Throughout my life, my mother has always been there to try to guide me in the correct direction. At a young age, she instilled the importance of having a neat room and keeping a tidy house. She's offered advice around cooking, getting stubborn stains out of clothes and even things to remember when filing my taxes—all sound advice that came in handy once I was living on my own. While the majority of her wisdom could be classified as ironclad, she has been known to pass down a few old wives' tales now and then, bless her heart.
I vividly remember the day my mother shrieked in panic as my daughter lifted a can of soda to her mouth. My mom dashed across the room to stop the action. "Was there poison in the can?" I thought. Maybe my father had thrown trash into a seemingly empty vessel. To my astonishment, and something that my husband recants with glee, my mom explained, "Michelle, she’s just eaten a bag of Pop Rocks. If she drinks that, her stomach will explode!" I’m not kidding—this really happened.
As I'm reminded of this story often by my husband (way too often if he's reading this), I was struck by the thought, "How many of us are victims of urban legends and myths surrounding resumes?" Whether they were passed down and misinterpreted over time, held in common by the masses, or simply something that most hold to be true, there are many myths surrounding writing a resume—and now is the time to debunk these. Here are the most common myths, legends and old wives' tales that I've encountered over the years.
- One Page Only. This rule of thumb may have been applicable in the past, when all resumes were submitted in print. Today, unless you're a recent graduate, the use of two pages is perfectly acceptable to capture all of your accomplishments and background.
- One size fits all. Too often, a person raises their fingers from the keyboard and exclaims, "At last, my resume is complete!" They should be uttering, "At last, this resume is complete!" You should be customizing and tailoring a new resume for each position to which you apply. Not only will this align you to a particular organization and role, recruiters can tell, and they appreciate those who have taken the time to write a resume just for them and not simply submitted Ol' Trusty.
- A Great Resume = Job. Sure, part of the equation that goes into landing that dream job is a good resume, but your preparation and performance in the interview, ability to meld within an organization's culture, and the skills you bring to a particular role are the additional keys to ensuring you get hired. As my mother often said, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." In other words, make sure you don't skimp anywhere along the line within the hiring process.
- References Included. This is another legend that was part of the common resume in years past. The thought was that every recruiter and hiring manager was going to ask for these anyway, so why not include them? At some point in history, this morphed into, "References available upon request." Of course they’re available upon request, so why would you waste the space noting that? Yes, you should have a list of references ready and available, but the resume is not the place to include these, unless you're directed to do so within an application package.
- It's the Resume, Dummy! Your resume does hold great importance, and that's because it's a concise document that allows others to get a glimmer of YOU! It's not about the resume so much as the resume is about you. Building your experiences, skills, education and network are the ingredients that go into a great resume. Yes, formatting and the focus of your resume are important, but if you lack the right ingredients, there is no resume that will aide in your quest for that new career.
Finding that dream job is a goal that most of us have, because a meaningful career that provides personal pride and satisfaction is one of the keys to happiness. As you sit down to crank out your next resume, don't let myths get in the way of your aspirations. Save the tall tales for the weekends when you can give Sasquatch your full focus.
Michelle Kruse is the Recruitment Editor and Content Manager at ResumeEdge, where she manages a team of 40 professional resume writers to make sure her clients achieve career success. She has more than 10 years of hiring and recruiting experience for companies such as Novartis and IBM, in addition to a background in coaching and a master's in leadership development. When she’s not helping job seekers land their dream job, Michelle enjoys spending time with her three little girls, traveling the globe, and going to concerts.
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