Resume Misconceptions – What a Resume is Not

1. A document that reflects your personality: Unless you’re in the performing arts or involved in a creative industry, a resume should err on the conservative side — no designer fonts or unusual designs.

2. An exhaustive listing of everything you’ve done: Recruiters and Hiring Managers want recent experience, not all experience. The rule of thumb is to go back 10 years for IT professionals and no more than 15 years for those in other industries. Ideally, a resume should not be longer than 2 pages.

3. A document that tells the recruiter or hiring manager what you want: Recruiters and Hiring Managers are interested in what you can bring to their organizations in terms of performance — increasing profits or reducing costs. What you want (your objective) is secondary.

4. A document that will guarantee an interview or job offer: A resume is the beginning of your job search. It cannot guarantee the end result. No matter how well your accomplishments are detailed and your data presented, if your background doesn’t closely match the requirements of the job, you will not be called in for an interview

5. A one-size-fits-all document: Certainly, there are basic standards for all resumes, such as page length and data prioritization/organization. However, your background is unique and needs to be presented to showcase your skills, not fit a general template designed for everyone.

6. A document that will please your spouse, parents, colleagues, etc.: The only audience that matters is Recruiters and Hiring Managers. Relatives, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances may be well-meaning, but they are not experts in resume writing. They may tell you to add hobbies, when you should not – or include personal data when it’s not required.

7. A document that is perfect in every way: Organization of data and showcasing accomplishments are what matter most in a resume as does language and tone (be professional at all times). Recruiters and Hiring Managers are looking for hard skills that you can bring to their organization, not whether you used the word ‘oversaw’ rather than ‘managed’.