Don’t be Tempted by these 5 Resume Tricks

April 1, 2015 Uncategorized

resume tricksDisguising a spotty job history, avoiding showing your age, trying to get around resume-screening software are all things some people look at when putting together a resume. You also might be encouraged by well meaning friends to try out some of these “tricks” to get past these challenges. My advice – don’t do it! These will almost always backfire on you as most qualified hiring managers will see right through these little resume tricks.

When putting together your resume, there are five resume tricks you should definitely pass up:

Using a functional resume: Somewhere along the line you might have been advised to use a functional resume instead of a chronological one to help hide gaps between jobs, downplay being out of work for long periods of time or to disguise short-term stays. Functional resumes are rather simple; they list abilities and skills without being tied to specific jobs and dates unlike a traditional resume that utilizes reverse-chronological order.

So what’s the issue with this format? Once again, any savvy hiring manager is on to these types of resumes that are generally used to disguise outdated or limited work experience or job hopping so they are red flagged for trying to cover something up. This format also makes it hard to understand career progression or how recent or ancient accomplishments actually are. Most employers hate this format so the likelihood of yours getting tossed before it gets read is very high.

Shrinking your resume: Here’s a nifty little trick that most resume novices feel will really help them – shrinking margins and font instead of cutting down content because they’ve heard that their resume shouldn’t be more than one or two pages. When a hiring manager has to break out the magnifying glass just to read your resume, it’s pretty obvious what you’ve done. You’ll only come across as someone who doesn’t know how to edit or what’s important to include – this is not the reaction you’re looking for.

Leaving off dates: Sometimes older candidates are ill advised to leave off dates of employment so potential employers can’t draw any conclusions about their age. They assume that including dates will make hiring managers draw conclusions about their capabilities – to old – to set in their ways – to expensive etc. The fact is, when you leave dates off your resume, it just looks bizarre – kinda like leaving the house without your house without pants. Dates of employment are relevant – not just convention. Hiring managers want to know if the team management skills that achieved such great results were current or happened thirty years ago.

Now, I do understand that age discrimination is sadly a fact in the workplace so there is one thing you can do – remove jobs that are older than fifteen to twenty years. At this point your most recent accomplishments are more impressive and the older jobs are unlikely to strengthen your candidacy anyway.

Keyword overkill: To attempt at getting by resume-screening software job seekers have begun littering their resumes with “keywords.” They feel that the only way their resume will actually be seen by human eyes is if they figure out the holy grail combination of keywords. The fact is, most companies – especially small ones – don’t even use screening software. And, those that do don’t screen using obscure keywords. If you’re a qualified candidate, any decent screener is going to run varied and expansive searches to make sure your resume gets seen. Think about it; you’re tailoring your resume to what you think a computer wants to see when in reality it’s a human who has the final decision on whether or not you actually get called in for an interview.

Getting fancy:  Don’t try to stand out or catch a hiring manager’s eye by sending in a fancy or unusual resume design. Yes, when you’re faced with competition from an ocean of similarly qualified candidates, the urge is to find ways to stand out by using a graphic filled, colorful resume design. This often backfires because it makes it difficult for the hiring manager to find the information they’re looking for. And, these fancy designs often minimize the actual amount of info you can include on your resume.

Look, the bottom line is that hiring managers want a simple, clean, uncluttered document that’s easy to scan and puts the information where they expect it to be. Don’t sacrifice content for flash!

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