and education to fit in such a limited space, chances are you are eliminating valuable information and accomplishments that could otherwise make you an ideal candidate. One to three pages is acceptable depending on your level of experience and achievements, but focus on quality over quantity.
- You must include every job you have held.
Your resume is an overview of your career, not an autobiography. Focus on the past 10-15 years as your most recent experience is typically the most relevant. If you had a six-month stint in a role that wasn’t a good fit or worked a part-time job for extra cash, you don’t have to include them if they don’t add value to your resume. Your first job out of college? Probably not as impressive 25 years later.
- You should highlight all of your responsibilities.
No one wants to read a laundry list of everything you have ever done at your job. Zero in on measurable accomplishments or notable achievements such as saving the company money, improving efficiency, or exceeding sales goals. Highlight projects or initiatives you led or how you managed major accounts. Your resume should show what you bring to the table and how your experience will help you be successful in your next role.
- Your resume should be creative in order to stand out.
This is both fact and fiction depending on the situation. For most job seekers, when updating their resume, a standard format will do. Many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan applications based on keywords and phrases first before they reach a live person. Getting too creative with colors, graphics, or formatting may make it difficult for ATS to process and reduce your chances of moving forward.
If you are applying for a highly creative or innovative role, an unconventional resume may be more acceptable, especially if you are delivering it in person. It is still a good idea to have a standard resume on hand, however.
- You should have multiple resumes.
This is also both fact and fiction. You don’t necessarily need multiple resumes, but you may have slightly different versions of your resume if you are seeking positions in different areas. For instance, one may be tailored toward accounting roles while another is geared toward financial analyst positions. The majority of the content in your resume will be the same across versions, but you can adjust the summary and competencies accordingly. You should tailor your resume for each position you are applying for to make sure it aligns with the job opening.
- You don’t need a cover letter.
It is always better to include a cover letter than to leave it out and miss an opportunity to set yourself apart from the competition. A cover letter is a great place to add more detail and emphasis as to why you are the right person for the job and should be given an opportunity to interview. The format is more conversational allowing your personality to shine in a different way.
Whether you are writing your first resume or updating your resume for a new job search, it is important to have a professional-looking document that meets today’s standards and expectations. Contact Grammar Chic for a resume review and to learn more about our resume writing services.