Urban Legends of Resume Writing


The Ladders.com

by Mark Bartz

Pop quiz, folks! Are these true or false?
Open your cover letters with an explanation of what
you bring to the table — not what you want from
the employer.
Put all your contact information on your resume,
including street address and zip code.
It should be exactly one page long.
Off-the-shelf resume writing software will help you
get a great resume.
The Cubs will be the 2005 World Series Champions.
So what do you think? In a way, it’s a trick question
— it’s not that they’re100% false (forgive me, Cubs
fans!), but none are absolutely – or even mostly-
true. These notions have lingered on for years, like
the Loch Ness Monsteror Bigfoot, despite all evidence
to the contrary.”

Laurie’s Comments:

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Mr. Bartz interviewed various recruiters and HR professionals regarding some persistent myths about resume writing. First among them was opening your cover letter with an explanation of what you bring to the table. This is fine for “cold calls,” but when you are applying for a specific position opening, SAY SO, and do it right up front.

Secondly, in today’s job search world where resumes are often posted where virtually anyone could access them or dispersed to people you do not know, including your street address may not be such a good idea. Including your street number and name could potentially expose you to security or identity theft. The author also points out that by not including your address, you can avoid the “Dear John” letter regarding a position for which you interviewed, by basically forcing them to notify you by telephone. (I’m not quite sure this is entirely true, since I suspect in many cases you would just hear nothing at all. Business etiquette seems to have gone out the window long ago with regard to this.)

The third myth Bartz cites is that a resume should be exactly one page long. For an executive resume to cover 15-20 years of complex and highly accomplished experience in a single page is rather ludicrous when you think about it.

Myth number 4 is that off-the-shelf resume-writing software will help you create a great resume. He says, “Call us anytime and we’ll talk to you in detail about how awful this software is, and why candidates who use it typically don’t get good responses.” The generic, cookie-cutter resume produced by such programs will utterly fail to “brand” you or convey your unique value. Whether you write your resume yourself or use the services of a professional executive resume writer, I urge you to avoid jeopardizing your employment search success through use of one of these programs!