Well-meaning friends and family often offer job-seekers advice. Unfortunately, sometimes this advice is not only unhelpful, but can even be detrimental! Even the Internet can be a source of incorrect information, and if followed, it may result in the resume being cast aside. In this blog we are going to focus on three pieces of resume advice that we highly recommend you ignore!
#1 Add a Photo to Make it More Personal
Your mom or spouse may suggest that adding a photo to your resume will increase your appeal. They likely think your winning smile will entice the hiring manager to call you in for an interview.
Although this may sound like a reasonable idea, we recommend you ignore it completely. Hiring managers and recruiters have told us that some companies have a "no photo" policy. This means that any resume submitted with a photo on it is automatically discarded. Why? Companies don't want to be accused of being biased in the hiring process. By eliminating all resumes with photos, they eliminate that risk.
Even for companies where it isn't a policy, hiring managers have shared that they find photos irrelevant and distracting.
So, if someone advises you to include a photograph on your resume, ignore their advice and use the space to showcase your unique skills and qualifications instead.
#2 Be Sure to Express What YOU are Looking For
Years ago it was common practice for job seekers to express what they were hoping for in the new role. In fact, an objective statement was often the very first section of the resume, under the contact information. Here are some examples of objective statements:
"My goal is to obtain a position that will benefit others and utilize and maximize my skills in a compatible and fulfilling career."
"To obtain a teaching position, either full-time or part-time, full-class or small-group that offers a challenge, job advancement and a long-term career opportunity."
"To secure a responsible career opportunity to fully utilize my significant training and skills, while making a significant contribution to the success of the company."
20 years ago these would have all been acceptable objective statements and would have been reasonable to include on a resume. Today these statements could cause a resume to be rejected.
Current industry standards are to include an executive summary instead of an objective statement. Why? Hiring managers are looking to see how you can help them solve an issue they are facing. Unfortunately, advancing your career is not their priority.
Hiring managers have also told us that an applicant that doesn't follow current industry standards -- by including an executive summary that highlights their skills related to the job opening instead of an objective statement -- may be discarded before further evaluation. Following current guidelines shows the necessary attention to detail required for many open positions and is a simple requirement.
So, if someone tells you to be sure to express what you are looking for in your resume, ignore their advice and write a compelling executive summary instead.
#3 Copy/Paste the Job Description Into the Background
Ahhh! The false information surrounding the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is rampant. We have heard of numerous ways to "beat the ATS." While we have written numerous blogs expressing how you should format your resume with the ATS in mind, we never suggest trying to cheat the system. Bad ideas we have heard include:
Pasting the entire job description in white font underneath your resume text.
Pasting the entire job description in 2 point white font at the bottom of your resume.
Incorporating ALL keywords even if you don't have the experience to back up your statements.
Don't worry about the grammar, just fit in keyword after keyword.
Why are these bad ideas? First, in many cases, they won't work. Some applicant tracking systems can't read white font. Others are programmed to be aware of the cheats, and will eliminate resumes automatically that have hidden text.
Second, the hiring decision is ALWAYS made by a human being. Eventually, your resume will be read by a person.
If you have hidden text, the reader will wonder why your resume ranked so highly when they can't actually find keywords within the document. Upon further investigation, they will see you were cheating and eliminate you as a candidate based on questionable integrity.
For those that just stuffed keywords in without care about how truthful they were or how well the wording sounded, it will become apparent further in the process that you are not being forthcoming about your skills and qualifications. Again, the end result is no job offer.
So, if someone tells you to try to cheat the ATS, instead incorporate keywords from the job posting thoughtfully and accurately.
If you are struggling to determine which advice is valuable and which advice should be disregarded, reach out to Revision Resume. We are up to date on industry standards and can work with you to achieve a resume that highlights your unique skills and experiences for the job you desire!