As college reaches a close and the job search begins, the need for a standout resume gets more and more essential. It seems that everyone has a different definition of the way a resume should be written and it is hard to fight through the clutter of information the internet provides. I was one of those students who believed I had an amazing resume. When in reality, my resume was actually holding me back. After being passed over for several internship opportunities, I took my resume into the Purdue CCO office to speak with a career services consultant. I was shocked to find out that a lot of the things I thought I knew about resumes, was false! So to save you the trouble I went through, here are 5 common resume misconceptions.
Misconception #1: A small splash of color is good.
Reality: Color is a tricky tool to play with when writing a resume. It is one of those tools that you either need to go big or go home. If you find yourself pursuing a job that entails using a lot of creativity, then color can definitely set you apart! But you can use color to show off your skills in design and aesthetics. If you are pursuing a job that is much more analytical or academic, then color should be avoided. Regardless of color, you still want your content to make you unique.
Misconception #2: Employers want to know about your high school education.
Reality: In the resume world, your high school education is the equivalent of an ex relationship. You are happy to have had that experience because it has gotten you where you are today, but avoid discussing it with anyone new. Most employers assume you did well in high school if you were able to get in to college, so having it on your resume is just wasted space that could be used to describe the experiences and skills you have gained since starting college.
Misconception #3: Less information is more.
Reality: Companies want to know who you are before you even walk in to interview. If you are worried you are cluttering your resume with too much descriptive content; don’t be! Your resume is an 8.5 by 11 inch paper that is supposed to embody you and your professional skills. The only thing that a brief resume says about you is that you don’t have a lot to bring to the table.
Misconception #4: You must stick with standard formatting.
Reality: Like I stated earlier, you only have an 8.5 by 11 inch paper to embody you and your professional skills. So feel free to use almost every available space on that piece of paper! If you are exceeding a single page, then consider the following format adjustments:
a. Drop your font size down to the lowest of 10.5.
b. Decrease your margins to the lowest of .8” on the top and .5” on the left, right and bottom.
Misconception #5: Using a resume template is a good idea.
Reality: It is sad to say that the majority of us have used a resume template at some point in our lives. Microsoft and the internet make it so easy to do. However, a resume template is basically the kiss of death when it comes to employers! Employers see hundreds of resumes at a time for certain jobs. They KNOW when you use a resume template and the only thing it tells them is that you lack originality. Besides, your experiences are unique and using a template can constrict your ability to elaborate and adjust your resume as you gain more experiences.
Want to find out more about what to include (and not include) on your resume? Stop in for summer drop-ins Monday through Friday 10-4 in Young 132 and check out our Resume Rotation for examples.