10 Things HR Won't Tell You About Your Resume

Condensed from Reader's Digest Magazine, April 2011

Use key words and not colored paper -- plus other resume tips from potential employers.

1. "Once you're unemployed more than six months, you're considered pretty much unemployable. We assume that other people have already passed you over, so we don't want anything to do with you."

Cynthia Shapiro, former human resources executive and author of 'Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn't Want You to Know'


2. "When it comes to getting a job, who you know really does matter. No matter how nice your resume is or how great your experience may be, it's all about connections."

HR director at a health-care facility


3. "If you're trying to get a job at a specific company, often the best thing to do is to avoid HR entirely. Find someone at the company you know, or go straight to the hiring manager."

Shauna Moerke, an HR administrator in Alabama who blogs at hrminion.com


4. "People assume someone's reading their cover letter. I haven't read one in 11 years."

HR director at a financial services firm


5. "We will judge you based on your e-mail address. Especially if it's something inappropriate like kinkyboots101@hotmail.com or johnnylikestodrink@gmail.com."

Rich DeMatteo, a recruiting consultant in Philadelphia


6. "If you're in your 50s or 60s, don't put the year you graduated on your resume."

HR professional at a midsize firm in North Carolina


7. "There's a myth out there that a resume has to be one page. So people send their resume in a two-point font. Nobody is going to read that."

HR director at a financial services firm


8. "I always read resumes from the bottom up. And I have no problem with a two-page resume, but three pages is pushing it."

Sharlyn Lauby, HR consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.


9. "Most of us use applicant-tracking systems that scan resumes for key words. The secret to getting your resume through the system is to pull key words directly from the job description and put them on. The more matches you have, the more likely your resume will get picked and actually seen by a real person."

Chris Ferdinandi, HR professional in the Boston area


10. "Resumes don't need color to stand out. When I see a little color, I smirk. And when I see a ton of color, I cringe. And walking in and dropping off your resume is no longer seen as a good thing. It's actually a little creepy."

Rich DeMatteo


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