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11 Bad Resume Tips People Give and Why They're Wrong

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

The internet is filled with information, much of which is contradictory. Everyone has an opinion on everything, and more often than not, these opinions are diametrically opposed. For people turning to the internet to solve a problem they have, this can bring more frustration instead of a solution.

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Writing a resume, searching for a job, applying for a new job, coming in for an interview and quitting – these are all topics extensively covered all over the web, with some (to put it mildly) questionable advice. We’ve done the research, and came up with 11 bad resume tips people give We’ve listed them below, together with a short explanation why these advices are wrong and why you should not listen to them.

1. You don’t need a professional resume writing service

There are a lot of people saying a professional resume writer doesn’t know you as good as you know yourself, and they actually use it as an argument not to hire one. Quite the opposite. A high-level credible resume writing company will know how to keyword optimize your resume to help pass companies software filtration systems called ATS. A "high -quality" resume writing service will understand how to create a very detailed, direct, comprehensive, powerful and metric focused resume.

2. Lying on your resume – Such a disastrous and suicidal idea should not be here in the first place, but this ‘advice’ is so common that we had to address it. Do not lie on your resume. There are many reasons you should never lie on your resume. Do not put fake diplomas, education, work experience or achievements. Sooner or later, your new boss will find out. Not only will you get fired, but you might have a much harder time finding a new job afterwards.

3. Your resume can only be one page – Yes, hiring managers are busy people, but that doesn’t mean you should water down your resume. People with 10, 20 years of experience have a lot to show, don’t try to crop it, or cram it just to fit a single page. Don’t overdo it, either – the hiring manager doesn’t want to know which primary school you attended. But as long as there’s relevant information, list it.

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4. You don’t need a cover letter – Some executives will even tell you that the cover letter is more important than the resume. A cover letter can uncover your personality, your goals in life, your work ethic, motivation. These things are as important as your skills and achievements, because no one is trying to hire a robot – they need a human being, and you need the cover letter to show that human side of yours.

5. Write your resume in third person - Never, and do we mean *never* write your resume in third person. Some will tell you it creeps them out, others that it’s pointless as everyone knows you’ve written them, or at least oversaw the writing. The truth is far more practical – you’re wasting space reserved for your skills and competencies. Also, you’re shoving strong, action verbs that need to be in focus.

6. You need objective statement on your resume – Not only do you not need the objective statement, but it’s actually bad to include one. An objective statement is usually what your goal in your professional life is. The hiring manager doesn’t care – he has a problem and he is looking for a solution. He needs you to help him find a solution, not the other way around. Instead of an objective statement, include a strong Search Engine Optimized “Career Summary” at the top of your resume.

7. Adding invisible fonts on your resume – As you probably know by now, many companies use an applicant tracking software system to scan incoming resumes. They scan for search phrases and keywords, and if your resume doesn’t have them it gets discarded. Some people think it’s clever to try and trick the ATS by adding a bunch of keywords in white text, which will blend with the background. In reality, the ATS turns all fonts black before proceeding, so if your resume gets printed and given to the hiring managers, they will know you tried to trick them.

8. Use .pdf file type – Perhaps, a few years back this was a good advice. Today, not so much, and the proper file format for your resume is essential. Some ATS systems can’t read certain .PDF files, and in this case it’s better to be on the safe side. In some cases, .PDF files will not contain text, and ATS systems read only text, which is why they might discard your resume. Just to be on the safe side, use either .rtf, .doc or .docx.

9. Add a photo on your resume – For the same reason as number eight, you should never add a photo to your resume. Avoid adding any photos, images, graphics, charts, tables, anything that’s not plain text onto a resume. Some ATS systems simply can’t read these formats, and if they can’t read something, they’ll discard it as invalid.

10. Font doesn’t matter – Yes, it does. Not all ATS systems were created equal, and some will have trouble reading certain fonts. You will want to be on the safe side here, and go for the proven ones. Distance yourself from Times New Roman, and go for Arial, Calibri, Impact, Tahoma, Courier or Trebuchet.

11. Make it fancy-looking - Unless you’re applying for a position of a graphic designer in a creative agency, don’t play around with your resume. You need to make it functional for both the ATS systems and the hiring managers, so go for the standard format which both are familiar with. Don’t risk having your resume trashed by the ATS, and definitely don’t risk having it trashed by the hiring manager just because they didn’t have the time to try and get used to a different look. Just give them the information they need, plain and simple.

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