Whether this is your first job or your fifteenth, keeping your resume up to date is imperative. You never know when your dream job may pop up, your job security will lapse or when you might just need a change of scenery. However, the things recruiters look for in a professionally written resume have changed drastically over the past few years and it can be hard to determine what advice is sound and what tips you should stay far away from. In fact, professional resume services are always changing up their resume writing process to adapt to the most up to date resume techniques. Even professional resume writers have disagreements with how to go about it sometimes.
That’s why we did some research to help you put your best foot forward when prepping your resume document in today’s job market. Here are the top things to avoid.
#1 – The Functional Resume
Fun fact: Did you know that there are actually four types of resumes that you can create?
Chronological resumes are the most common resume types, which highlight your work experience in, big surprise, chronological order. Employers normally prefer this format because it gives a quick view of your experience while simultaneously highlighting your skills, expertise and time spent in related fields. In contrast, functional resumes showcase your skills over your work experience. These are a favorite of individuals who have gaps in between gigs. Combination resumes serve as a happy medium, displaying both employment background and technical abilities, and finally, targeted resumes are tailored to a specific job, giving an employer a snapshot of the work history and abilities that directly apply to the position they are looking to fill.
After reading these definitions, it shouldn’t surprise you that the functional resume is not a favorite of recruiters and can actually serve as a red flag to them about you as a candidate. In fact, in 2017, Jobvite did a survey which showed that 92% of recruiters consider job experience to be the most important factor in the hiring process. Functional resumes are formatted to hide gaps in employment and that equates to a lack of dependability in the eyes of a hiring manager. Not only that, but how can an employer know that you can apply the list of skills on your resume if you haven’t shown where you utilized these abilities? Are you a great communicator because you have reputable sales experience or because you call your mom each week?
Furthermore, more and more employers are using Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATS for short, in order to determine the “best” candidates for the job. Have you heard of Workday, Oracle Taleo or Workable? These applications scan your resume for keywords like your job title, time spent in each position, important skills applicable to that specific position, among many other details that either move your document to the top of the pile or into the trash. Unfortunately, functional resumes have been found to not be compatible with most ATS and are therefore, are not a great choice. It is better to be just honest, have those gaps in employment and spend more time calling attention to the experience and skills you have from the jobs you have held.
#2 – Hobbies
Let’s tell it like it is, hobbies on your resume are filler. While certain employers value a work-life balance, no one really cares that you like to swim, knit or visit local breweries. Highlighting things like this can actually be used against you. You may think that your parkour abilities are an interesting fact that builds your character, but it may also signal to a boss that you might have to take more time off of work because your extracurriculars could land you in the hospital.
However, in the same Jobvite survey referenced above, it was found that 83% of recruiters see culture fit as an important factor in the hiring process. Therefore, while most experts recommend not including hobbies in your document, it can be beneficial to showcase volunteer work. If it relates to your current or previous jobs, include it in the ‘Work Experience’ section, but if it is something you do in your free time, you can note it in a ‘Key Achievements’, ‘Professional Summary’ or ‘Community Service’ section.
Served as an ambassador and emcee for a fundraising event that raised over $60,000 for children with Autism.
Strives to make a difference in the community through her work and through her volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.
Dedicates 125+ hours each Spring to prepare for the Waltzing for Wishes Gala, Make-A-Wish’s biggest fundraising event of the year. This event features local “celebrity” dancers paired with professional dance partners.
#3 – Extremely Personal Information
Your resume is a culmination of your qualifications and skills that tells the story of your career path and education. It is not a place to share overly personal information, even if you think it may be relevant. Age, political or religious views, your opinions of previous employers, or information about your home life should be left out. Now you may think, well I am applying to work at the Catholic church or for a political organization to promote someone’s campaign so I should let them know my beliefs align with theirs, but you still may have differing points of view. In addition, while we all wish we lived in a perfect world where discrimination and bias did not exist, that is sadly not the case. Therefore, providing too much unnecessary information can cause those doing the hiring to make assumptions that can oftentimes not play in your favor.