Maybe you have already purchased a professionally written résumé, but you have some doubts about the document you received. Unfortunately, the résumé-writing industry gets a bad rap sometimes simply because there is a lot of misinformation out there. And, truthfully, sometimes résumé writers don’t do the best job of explaining their strategy to the client. Not to mention, all the different opinions that seem to prevail out there, from our friends, online resources, recruiters, coworker, etc.
In an attempt to rectify that, I have listed here some of the main areas of confusion and the real deal behind them:
1. There are a lot of rules to writing a résumé.
Writing a résumé is part science and part art. Although there are some general guidelines, honestly, there is a lot of wiggle room too. Often people get all caught up in worrying about the fine points that they miss the overall target and strategy. Big mistake! There is no one path to landing an interview, and you don’t want to either confine your résumé to one way of thinking (i.e., yours) or work with a writer who only has one way of doing things.
2. The main goal of the résumé is to get you a job.
A résumé is a tool that you use to present your background to a specific audience, which will help you to secure interviews. Nothing more. The only thing that gets you a job is you.
Think of it this way. If you build a box out of wood, when it is finished, you don’t say “the saw made it.” Instead, you say that “I made it using a good saw.” The same is true for the résumé. It is important to get a good one, but it is equally as important to use it well.
3. A résumé is all about the job seeker.
Here is where the résumé writer-client relationship can go south fast. Clients typically want documents that appeal to them, thinking that if it appeals to them, it will appeal to an employer. However, that is not necessarily true. Although résumé writers want their clients to be happy with what they see, they mostly want their résumés to be effective, to meet that goal we outlined in #3. Therefore, to serve the client the best, the writer is really thinking about the potential employer, the reader of the résumé.
That is why writing your own résumé can be a disaster. Sometimes we think because we have been in a hiring position before that we best know how to market ourselves on paper. After all, we know what we liked to see. The problem is that it is very difficult to look at yourself objectively and to think of you as a hiring manager would.
4. Résumés should be colorful and flashy OR résumés should be traditional and conservative.
REALLY? SAYS WHO?
Somewhere along the line, rumors have seriously distorted people’s perceptions of what a résumé should look like. Many job seekers (and even some résumé writers) lean one way or another. They either want graphics, color, and flash, or they want chronological obituaries.
By and large, flashy résumés have not really proven to be anymore effective than traditional obits. Both can seriously hurt a candidate’s chances.
So does this mean you can’t use color or get creative with a two-column masterpiece?
No, but a solid résumé must accomplish 3 things: (1) Utilize strong writing skills with solid action verbs, (2) organize the candidate’s information in such a way that a clear picture of the candidate is revealed (scope of knowledge and responsibility), and (3) be attractive without being offensive.
We all like things that look nice, but color isn’t what sells a candidate. Let the “wow” factor be in the strategy employed and the quality of the writing.
On the other side of things, however, don’t be so rigid that you force the writer to prepare a cookie-cutter résumé (Times New Roman, 10-pt, with lots of bullets!!). You’ll just end up with something nondescript, that looks like it came from a Word résumé template, and is not much better than anyone with decent grammar skills could produce.
5. The résumé should be full of buzzwords.
In today’s world of OCR scanning and online databases, job seekers are more aware than ever before that not having key terms embedded in their résumé could mean missing out on opportunities.
However, the problem with this issue is that résumés can quickly become nothing more than lists of terms and phrases. They don’t really say much about the candidate other than that he or she claims to know what these terms and phrases mean (or at least should know what they mean). And if you are not careful, you end up with nothing that really distinguishes you.
6. Every accomplishment listed should be backed up by a metric.
THAT WOULD BE GREAT IF IT WERE REALLY POSSIBLE.
This theory has been floated and tossed around so much in the résumé writing industry that you can certainly find a wide variety of opinions on the subject. The bottom line, however, is that not all accomplishments realistically can be quantified. There is no doubt that numbers are a key ingredient to any résumé, but setting some kind of “rule” that you must have a number to go with every bullet point or something like that is kind of ridiculous.
Furthermore, although hiring managers definitely like to see quantifiable results, let’s face it, numbers can be fudged and the data can be twisted so much that they say anything you want them to.
Our position at No Stone Unturned is that numbers should be used effectively and not just for the sake of using numbers. Hit ‘em with a good, solid punch, but don’t keep hitting ‘em…too many percentages, too many dollar signs, and pretty soon you’ve lost the effect of the punch…
NOTE: The same can be said for bullet lists. The idea of a bulleted list is to show emphasis. A résumé that is nothing more than a long list of bullets doesn’t emphasize anything. Just like you don’t want a big block of text, you also don’t want one bulleted list after another. So save your best for the bullets!
My company is called No Stone Unturned, and I am an MBA and certified professional résumé writer (CPRW). I have been a career consultant since 2002 with an additional 8 years of corporate hiring experience. You can check out my website that offers tools such as the No Nonsense Job Search Strategy guide and other Job Search Tips.
Article Source: Top 6 Common Résumé Misnomers
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Top 6 Common Résumé Misnomers