Three resume writing misconceptions

Updated: Aug 27

I want to take a moment to bust a few resume-writing myths that I see lurking around on here and on LinkedIn.

Colour Use

The advice you’ve probably heard many times over by now is that a single-column, plain-text format is the best bet with regard to ATS.

However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot use colour to liven up your resume. In fact, when faced with a pile of black and white, many recruiters find it refreshing to see some thing that sticks out.

There are a few caveats to this:

  • A little goes a long way. Don’t take this as a free pass to go all Van Gogh.

  • If you have a poorly written resume, using colour is not going to help you. Remember, content is king.

Length

You’ve probably heard of the one page rule. If you’ve less than 10 years of experience, stick to one page and if more, use two. However, there are always exceptions:

  • If you have less than 10 years of experience, but have a diverse work history and a lot of relevant accomplishments, then please feel free to use two pages.

  • If you have 15 years of experience but you’ve only ever worked for one company, you’ll probably do well with a one-pager.

Accomplishments

What are accomplishments? They are actions you’ve taken that have produced a value for the business/employer, such as:

  • You improved an existing process

  • You helped land a new client

  • You solved a challenging problem

In the above examples, your actions will have either saved manual labor time, saved money, or helped generate more revenue.

However, please don’t just throw out numbers and expect the person on the other end to understand what you’re talking about. Providing context is key - follow the CAR (Context, Action, Result) format!

So hopefully that clarifies those things for you guys. If you have questions, please feel free to comment below.

 

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  • Entry to midlevel professionals with less than 10 years of experience

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About the Author

James Cooper is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and has been in the recruiting, career coaching, and writing business for almost 14 years. He began his career recruiting for AECOM, a Canadian engineering firm, and he's gone on to work with and help professionals land roles at top Fortune 500 companies.

Have questions about resume writing? Reach out at jc@finaldraftresumes.com.