Did You Fall for These Resume Myths?

No matter how much advice is published on the subject, some myths still circulate about the best way to write your resume. Fortunately, a lot has changed in resume writing and job search – and you can benefit from these new trends.

For example, you might have been told to keep your resume to a specified length or to always exclude certain types of information. Given how much has changed in the job market, many of these “rules” have fallen by the wayside.

Take a look at the longstanding myths and misconceptions about resume writing, then see which of these apply to your own resume:

1 – The Single-Page Resume Myth.

This legend never seems to die. Back when resumes were handled in hard-copy form, employers and recruiters admonished job seekers to keep their documents to a single page. Perhaps this made collecting all those pieces of paper easier, or maybe it was simpler to avoid typos when creating a one-pager.

No matter the reason, the one-page resume can now officially retire, particularly if you have more than 15 years of experience. Why? Not only will an employer’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) process a large amount of data from most resumes, but companies are also accustomed to resumes that exceed one page (particularly for executives).

You’ll also save the interviewer’s eyes by bumping the font to at least 10 points, rather than shrinking the text to fit into a too-tight, single-page document.

2 – The Job Description Resume Myth.

If you’ve ever read a job description, you know that “supports user communities and department stakeholders” is a dull and generic way to convey your duties. Yet, too many job seekers, from entry to executive-level candidates, rely on these canned, lengthy descriptions to show the breadth of their work.

It’s time to stop this myth in its tracks with a reminder that employers don’t hire your past job descriptions, they hire your capabilities, skills, and work style – hoping to find a candidate who will dive into new challenges and solve their business problems. As shown in this CEO resume, a list of core competencies (listed under Areas of Expertise) can convey relevant skills, while the Executive Performance Benchmarks adds attention-getting specifics of career achievements.

It’s your achievements, competencies, and career wins that need to take center stage on your resume, rather than stock phrases that could apply to anyone. Take the time to qualify your accomplishments with metrics (please!) that show exactly how much your work impacted the bottom line, rescued a critical project, or saved costs.

3 – The Resume Formatting Myth.

Nothing is harder to skim in the digital age than black-and-white, lackluster documents that do little to distinguish each candidate. Even worse, too many candidates use a stock resume template, making their resume format look like a last-minute decision.

Your best bet, however, is to take some time and care with the presentation of your resume, just as you would with any business document. While a tremendous amount of color is not a necessity, a touch of flair and emphasis on key words (shown in these resume examples for a CFO and Program Manager) can help set off important data.

If you want to push the envelope a bit further, consider giving your resume a powerful dose of graphics that showcase achievements. By honing in on the most valuable parts of your experience, your resume can “direct” employers to take note of these career wins.

4 – The “I Can’t Put THAT on My Resume” Myth.

The truth is, anything goes – as long as it qualifies you and gets the type of attention you deserve in your job search.

In years past, job seekers often left out the context of their achievements from the resume, fearing that the document would become too long. Now, you’ll benefit more from explaining just how you motivated the sales team or negotiated a new vendor discount, since these examples will reinforce your personal brand message.

To get in the right frame of mind for writing about your background, think in terms of the C-A-R (Challenge-Action-Result) format. By describing the situation you inherited (the Challenge), the steps you took to improve or resolve a problem (your Actions), and the outcome that benefited the company (the Result), you’ll present a stronger picture of leadership competency and agility.

Consider also that feedback from others, particularly notable leaders in your field, will underscore your message. By pulling in a quote or accolade, you’re giving employers a quick view of the reasons your contributions are valuable in a new role.

You can even explain a reason for leaving a past job (long considered taboo on a resume) by noting “Completed XYZ Project prior to company spin-off as a new division.

The bottom line: take a look at current resume trends and pay attention to resume writing ideas that fit your unique situation, rather than adhering to resume myths that could hold you back in your search.

Executive Resume Writer

Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.

My clients win interviews and top C-suite, EVP, VP, and Director positions at Fortune 500 firms, niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders, using powerhouse documents and executive job search techniques tailored to today’s job market.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.

– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC

 

How to Win Your Next Executive Job in 2017

executive_job_search_2017Seeking a change in your C-suite role, or rising to an executive position for the first time in 2017?

Your job search has changed – substantially.

If you haven’t kept abreast of the latest trends in executive job search, prepare to be surprised. For example, most CEOs, CFOs, and COOs eschewed the use of LinkedIn for many years. However, social media use has finally taken hold among executives, with the average CEO now possessing more than 900 connections on the site. In addition, most headhunters will now spend considerable time assessing your digital identity before presenting you to client companies.

While longstanding job search strategies, such relationship-building and networking, are still of value, many employers have now turned to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumes by keyword density and skills matching. You’ll also find a constantly expanding group of online resources at your fingertips for nearly every topic from company research to executive interview tips.

Read on for important trends and actions of impact to your 2017 executive job search: Continue reading “How to Win Your Next Executive Job in 2017”

3 Phrases That Kill The Effectiveness of Your Executive Resume

Want to distinguish your leadership brand among competing candidates?

Then ditch the boring language you’ve seen on other executive resumes.

Just because other resumes (both professionally created and self-written) employ a blend of monotonous, overused words doesn’t mean you have to follow suit.

Shake things up and inject some power into your personal brand message by refusing to add these mundane descriptors to your executive resume: Continue reading “3 Phrases That Kill The Effectiveness of Your Executive Resume”

The 5 Most Worthless Phrases in Your LinkedIn Headline

LinkedIn HeadlineYour LinkedIn Headline is arguably the most important piece of real estate within your Profile.
Yet, many LinkedIn users remain confused how to best use the Headline or how to optimize it for maximum site traffic.

LinkedIn’s search algorithm ranks your Headline as the top indexed field in your Profile (second only to your name). In other words, out of all the data on your Profile, this field is weighted most heavily in user searches.

Therefore, you’ll want to consider carefully what you use in this field (and avoid using the default value, which is your current job title).

In addition, your Headline is first piece of information others will see when communicating with you! You only have to navigate LinkedIn briefly to see other Headlines displayed prominently under their names in nearly every part of the site.

Here, then, is a list of the most meaningless words you can put in your Headline (unfortunately, these were found in actual Profiles), plus some suggestions for stronger alternatives:
Continue reading “The 5 Most Worthless Phrases in Your LinkedIn Headline”

Executive Resume Trends for 2017

 

executive_resume_trends_2017If 2017 is anything like 2016, we’ll be bombarded with sound bites, powerful memes, and intense communications messages.

And by incorporating these concepts into your resume (even in a conservative field), you can use the same methods to make a powerful impression on employers.

No matter your industry or position, employers and recruiters will be performing a fast scan of your executive resume to get a feel for your credentials, career history, and social media presence.

Make their job easier by following 2017 resume trends, ensuring you’re making your mark and taking the best opportunity to shine among your job-searching competition:  Continue reading “Executive Resume Trends for 2017”

5 Executive Resume Writing Secrets Used by Experts

cropped-executive_resume_writing.jpgStarting to write your executive resume?

You might feel overwhelmed by the amount of information needed to produce a standout document – especially if you have decades of experience to cover.

I recommend taking a step back to look at your value proposition and contributions from throughout your career, framing your story step by step. Not only will this aid you in writing your resume succinctly and clearly, but you’ll be in better shape when it comes to fielding interview questions.

Consider using these 5 tactics to mine for career and personal branding in an executive career (the same steps employed by professional resume experts): Continue reading “5 Executive Resume Writing Secrets Used by Experts”

How to Choose the Right LinkedIn Photo

cropped-linkedin_photo.jpgSo you’ve filled in your LinkedIn Profile information, with solid Summary, Experience, and Education sections.

What’s next? A great headshot that exudes leadership qualities, conveys confidence, and makes employers eager to meet you.

If you’re unsure how to select a photo for your LinkedIn Profile, you have plenty of company. Many job seekers pull in a hastily cropped family photograph or select a picture with a vacation scene, rather than taking the time to use the right LinkedIn headshot. However, just like your best interview suit or a powerfully written Profile, a positive, personality-infused LinkedIn photo can make a great first impression.

These tips will help you avoid a LinkedIn photo disaster (especially the kind that turns off potential employers): Continue reading “How to Choose the Right LinkedIn Photo”