ATS

9 Resume Myths that Piss Me Off

Me when I hear some of the advice people are getting about resume writing.

Me when I hear some of the advice people are getting about resume writing.

There is a lot of misinformation floating around regarding what is acceptable in resumes and what isn’t. What frustrates me most is that there are people out there sharing this “advice” as fact, and other people, out of fear, are taking that advice seriously.

Last week, I was chatting with my friend’s colleague and we got on the subject of resumes. Here’s what she said:

“I need to update my resume because I know you’re only supposed to use 3 bullet points per job now.”


WRONG.

But, it isn’t this person’s fault. There’s bad advice EVERYWHERE. I hear of from friends, clients, and even online.

And I’m hear to put a stop to it.

I am a reliable source. 

  • I’m a Certified Resume Strategist with the Career Professionals of Canada. 

  • I’ve had samples of my resumes evaluated in 2019 by fellow Certified Resume Writers this who called my work “exceptionally strong”.

  • I also review hundreds of resumes per year as a hiring manager.

If you can’t trust my advice... who can you trust?

(As you can see, the title wasn’t an exaggeration... I really am pissed... yay emotions!)


Now for the helpful part...


The Myths:

1. Your Resume has to be One Page

Unless you’re applying to a job that specifically asks, then no, there is no rule about page count. The goal is to show the hiring manager that you will be good at all the things they need you to be good at. For most of you, that’s going to take more than one page.

If they don’t ask for a specific page count, here’s my suggestion: write a two page resume, unless you are a student or new grad (one page should suffice for you), or you are an executive and/or have 15+ years experience (you could afford three pages).


2. Limit Bullet Points to 3 per Job

There is no limit on bullet points per job. It’s all about prioritizing how you use your space. Typically, your most relevant jobs will use more bullet points than less relevant ones. 

*I’ll often include 6-8 bullet points for the most recent job and then 2-3 for older ones.

My advice is to use as much space as you need to show them exactly what you did, as long as it’s relevant to what they’ll want you to be able to do for them.


3. Your Current Job should be Written Exclusively in Present Tense

Yes, when you’re describing the job duties which you currently do on a daily or yearly basis, you should use present tense. But if you’re writing about accomplishments in that same role (which you should be), then those should be written in past tense (because you already accomplished them).


4. You Only Need One Resume

It’s true, you only need one Master Resume, but you should have several slightly different versions for each job you’re applying to. You should be carefully looking at each job posting, identifying what they need you to do in that role, and then tweaking your resume to highlight those skills.

Also, if you have any branding tools involved in your resume (headlines, values, career highlights, key skills) you should be altering those based on the job you’re apply to as well.



5. Its All About Keyword Matching

Using keywords is important but do not obsess over it. I had a client once who’s old resume was filled with nonsensical phrases that had nothing to do with his actual experience. He was proud he had scored an 86% on Jobscan (God, I hate Jobscan), but was confused why he hadn’t gotten a callback for a job in 3 years.

Remember this... easily comprehensible resumes are important and honest resumes are even more important. 

Also, if you overuse keywords, automated scanners are going to dismiss you for “keyword stuffing”.



6. You Need a Pretty, Modern-Looking Resume in 2019

I honestly wish this one were true. There are so many beautiful resume templates out there but sadly, we have the dreaded Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to compete with.

Most ATS scanners aren’t sophisticated enough to pick up on things like multiple columns, graphics, or even creative headings. Sadly, the truth is, a simple resume format is the most effective. Sorry, buddy.



7. Bullet Points Should Only Be One Line

WRITE THIS DOWN —> A good bullet point needs: at least one action verb, specific/quantifiable detail on what YOU did, and a tangible result of this action. 

If you can fit that in one line, great. If it takes two, that’s fine as well. If it takes three... it better be a very important accomplishment, otherwise, try writing it more concisely. 

Most bullet points I write are two lines.



8. If I Practice for Interviews, I Will Come Off as Rehearsed and Not Genuine

Sorry, I know this one’s not resume related but it makes me so mad so I’m including it.

This one’s wrong for three reasons:

  1. You don’t have the exact questions they’re going to ask so there’s no way to practice word-for-word. 

  2. You’re just practicing the skill of responding to questions so that you can formulate a nice cohesive interview answer.

  3. Contrary to this theory, the more you practice, the more natural you start to sound. Unless you want those oh-so-natural long-awkward pauses and non-nonsensical repetitive answers to be what they remember you for. I’ve interviewed hundreds of people and it’s easy to tell who has practiced and who hasn’t.

I know practicing seems scary (which is the real reason people don’t do it), but you should be a lot more scared of going into an interview without any practice.



9. You have 6-10 Seconds to Catch Someone’s Eye with Your Resume

I’m not debunking this one, so much as telling you that it’s pretty much true

This is why branding, and an easy-to-read layout are critical. 


Need help updating your resume and launching your career to the next level? HIT ME UP!




“400” people apply to every online job posting: 3 ways you can rise above them

4-minute read

Job Search Advice

Applying to jobs has never been easier. Find job online, upload resume and cover letter, repeat. Find, upload, repeat… repeat… repeat.

With the lack of effort required to submit a job application, it's not surprising that every study about the job market seems to reveal that an average of 400 people (or another intimidatingly high number) apply to each online job posting and that getting an interview is about as hard as getting into Hogwarts. In my hiring and recruiting experience, I have certainly have seen huge numbers of applicants for particular jobs; however, the numbers do not tell the whole story…  

What these statistics don’t capture is that the majority of these applications are, to put it delicately… "Weak Sauce". I know it sounds harsh, but most applications are straight-up incomplete. Those that are complete are typically generic. An “I’m scared-for-the-future-of-civilization-ily” large percentage of job seekers are simply trying to apply to as many jobs as possible, seemingly without the intention of ever getting one.

Because it is so easy to submit an application (a couple clicks and “voila”, right?) most applicants don't put in the requisite effort to get real consideration from a hiring manager. Their applications aren't being read and it's like they never applied in the first place. So rather than competing against 400 over-achieving Hermoine Grangers, the "real" applicant pool is more likely around 20-40. Seems a lot more doable now doesn't it?

So please don’t be intimidated when you hear those daunting numbers about how many people apply to every job online. The people publishing those statistics are just trying to scare you. But you are awesome! And when you’re really interested in an opportunity, you will put in the work and get yourself into the upper tier of candidates!

 

So, how do I rise above?

It might take a bit more time to apply to each job, but if you apply these steps, it won't take nearly as long to land something great!

  1. Target your resume: Comb the job posting for key words pertaining to the duties you'll be fulfilling and be sure to include each of those 2-3 times in your resume. Also, make sure the most relevant work you've done is featured prominently!

  2. Write a customized cover letter: Include why you'd like to do this job specifically and why you'd like to work at this company. Make them feel special (they better be special if you’re going to spend 40 hours per week there). Let them know you applied to this job for a reason!

  3. Look for additional requirements: Some applications will ask for a sample of your work, an answer to a short essay question, or even a transcript verifying your education. Missing these requirements is a one-way ticket to the “No” pile.

If you're serious about the job to which you are applying, I know you're will put as much care and effort into your application as you would on the job itself! If you do, the hiring manager will notice and you'll rise to the top of the pile :)