Is the resume dead? In my opinion, definitely not! Although an increasing number of both job seekers and employers also utilize social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the traditional resume is still alive and well.
In fact, during my walk-in hours as the Milton Job Doctor at the Milton Public Library, almost everyone I see wants help with their resume. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions I encounter:
WHAT ABOUT THE ONE-PAGE RULE FOR RESUMES?
Some employers are sticklers for one-page resumes. However, if your relevant experience warrants more than one page, it’s fine to go on to a second page. I’d rather see two pages than a resume that is squeezed onto one page, with a font smaller than 10 or 11 point, and no white space. If you do go over to a second page, make sure that your name and page 2 of 2 appears on the top of the second page, and that all of the most important information is on the first page (just in case the employer is a stickler for the one-page rule). Readability and ease of understanding are key; remember that most employers spend 30 seconds or less reviewing your resume.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WHEN WRITING RESUMES?
- Typographical, spelling, and/or grammatical errors. Proof-read it again and again. Using spell-check alone doesn’t guarantee an error-free resume. Ask a friend, relative, and/or career counselor to look over your resume. Make sure that it’s letter perfect.
- Using the first person on a resume -“I”, “mine”, or “my . Instead, use short phrases beginning with active verbs – for example, “developed new tracking system that helped streamline operations by x per cent”. “I” is understood. Save first-person statements for your cover letter.
- Lying on your resume. That should go without saying. It’s just plain stupid to claim a degree that you never earned, or expertise that you don’t have. You will get found out, and you won’t get hired – or if you were hired, you will be fired.
- Overselling yourself; not quite as serious as lying on your resume, but this can have consequences as well. For example, if you’ve taken high school Spanish, but haven’t used it in awhile, don’t claim Spanish fluency on your resume. If you were part of a team working on a project, say so; don’t make it seem as if you singlehandedly saved the company x amount of dollars. Besides, employers value team players.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF JOB OBJECTIVES?
Don’t use one! I’ve never read a well-crafted job objective that really said anything meaningful. Job objectives tend to be either so specific that you are limiting yourself unnecessarily or so broad or general that they are meaningless. Who wouldn’t want a job that pays well, offers unlimited challenge, has regular hours, is interesting, exciting, and is in easy commuting distance.
USE A CAREER PROFILE OR SUMMARY INSTEAD
Today, more resumes include a profile summary rather than a job objective. The key difference is that while a career or job objective focuses on what you want, a profile demonstrates what you are able to offer to an employer. This is a statement of your major skills, experiences and accomplishments that you expect to bring to a new setting. This brief overview should emphasize your value to a new employer; include keywords from your field and any specific certifications or credentials you have for the position. You can find a variety of examples of career profiles on sites such as www.career-advice.monster.com and www.jobsearch.about.com that you can use as a starting point, but, of course, you will need to customize your own.
DO I NEED BOTH A RESUME AND A LINKEDIN PROFILE?
The answer to this question is a definite yes. Some industries use social media tools more than others. Some recruiters and employers will now use Social Media to troll for candidates or to learn more about job applicants. When you do use social media, make sure that you are managing your accounts to present a coherent and professional picture of you as a job candidate. If you have a complete and well-crafted LinkedIn profile, you can include your LinkedIn URL on your resume, and an employer can click on it for additional information about you.
Your resume and your LinkedIn profile are just two different self-marketing tools. The information on both should be complementary and not contradictory. Your LinkedIn profile can provide additional information or an employer, including online references. It can also demonstrate your ease with social networking (e.g., by joining online Industry groups).