It’s no secret that the job market is competitive. With so many people vying for a limited number of jobs, it’s important to put your best foot forward on your resume.
Many job seekers are landing interviews with great success by tailoring their resumes and using the techniques that today’s recruiters prefer. Unfortunately, some pieces of outdated advice floating around can hurt your chances of getting hired. One way to increase your chances of getting hired is to avoid resume advice that’s no longer common or relevant.
Bad Resume Advice Most People Believe
This article will discuss six ways your current resume is not working for today’s recruiters. We’ll go over each one and give examples on how to improve it so recruiters are drawn in with every line they read – all without breaking any resume “rules” or hurting your chances!
1. Using an Objective Statement Instead of a Summary
First impressions are crucial, and your resume is your first chance to make one. Many job seekers make the mistake using an objective statement at the top of their resume instead of a summary of qualifications. But what’s the difference?
A resume objective is a short statement that explains what you’re looking for in your next job, while a resume summary is an overview of your professional accomplishments so far. In other words, including an objective statement tells the recruiters what you want, while a resume summary shows them what you’ve done.
Objective statements used to be common, but they’re outdated and ineffective because your job search is not really about what you want. It’s about what you can offer the company. That’s why you should include a summary as the first major section of your resume, following your contact information and heading.
When writing your resume, it is important to quickly show your top qualifications and how they align with the company’s needs. It’s especially important to do that at the top of your resume, so don’t waste your time with an outdated objective statement – a summary is the way to go.
Another tip: Use keywords that match the job you’re applying for, and make sure to target your resume to the position you’re seeking. (Read more about that in tip #3.)
2. Including Your Full Address on Your Resume
The job application process has evolved dramatically since potential employers needed your complete mailing address. Including unnecessary information on your resume can work against you and your full mailing address is one piece of information that’s no longer necessary.
Including your full address on your resume can be a privacy concern, in addition to wasting valuable space on your concise 1-2 page document. If the company needs your mailing address, they will ask for it.
However, it is still vital to include your city and state in your confirmation. You should tailor your resume to each job you apply for, and that includes using location keywords within your resume to strengthen your chances of landing a job within a specific geographic area.
For example, if you’re applying for a job in Brooklyn but live in New Jersey, including a note like “(Applying to Brooklyn, NY)” will help you appear in search results when recruiters look for qualified candidates in the area.
3. Sending in the Exact Same Resume to Multiple Jobs Instead of Tailoring It
Your job searches in past decades might have involved mailing or emailing one singular resume to 100 companies. Those days are long gone.
In today’s overcrowded job market, it’s important to take the time to tailor your resume for each position you apply for. You need to stand out among potentially hundreds of other people who are applying, and that’s impossible if you use the same information to apply to jobs with different descriptions. Sending the same resume for every job is a wasted opportunity to show a company why you’re the best candidate for the position.
When you tailor your resume, you can include relevant keywords, experiences, and qualifications that match the job description, and remove content that doesn’t. You can also provide a resume summary specific to the position you’re applying for.
Tailoring your resume is not only essential for impressing the recruiter in their quick scan of it, but also to ensure it comes up when the recruiter searches for qualified candidates in their Applicant Tracking System (ATS), improving your chances.
4. Including Your References or “References Available Upon Request.”
Though references are an important part of getting hired, including references is a piece of outdated resume advice that’s unnecessary. Many recruiters won’t even ask for references until they’ve decided to extend an offer, and including them on your resume takes up valuable space.
If a potential employer wants your references, they will ask for them. If they’re called for in the job posting or you’re asked for them later, you can send them in a separate document along with your application or in an email response. Use that valuable resume real estate to show off your skills and qualifications instead of listing every previous client or company you’ve ever worked with.
It is best to have a reference list (of three or four professional references – however many they ask for) sent in as a separate document along with your resume or job application. Include each reference’s name, title, company, and contact information on the list.
Absolutely not! Including a “References Upon Request” line on your resume implies that you either don’t have any references to offer or lack the initiative to include them along with your application. Not to mention, it also wastes space – even a single line can count on a resume.
5. Keeping it to One Page No Matter What (or Going Over Two Pages)
Keeping your resume on one page used to be seen as a job search commandment. In recent years, however, two-page resumes have become accepted or even preferred from some candidates if they’re truly necessary to show all your relevant experience.
When your resume is only one page long, it can be challenging to include all of your qualifications and experiences if you have 10+ years of experience – we typically recommend two-page resumes for those job seekers.
However, when you go over two pages, you run the risk of your resume looking cluttered and unprofessional. It’s important only to include the most relevant information on your resume, and if you have to go over two pages, you’ve included too much information. (Note that this excludes academic CVs, federal resumes, and certain C-level executive resumes in rare cases.)
If you have a lot of experience to include, focus on only the most recent positions and experiences. When in doubt, focus on quality over quantity and only present information that will really help you get the job.
6. Only Using Black and White
It’s not unprofessional to use color in your resume – you don’t have to stick to only black-and-white anymore.
In fact, while not every resume needs color, certain designs without color can look bland and uninteresting. Adding a simple splash of color can help your resume stand out, and it can also help you show off your personality.
When choosing colors, it’s important to use colors associated with the industry you’re applying to or your personal brand. For example, blue is often used in resumes because it is seen as a professional color.
Adding color to your resume can help you make a good impression, but be careful not to go overboard. Stick to one or two colors and use them sparingly. Too much color can be overwhelming, and it can take away from the content of your resume.
There’s a lot of resume advice floating out in the internet, but these are some outdated pieces of resume advice that you should avoid.
Tailor your resume, use color strategically, leave off references, your full address, and an objective statement, and keep it to one or two pages. These tips will help your resume stand out and get you hired!