The Worst Advice We've Ever Heard About Resumes

From National Archives: Photograph of members of the Council of Economic Advisers and White House staff members working on the President's Midyear Economic Report in the Cabinet Room: (from left to right) Charles Murphy, Administrative Assistant to the President; David Bell, Special Assistant in the White House Office; Leon Keyserling; Vice Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers; Robert Turner, consultant on the White House staff; Edwin Nourse, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers; and John Clark, member of the Council of Economic Advisers

“Don’t list anything you’ve done in the past that you wouldn’t want to do now.”

Whether you are currently employed or currently seeking employment, you should be proud of what you’ve accomplished in your professional past.  Many of our candidates struggle with listing their day-to-day responsibilities because they become routine, second-nature behaviors, whether they enjoy performing those tasks or not.  These day-to-day responsibilities are important to understanding who you are as an employee, whether you are attempting to take a step up in your career, or are making a lateral move.  By omitting certain responsibilities, you are diminishing your professional accomplishments, and, in a way, insinuating that those duties are beneath you.  If there are duties you no longer wish to perform in your next role, seek out that information in the job descriptions of the positions you apply for.

 

“Don’t list language skills if they aren’t required for the job.”

Perhaps it is the polyglot in me, but I never understood the purpose of not listing language skills on a resume.  Language proficiencies imply cultural awareness, global sensitivity, and the ability to learn outside of your comfort zone (and native tongue), among other things.  Listing your language skills may provide professional opportunities that would have otherwise not been available.  Within reason, this advice does have a tiny amount of truth in it; a couple of introductory courses in Portuguese will not make you proficient in Portuguese. 

“Remove any extra personal information such as activities, hobbies or philanthropic ventures.”

Every job seeker is unique in their skills, talents and interests.  The uniqueness that each candidate brings to the table is what sets them apart from everyone else; it sounds silly to say, but it’s true.  Of course, the bulk of your resume should reflect your professional self.  However, your non-professional activities are equally as important, and when they are listed on a resume, they could become the perfect ice breakers for you and the interviewer.  Activities such as marathons, obstacle courses (Tough Mudder, for example), certifications, volunteer work, published work, etc, are all ways for an interviewer to get to know you better, find common ground and connect on a deeper level.  To have a hiring manager like you in the interview process is a huge leg up (given, of course, that you are qualified for the position to begin with). 

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