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6 myths to ignore when writing a resumé

For starters, employers spend only six seconds scanning a resumé? Not true, experts say.

Brian O'Connell
by Brian O'Connell, MainStreet contributor

When it comes to crafting the perfect resumé, there is myth and there is reality.

Come to think of it, saying there is no such thing as an actual “perfect” resumé. But there are ways to maximize the impact of your personal calling card to employers, and dispelling some of the most damaging myths is a great way to getting ever closer to perfection.

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Make no mistake, every second does count on a resumé — literally. According to the TheLadders.net, a career search website, employers spend only six seconds scanning a resumé.

That may be the biggest myth of all, as The Ladders points out conventional wisdom says hiring managers spend four to five minutes on a resumé. The clearer and less cluttered the resumé, the firm says, the better your chances of staying on a hiring manager’s radar screen longer.

We turned to another job search company, Bright.com, which specializes in matching job-seekers to quality jobs, to ring up some other notorious resumé myths.

Here’s a look:

The myth: You have to include a career objective.
The reality: Bright.com says “not really.” Employers may pay lip service to an “object statement,” but they’re really more concerned about experience and job qualifications. The reality? They’ll likely skip over your career objective completely.

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The myth: Spelling errors are a resumé killer.
The reality: By all means, proofread your resumé. Nobody likes a mistake-riddled resumé, and multiple errors may cost you on your job hunt. “But spelling and grammatical mistakes do not necessarily mean your resumé ends in the trash file,” Bright.com says. “Recruiters are more focused on work experience to determine fit. A good habit — re-read your resumé whenever applying. Fresh eyes can catch mistakes previously overlooked.”

The myth: Resumés have to be one page long.
The reality: According to Bright, the number of pages isn’t as important as the actual number of words on the page. Bright.com advises aiming for 390 words per page — the ideal number to keep a manager reading.

The myth: Keep achievements “walled off” from the rest of your resumé.
The reality: If you keep your achievements separate from the rest of your resumé you’re giving employers a reason to skip your accomplishments. Instead, keep them in the body of the resumé and use bullet points to catch employers’ attention.

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The myth: “Action verbs” are a must.
The reality: You don’t have to be the career-writing equivalent of Ernest Hemingway to fill out a resumé. Bright.com says it’s much better to highlight career accomplishments and leave the thesaurus in the desk drawer.

Above all, a good resumé needs to be clean, compelling and concise. Keep that in mind and leave the myths behind when pulling your perfect resumé together.

 

Brian O’Connell has 15 years of experience covering business news and trends, particularly in the financial, health care and career management sectors. He has written 14 books and appeared on CNN, Fox News, CNBC, C-Span, Bloomberg, CBS Radio and other media outlets and in such publications as The Wall Street Journal and The Street.com. He is a former Wall Street bond trader.