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Resumes: Four Myths Debunked

April 09, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 152

Myth: If this résumé is really good, it'll get me a job.

Fact: Your résumé can get you an interview, period. Once you're sitting in that chair, wearing your professional best, it's up to you to breathe color and energy into your qualifications. I'm sure there are a small handful of random people who've landed jobs purely from the contents of their résumé, but I've never one.

Myth: I just graduated high school, I don't need a résumé.

Fact: You're probably right, you don't need a résumé. However, writing one and giving it to prospective employers can really make you stand out among other applicants, a skill you may need your entire working life. If you performed well in your classes, did volunteer work, and participated in clubs and sports, don't be shy about your achievements. The summer after I graduated, I could not find a job anywhere, and while it didn't occur to me to write a résumé, I wonder if it would have helped. I'll always remember one of my teachers telling us, "You're all lovely, but you're unskilled." When you're a relatively unskilled person competing with hordes of other relatively unskilled people, you need to distinguish yourself.

Myth: I stayed home with my kids for five years- I need to pretend I did something résumé-worthy during that time, right?

Fact: First, don't "pretend" or stretch the truth. It'll probably come back to bite you, and even if it doesn't, you'll always have a nagging worry in the back of your head. If you held a volunteer post or did freelance or consulting work relevant to the position you seek, definitely include it. But don't try to play up something just so you don't have a gap on your résumé. You can also think about using a functional format, which would highlight your qualifications while downplaying your time out of the workforce. Chronological résumés are preferable, but functional résumés will put immediate focus on your skills.

Myth: My résumé is five pages long- is that acceptable?

Fact: Unless you're ninety years old and on your third career, in which case, yay for longevity. For everyone else, I'd recommend no more than two pages. And if you have two pages, make sure everything on those two pages is significant and relevant to the position you seek. Be mindful of anything that might be viewed as filler. For example, volunteering is great, but listing every organization you've ever given time to may be a bit much. And potential employers won't be interested in your needlepoint hobby or flyfishing skills. If it doesn't enhance your qualifications, leave it off. For most people, one to two pages is sufficient.

Tracy Derrell is a New York-based writer, specializing in résumés for teachers, career changers, and parents returning to the work force. She can be reached at

Source: EzineArticles
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