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 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”

3 Ways to Update Your LinkedIn Profile on The Sly

linkedin profile update

Want to use LinkedIn for your job search, but afraid that your employer will find out?

Worried that your boss or colleagues will react to changes in your Profile?

You probably know there’s no way to make your LinkedIn Profile 100% private; however, these tips will help you update LinkedIn during your job search – without giving yourself away: Continue reading “3 Ways to Update Your LinkedIn Profile on The Sly”

What Does Your LinkedIn Photo Say About Your Executive Brand?

executive linkedin photoAfter seeing too many executive photos on LinkedIn that look like a hunting party or golf club outing, I have to ask:

What message are you trying to send with your headshot?

Omitting a LinkedIn photo isn’t a good idea, because many users prefer to connect with others who’ve provided an image.

However, if your headshot makes others reluctant to network with you or persuades recruiters to pass you by, it’s worth a second look. Ask yourself these questions to gauge the effectiveness of your Profile photo:

Continue reading “What Does Your LinkedIn Photo Say About Your Executive Brand?”

How to Write a CFO Resume That Reflects Your Leadership Brand

cropped-financialteam.jpgPursuing your next step up the career ladder as CFO or Controller?

Your CFO resume must connect the dots from tactical details, such as financial reporting or systems, to strategic advisor and CEO partner.

By showing examples of strategic decision-making and forecasting, IT oversight, performance recommendations, and Board influence, your CFO resume will position you to compete against other contenders for a C-suite role.

Here’s how to present your value proposition on a powerful, effective CFO resume: Continue reading “How to Write a CFO Resume That Reflects Your Leadership Brand”

Resume Writing Trends for Executives & Professionals

LinkedIn Profile OptimizationRunning a job search – but using resume writing trends from the past?

You’ll find yourself at a disadvantage in today’s aggressive job market.

Plenty of job seeking activities have changed over the past decade… and your executive resume needs to keep pace with them.

Job seekers in 2017 and beyond must develop and leverage a personal brand message throughout each aspect of their resumes, social media activities, cover letters, and LinkedIn Profiles.

To ensure your resume and job search activity aligns with the latest resume writing trends, take note of these 5 critical elements: Continue reading “Resume Writing Trends for Executives & Professionals”

3 Executive Resume Mistakes You’re Making Right Now

Executive resume mistakes

Trying to catch a break in the competitive market for executive talent? Your resume MUST be on par with the branded, value-driven documents used by other leaders.

As an executive expecting to make your mark, you’ll need to avoid the typical (yet major-league) resume writing errors that can put you at a disadvantage.

Sharpen your approach and position yourself as a contender by checking your executive resume against these too-common resume writing mistakes: Continue reading “3 Executive Resume Mistakes You’re Making Right Now”