A stint on the job market can provide a professional person with a wealth of practical experience and a little wisdom about the mechanics that govern the “real world.” It’s rough out there on the wild wooly edges of civilized, employed society. But as it happens, those who have spent some time in this wilderness often come back with stories that can misunderstood or misinterpreted by those who haven’t. This is how resume myths happen, and some of these myths can be surprisingly stubborn and can keep circulating in our culture years after they stop making any sense at all. Here are a few examples. When you encounter any of these, just use a little common sense to uncover the truths behind them.
1. “Managers are WAY too busy to (fill in the blank). They have no time to even think about (fill in the blank).”
From “managers are too busy to actually read your resume,” to “managers are so busy they’ll throw your cover letter in the trash if you bore them in the first sentence”, these stubborn “busyness” myths abound in the job search world. But here’s the reality: hiring managers review resumes and make careful candidate selection decisions because this is their job, and it’s part of what they’re paid to do by the companies they work for. Of course they’re going to read your resume. They may not keep reading through the stack after they find a candidate they like, but they’ll give your resume a chance, and if it seems like a fit, they’ll happily call you in for an interview.
2. “These days, resumes are only read by ATS systems, so the more keywords you stuff in there, the better.”
Using keywords drawn from the job post will give your document a better chance of making it past an ATS system or out of a database…But before you stuff keywords into every line until your resume is a repetitive, inarticulate mess, stop and think. What will happen to it once it survives the scanning process? Here’s a hint: it will be read by a person.
3. “The more hobbies you list in your skills section, the more well-rounded you’ll seem.”
It’s true that one or two personal pursuits (like crafts, athletics, gardening, skiing, or dog training) will make your resume a little more attention-grabbing and memorable, especially among mangers who share the same interests. But don’t list too many. One hobby will show that you’re passionate about the things you love and you have a life outside of the workplace. Ten hobbies will show that you’re passionate about listing hobbies.
4. “Including your salary history will show that you’re a valuable employee who’s constantly seeking growth.”
Unless you’re specifically asked to do so, don’t include your salary history or any reference to your desired salary in your resume. This is crass, and this part of the arrangement can be worked out during the interview and negotiation stage. Even if you are asked to provide your former or current salary information, don’t. Instead, state your preferred range for this specific job. Sharing your previous salary (even if you think it’s high) can undermine your negotiating leverage. Besides, your salary history is your business alone, and you’re under no obligation to provide this information to anyone.
Learn the Facts Before You Start Writing
Keep your approach to the job search process practical and realistic. For more resume tools, tips, guidelines, and advice, explore the resources on LiveCareer.