the worst


I’ve learned a lot of interesting and fascinating things about jobs and careers as a resume writer. I’ve spoken to nearly 1000 people, individually or in groups and I can you this, there is a lot of confusion regarding resumes, jobs, careers, interviews and recruiting.  I’ve learned that people really need help with this and they are reading and listening to all the advice – which may be the problem.

In 2015, I have had a lot of clients hire me to help them with their credentials and in doing so we’ve had conversations about various pieces of advice and tips they’ve been given over the years and quite frankly some of it sucks. Here are some examples of the worst real-life resume and career advice that I’ve ever heard.

Don’t put the company’s name (the company you’ve worked for) on your resume.

So just put your title and the years of service – but no company name. Okay, this is just nuts. In all my years of work, not just HR, but work – I’ve never heard of this. Why would you tell someone to do this? I can’t even imagine the thought process behind this one. Like my good friend, HR Manager, Melissa Fairman, SPHR said “Hmpf. That’s suspicious.” EXACTLY – that is suspicious and would lead to more scrutiny. Terrible advice – never do this, people!

You need a 5 or 6 page resume.

I have heard this one a couple of times now. Clients who have had an old recruiter or HR person tell them, “Your resume should be longer at least 5 or 6 pages”. This is wrong and not just according to me. Technically, it’s wrong, here’s why; did you know roughly you should have 1 page for every 10 years of experience? Now I say roughly because that’s a rule of thumb however we all know that on your resume you only need 10-15 years of stable work history, so that equates to about 1 ½ pages. Also keep in mind if you have worked for 20, 30, 40 years even that doesn’t mean you need a 3 or 4 page resume.  There are 2 reasons why your resume should not have things on it from 40 or 30 years ago and here they are; 1. you don’t want to age yourself, 2. employers aren’t looking accomplishments and skills from decades ago – keep it current.  I know what you are thinking, “What about 20 years?” well that’s where it’s kind of gray, depending on your title and duties – maybe it’s outdated, maybe not. Remember this, always edit and update your resume.

You don’t need to put your phone number or email address on your resume.

Holy smokes! This is right up there with the first one (not putting the company names next to titles). So crazy, how do you expect them to contact you? Mailing address, maybe? Well newsflash, mailing addresses are out and email is a dying form of communications (more and more recruiters prefer to call, inbox message or even text) but not only that – when you don’t have contact information on your resume it looks like you are trying to hide something. Plus, it forces the recruiter into one option and one option only – no one likes to be forced into anything. It makes you look stubborn and a bit paranoid. Get a Google voice number if you don’t want your real phone number out there.

Please listen, use some common sense as well folks. If someone gives you some advice about your resume, ask them to explain their thinking on it. And then ask yourself if it makes sense to you. Then search online for resume tips and advice and see if you find anyone who supports their advice.

In all of the books and articles I’ve read, the conversations with active hiring managers and recruiters I have never heard of anyone advising someone to have a 4,5, or 6 page resume, no call to action (phone number and email address) or to remove their employer’s names. That’s why these are the 3 worst pieces of resume advice ever in the history of resumes – so far!

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