6 myths about resumes you probably think are true

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A resume convinces employers to interview you. If you want to succeed, don't make these common mistakes.

In today’s competitive job market, you might be up against hundreds of other prospective candidates for a position. This is why your resume is important. It’s a document to convince employers you are worth interviewing. To write a standout document, you’ll need to put aside the myths about resumes many people still believe in. Here are a few.

Myth 1: Never have gaps in your resume

It’s more common than ever for people to have gaps in their work history. They may have taken time off to pursue other things, gone travelling or suffered redundancy during the economic downturn. Whatever the reason, don’t feel the need to make up jobs or extend the start and finish time of jobs to fill in gaps. Importantly, explain what you did in those gaps and discuss them with the hiring manager when you’re at the interview stage. Unexplained gaps in your work history on your resume create questions which may preclude you from progressing to the next stage of the hiring process.

Myth 2: A resume should be a single page only

This has supposedly been the ‘golden rule’ of writing a resume for a long time. If you’re an entry-level applicant, then this probably holds true. But if you’re applying for a senior position, you’ll have a lot more information to include. Trying to cram it all into one page looks untidy and you don’t want to leave out important experience simply because you’ve gone over one page.

The truth is, you want to include everything relevant to the position, but keep it as concise as possible. Recruiters read hundreds of resumes every day, so don’t give them a chance to switch off. Typically, a resume should be no longer then 3-4 pages. Interestingly though in the U.S. a single page is the most accepted format.

Myth 3:  It should include all your work history

Recruiters are looking at resumes all day, and they don’t want to read through every job you’ve ever had to find the ones relevant to the job you’re applying for. If a job isn’t relevant, then cut it out (as above, it’s fine to have gaps in your work history). Listing all your experience, ever, is a real turn-off, shows a lack of focus and possibly a lack of understanding of the skills and experience needed for the role. It’s not a biography; you’re trying to convince someone to interview you to find out more.

Myth 4: It’s fine to use the same resume over and over

Everyone should tailor their CV to the role. It needs to highlight relevant and/or transferable skills. You might send out 20 or 30 resumes in a week but you haven’t had a response. If you’ve sent the same resume out to each employer this is probably the reason why. You need to take the time to tailor your resume to each individual job and employer. A general one-size-fits all resume shows you haven’t bothered to do your research and haven’t taken the time to consider how and why you are a good fit for the role. These kinds of resumes are easy to spot and could well see yours end up in the ‘no pile’, rather than progressing to the next round.

Myth 5: You should only include paid experience

Not true. If you’ve undertaken voluntary work, participated in community events or done internships or self-study, it’s worth putting down. You do need to be selective though. Helping put on a community fete generally won’t be relevant or of interest, but mentoring young adults in various fields definitely is. If you’re shy on information for your resume or if you’ve been out of work for a while, unpaid experience can show the kind of commitment, drive and enthusiasm an employer wants, and will get you over the line.

Myth 6: A resume should mention your hobbies

Never include your hobbies. The truth is, employers and hiring managers simply do not care. You’re wasting time and space on your resume by letting them know irrelevant details about your life. Does liking skiing and art house movies mean you perform better in the role? It’s unlikely, so keep to relevant information.

Crafting the right resume for each individual job you are applying for is what will help you get through to the all-important interview. The key is to keep it relevant, concise and show you’ve understood the role and the company. A stand-out resume is what will give you the edge over the competition and see you on your way to your next career.

If you’re looking for your next big opportunity in the mining industry, brush up your resume and get in touch with one of our team of expert recruiters at Mining People International. You might also wish to invest a small amount in a professional review of your CV by our Career Guidance Consultant.

Lindsay McPhee
Mining People International