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

 

Take These Overused, Trite Words Off Your Executive Resume

Executive resume errorsIf you want to impress employers, don’t repeat the same tired words you’ve seen in other documents!

These terms can water down your personal brand message (and bore recruiters).

To ensure you’re piquing the interest of hiring authorities, scan your executive resume for these too-common words and phrases – and consider using more powerful replacements: Continue reading “Take These Overused, Trite Words Off Your Executive Resume”

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”

How to Write a CIO Resume for Interview-Winning Results

How to write a CIO resume

Aiming for a C-level or Director role leading an enterprise IT organization?

You’ve probably wondered how to transform your resume from a list of technical skills in order to reach the corner office.

How can you craft a brand message strong enough to get attention for a CIO, IT Director, or CTO role?

Working with CIO.com on an IT Director resume makeover, I spent time with Richard Hein, Managing Director, answering this very question. Surprisingly, it’s often business acumen (more so than tech skills) that attracts hiring authorities… and with CIO.com’s candidate, business alignment was clearly the focus of his career.

To obtain these results, I recommend taking a step back from the typical list of projects, protocols, and programs usually featured on an IT resume, using a fresh eye to show how your achievements met business needs.

These 4 powerful tips for how to write a CIO resume (or IT Director resume) will help you shape a brand-driven, compelling document that elicits action from employers: Continue reading “How to Write a CIO Resume for Interview-Winning Results”

Will Your Executive Resume Make the Grade?

Do you need an executive resume writing service?As a writer who works with executives on a daily basis, I see many different types of “before” resumes – some good, some not so much.

Invariably, the question arises as I talk to executive job hunters: Is my resume really THAT bad?

Do I really need to work on it, or will it just need a few tweaks? What could I possibly need to change? (… and so on).

Even if your executive resume was already professionally written, you may still have doubts about its effectiveness (especially if you didn’t go through a deep-dive analysis of your personal brand).

Look at your executive resume objectively for a few minutes, then answer these 7 questions to determine whether it needs an overhaul: Continue reading “Will Your Executive Resume Make the Grade?”

The 5 Essentials of a Powerful VP Sales Resume

VP Sales Resume SampleWant to be considered for a coveted Vice President of Sales role – with a leadership resume that promotes you far above a Sales Manager or Director?

You’ll face an uphill battle if you rely solely on the same metrics and quota figures that nailed your current position.

Here’s why: employers assume that a VP-level sales leader will have already mastered the art of building relationships, training sales teams, and exceeding objectives. Most Sales Managers or Directors aiming for the VP slot have proven that they can close deals and surpass expectations!

What your resume REALLY needs to make it past the gatekeeper for a VP Sales job are these 5 elements, strategically positioned on your executive resume to illustrate your readiness to take the helm of an entire Sales organization: Continue reading “The 5 Essentials of a Powerful VP Sales Resume”

How to Write Your Resume When You’re NOT The Perfect Candidate

Man with gaps in work history or no college degree

If your career trajectory contains a few speed bumps (such as a gap in work history or job hopping), you’re among the multitudes in this job market.

Given the state of economic affairs over the past few years, most job seekers don’t fit the classic picture of a “stable” work history at a single employer the way they once did.

I recently sat down with Jacquelyn Smith of Forbes.com to discuss ways of dealing with a not-so-perfect career history for What To Do When Your Resume Looks Like Bad News, reiterating that problematic job situations can often be overcome with just a few key changes to your resume.

Here’s how to address common “sticky” situations (ones that seem to trip up even the most well-qualified job seekers):

Job Gaps

A period of unemployment is no longer an automatic red flag to many employers. Therefore, you’ll want to be as up front and concise as possible when dealing with a gap.

Continue reading “How to Write Your Resume When You’re NOT The Perfect Candidate”