5 Misconceptions Candidates Have About Resume Writing

Resume writing isn’t for everybody. In fact, the majority of the candidates I encounter struggle with the process. Not everyone’s a writer — that’s a given — but more often than not, candidates struggle with resume writing because there’s too much misinformation out there.

Think about it: One website says this; the other says that. At times, it’s nearly impossible to determine what’s true and what’s not, so to help channel candidates out, I’ve put together a short list of some of the top misconceptions about resume writing.

Condense it all to a page. At some point in your life (maybe even recently), someone has probably given you the following resume tip: “A resume should only be a page long.” Now, while you shouldn’t feel obligated to type up a novel for your prospective employer, there’s also no reason to sell yourself short, especially when you have plenty of accomplishments to show off.

That being said, there are times where using a one-page resume could be the best way to go. For example, let’s say you’re applying for an available T1 help desk technician position at a local MSP. A one-page resume would work well for you in this scenario. Hiring managers aren’t expecting much from candidates applying for entry-level positions, so by limiting what you put on your resume, you’re highlighting the main points for them.

You can rewrite your past. Nowadays, prospective employers run employment verification checks before extending offers, so it wouldn’t be wise to leave past positions off your resume. Sure, short stints on your resume could raise flags for a hiring manager, but from what I’ve seen over the years, keeping short stints on your resume is the best way to go. Be honest with prospective employers. Try your best to alleviate concerns about short stints on your resume. Prove to them you’re reliable and a committed employee. Want to know what’s worse than short stints on your resume? Getting caught in a lie by the hiring manager interviewing you — that’s way worse.

Add a colorful design. Remember: Your resume is a professional document. It should be clean, polished and neat, but also, it shouldn’t be flashy. Keep the dramatic fonts and colors for children’s birthday cards. Graphics shouldn’t overshadow your skills.

Think about how you’d dress up for an interview. You’d put on a neutral color suit, a light blue or white dress shirt, and a necktie. Your attire would be more formal — business formal, specifically. Your resume design should follow suit (no pun intended).

Don’t worry about their, there and they’re. I see misspelled words and poor grammar on resumes all the time. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to detail. These careless resume errors will more than likely cost you jobs — even if the skills outlined in your resume are desirable to the hiring manager reading it. Many employers can’t look past these errors.

Besides signaling your lack of attention to detail, sloppy resume writing could raise another flag to hiring managers. You don’t want them asking the following question: “Does this person really want this job?” Don’t dig yourself a hole from the get-go.

So, how do you avoid sloppy resume writing? Easy, pay attention to detail. A good tip is to read your resume out loud to yourself a few times. This will help you pick up on any errors your brain might have passed over while reading over the resume the first time.

Keep the stint at Carvel on your resume. Only put down relevant job experiences on your resume. For example, if you’re applying for a T1 cloud support technician position with a CSP, your work experience should highlight instances of where you’ve performed troubleshooting of systems and servers and minimal networking components. Past experiences should show hiring managers why you’re qualified for the job you’re applying for, not for another job opening in an entirely different field.

Keeping the above misconceptions in mind will help you as a candidate navigate resume writing. Don’t be alarmed if you’ve already made some of the mistakes I mentioned. There’s still time to make the appropriate adjustments to your resume going forward.