Resume Writing Advice That You Should Ignore

resumeOver the years as a career professional, I've had clients tell me about some pretty bad resume writing advice they have received. Here are the top five pieces of advice that I believe all job seekers should ignore.


  1. List your most recent employment as current even if your employment has been terminated. This advice probably stems from the fact that people believe they are more desirable to an employer if they are currently employed. But employment dates can be checked with one phone call. Why jeopardize your credibility by showcasing inaccurate information? Honesty is still the best policy. A better strategy is to include a brief description of why you are no longer employed (i.e. downsizing, office closing, etc.)

  2. Omit graduation dates. Some people think that if you omit your graduation date you eliminate the chances of the reader figuring out your age. Maybe, but at the same time, leaving this information off might lead them to conclude that you are trying to hide your age and this will raise a red flag. So by leaving the dates off, you are actually calling more attention to the very thing you are trying to distract your reader from. Be transparent. Include graduation dates. If the reader truly has a bias against your candidacy because of your age, this probably isn't the right company for you. If you are concerned about potential age bias, research the companies that hire older workers and target those employers directly.

  3. Include all hobbies. A better strategy is to only include hobbies that have relevance to your job target. Most hiring authorities don't really care if you enjoy reading and cooking. But if you have a hobby that you are passionate about that correlates to the job you are applying for, then I say go for it.

  4. Be sure to keep your resume to one page. Whether your resume is one page or 30 pages, no one is actually reading it. They are scanning it to quickly determine your value proposition and potential fit within their organization. Focus on making that clear on either one or two pieces of paper. Include a headline that showcases your professional identity, a profile that communicates the big picture of what you can do for an employer, an areas of expertise section that details your skills, and themed competency categories that focus on your most important accomplishments.

  5. Eliminate jobs you held more than 15 years ago. Most hiring authorities and recruiters in particular will want to know the whole chronology. If you have an extensive career history, focus on the past 15 years of employment and create a separate, abbreviated category for your early experience. But don't act like that early part of your life never happened.

Next: Does Your Interview Look Like a Bad American Idol Audition?


Filed under: Resume Tips, Resumes
Barbara Safani

Barbara Safani

Editor

Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, has over fifteen years of experience in career management, recruiting, executive coaching, and organizational development.

Barbara partners with both Fortune 100 companies and individuals to deliver targeted programs focusing on resume development, job search strategies, networking, interviewing, salary negotiation skills, and online identity management.

She is the author of Happy About My Resume: 50 Tips For Building a Better Document to Secure a Brighter Future and #JOBSEARCHtweet and her award-winning resumes are featured in dozens of career-related publications.

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Jason M.

A great list of tips! You can also use a Resume Example to help you get started in writing yours.

April 04 2010 at 7:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris

What do you think about affirmative action. On that piece of paper I am disclosing my age, my birthday. I don't care about race, disabled but it's the age that bothers me the most. when a prospective employer sees my age they will toss my resume.

March 16 2010 at 6:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nero

What was the point of saying skateboarding with my immigrant friend...you comment actually sounded intelligent until that..i know you would easily get looked over fucking racist

March 11 2010 at 1:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mehh83

what type of positions are you applying too?

March 10 2010 at 9:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tese42s

What is a resume?

March 09 2010 at 4:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kit

Gee, what ever happened to age discrimination being against the law? Target companies that hire older workers? WHY in this age of ALL companies discriminating and getting away with it? You just gave them even more credence to do so with your less than intelligent remark about targeting the companies that don't discriminate. What next? Anti women? SHAME on the business world for throwing away those over 45 years of age. I hope they all rot in hades.

March 09 2010 at 2:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alphaboo

Hey let us be real here. A large company runs the gament from not attractive compentent to not attractive fireballs of workers to very attractive place holders who don't last long so ask them out before they are gone to beautiful compentent workers to beautiful fireball and the same goes for the people who are average in looks. The only real study show that people slightly above average in height but not to tall tend to get a slightly hirer salary. Projecting confidence, compentdence and relaxed tends to get you the job once you have the interview. Little things help like follow-up lets but once you get that first interview unless you do something negative you have a good shot at getting the job unless your boss male or female is just trying to hire someone to get into their pants.

March 09 2010 at 12:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
john morgan

I'm a blue collar bum. Have been for forty years. I've watched as wages were cut in half or worse by inflation and executive salaries increased tenfold or more. NO company gives a dead rat about the "whole person" they're hiring. The only thing they want is the most profitable employee they can get. Your hobbies don't matter, your family doesn't matter. To anyone more than two pay grades above you, you're not even human you're just a clock jockey. No amount af extra effort will ever be rewarded and no good deed will go unpunished. Any HR dweeb who claims otherwise is a liar or a fool if he belives the company propaganda. The most nauseating HR people are the ones who want to be your buddy, then they hire their nephew because he was more qualified with six months experience than you were with twenty years.

March 09 2010 at 12:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to john morgan's comment
Dave

This is wordy, and it may not have much wit job hunting. but it is exactly why we are all looking for jobs.

Whatever happened to the times when an employer would hire you because they saw a good potential in you, believed that you would be around for a couple of decades, and reward you for doing a grear job?

Whatever happened to the times when a person would hire into a company full of vim and viengar, just chomping a the bit to show the boss and everyone above him/her that the employee was the best hire that the company ever had, and the employee went on to prove his/her worth?

The truth is, now adays, the employer hires you as cheaply as possible, assigns you a number, and puts it dowm in pencil so he/she can just erase it in a few months when they hire someone cheaper than you are. They do not care about five year projections, one year projections, or even six month projections. They just care about "What can you do for me..now?".

The other side of the truth is that, now adays, the employee does the intervies and almost immediately asks "how much does it pay and what are the benefits?". If the applicant is actually hired, they add their current position to their resume, ship it around, and wait for a better paying job...and all of this is before they get their first pay check !!!

So, like the chicken and the egg - what came first, the employer not giving a shit about the employees or the employees trying their best to screw the employer?

From my 40 years of work experience and observations, everything started going to hell around the early 1970s. During this timeframe company bosses (top level) started getting humungous bonuses for just living through the end of the year...not for producing any profits for the company. Over the next 10 years the mid-level management became seriously disgruntled because they saw the big bonuses and received nothing themselves, except for the blame if the to dog made some bad decisions. Their unhappiness started polluting themselves and everyoun under them, within the company.

During the 1980s the big business honchos started to think that it would be more profitable if they could make their products cheaper so they lobbied strenuously for Free Trade Agreements.
When papa George Bush was in his first term , he kept pushing for his "New World Order". (When his Vice-President was pressed for a defination of the "New World Order" during the campaign for his second term, Papa George's Vice-President actually stated in front of an ABC television camera, in Redding California, that:
"The New World Order is where international commerce can conduct business with a total disregard for geo-political boundaries."

This was broadcast on the local (Redding, Chico, and Eureka, CA) 11 p.m. news that evening at 11:04 p.m. At 11:20 p.m., I telephoned the broadcasting station and told them that I would like to buy a copy of the broadcast that was in progress. I was told: "I' sorry, but you will have to get a court order." and then they hung up on me.

Just what is the defination of Free Trade Agreements? It is exactly what the Vice-President defined as the New World Order !!!

Now, don't go blaming Republician papa George for all of the sins. Democrat Billy Bob Clinten continued where papa left off and Republican sonny George pretty much finished the program.

Now that the big power behind the scenes have all of their production factories shifted to other countries with no tarrifs or fees for bringing them into the U.S.A., they figure that the citizens of the U.S.A. can still buy the cheaper production cost products at the same prices that existed before the factories got moved. What these shit for brains dummies did not take into consideration was that they fired all of their domestic employees for the cheap labor around the world. No one in the good old U. S. of A. can afford the products at the "old prices" because they are either unemployed or drastically under employed... and broken financially emotionally, and physically. In fact we can not even afford to buy these defective products at a much lower price because we do not have any paychecks !!!

Getting back to the chicken and the egg...In this case the total disregard for employees by the "big guys" was the undisputeable cause of the current attitude of employees, which is "Fuck the bastards. We hope that they suffer from every plague on earth before they rot in hell !!!

I am saddened beyond words that what was once "Pride in Our Employees, their Workmanship, and pride in our Company" is an almost dead concept. I know that there are still some companies out there that have the old values and appreciations. If you are associated with one of these comppanies...Do everyt

April 03 2010 at 12:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shelley

resume is a pogo stick.

March 08 2010 at 11:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
narv

I once applied for a job. I listed as a favorite hobby that I like Murder. I wrote, "I like murder so that I can do a more accurate impression of that little kid in the movie "The Sixth Sense". Only My impression would be more vivid, for when I see dead people, I REALLY see dead people, for they are fresh kills. The job I applied for was playing the part of Jeffrey Dahmer in a documentary film. I was hired immediately.

March 08 2010 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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