Resume Writing 101: Common Mistakes & Myths

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

If you are not a Professional Resume Writer or work in the Human Resources Department you probably have not had the pleasure of assessing the way the average job-seeker presents their resume to a potential Employer. The vast majority of humans do not see many resumes.


I have been a Recruiter, Employee Trainer, Resume Writer, Human Resources Manager, Director of HR, and now a Director of Career Services and here is the general consensus: the average job-seeker has no idea how to set up a professional resume or LinkedIn Profile that garners the attention of the Human Resources Authorities in their industry no matter their experience level of industry. I write Executive C-Suite resumes for the top 1% and professional career documents for high school graduates and the knowledge about resumes is not present across the board.



Since resume writing is not a course taught in high school or offered in the Career Services Department of any college in the world, we the people do not know the tips and tricks on how to set up our resumes unless we have had the trial and error experience or work(ed) directly in Human Resources or Career Services.


I have been fortunate enough to gain all my experience from the job titles that I have found myself in. I did not learn how to write a resume in any of my Human Resources courses for my major while I was studying the industry and craft in college. There is no "Professional Resume Writing" course available in college and I believe that this is the reason why the unemployment rate is so high. People do not know how to get hired and resume writing can make or break your job search.


Currently, I have 7 remote jobs on top of running my own Virtual Career Services company and they all entail some form of resume writing, career coaching, and assisting in helping others land better job opportunities. I am able to accumulate as many jobs as I want because I apply my own tips that I give to others and write my own resumes. My magic works because I am gifted in the hiring arts. I have made it my career to propel the collective forward on the journey to a good job.


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The common resume myths that people talk about, but know nothing of:


Myth #1) The job market is "dwindling." WRONG! There are plenty of jobs on the market, in fact, there are more open job positions available than there are human bodies able to fill them. People are constantly getting fired and hired at any given moment all over the world: the job market is a revolving door, but many people like to throw around the excuse that they are not able to get hired because there are no available jobs, but this is simply untrue.


Job-seekers are not given the tools or information on how to get hired at all so it appears like the average time needed to replace a place of employment is around 4 months. That is 4 months of no work or money being made, but bills continuing... that is an OUTRAGEOUS amount of downtime that society wants job-seekers to believe is normal and expected.


My clients and I get callbacks and job offers within hours of applying to open positions and a normal callback time is around 2-5 days. It really depends on the job, the strategies applied, the Employer, and the demand, but I have received multiple job offers by LinkedIn Recruiters that pay $40/hr without even applying to the position. When I apply to open vacancies on Indeed.com late Sunday nights (the best window to apply), I have received the callback, interview, and offer in less than 72 hours.


I started working my latest job the same week I applied to it and already made money from my work because it is another remote resume writing position and my talent in career services is flawless, honestly. Everyday, I wake up employed and ready to collect even more checks/clients.


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The reason why it takes the average job-seeker so long to get hired into a new place of employment is because the average job-seeker is applying to jobs with a resume that is not strategically tailored to fit the job description of the role they are interested in. Most humans apply to about 2-3 jobs with the same generic resume and get frustrated when they hear nothing back from the companies... This starts the desperation to take any job that offers them crumbs for employment and they end up taking whatever comes their way and stay in positions that are not favorable because of their lack of resources. (This is the pitfall that employers are fine with)


When humans apply to jobs with a generic or "one-size-fits-all" resume, this increases the amount of time it will take to hear back from potential Employers because the resume is getting lost in the sea of other applicants that are also applying without a direct strategy. It takes a long time for resumes that aren't written to fit the job description that was posted to be seen by the Employer because companies use a computer software to scan which resume applications match their job description to assess whether or not that candidate is qualified for the position.


They have a pre-screening process that tracks applicants because there are anywhere from 200-1000+ applications to any ONE open job vacancy from the "ease" of applying now in this day and age with the "one-click apply all" button (which does not help the job seeker or Employer in their efforts to get quality jobs or quality employees).



And ATS Software is an Applicant Tracking System that TRACKS applicants. You beat it by sending your resume directly to the employer's email address and bypass the software altogether AND by embedding all the keywords that are on the job description into your resume.



Myth #2) Resumes should list all the jobs you worked at in the past and your education. WRONG again! Your resume is a piece of marketing material that is going to make or BREAK your job search. You do not want to write your resume to solely fit your individual work experience and background. If you want a SUCCESSFUL RESUME, write it for the job you want, not the jobs you've had. You must match and fit exactly what the employer is looking for because that is the ONLY candidate they want to hire. They post everything they are looking for on the job vacancy announcement because the truth is, the employers are not concerned about your background as much as they are concerned about what you can do for their company.


This means that if your resume does not directly fit the open job vacancy announcement that the company posted, your job search timeframe is going to be very long. Most job-seekers do not tailor their resume to fit the job description and that is why most job seekers have trouble getting hired. Over 77% of job-seekers resume applications are disqualified from being hired immediately on pressing send because the applicant tracking system software rules the candidate out from being qualified enough for the position since the resume lacked keywords.


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Myth #3) Resumes can't be longer than one page or they will not be read. This is incorrect! I only write two-page resumes for my clients because they are actually proven to be more successful in getting increased callbacks, interviews, and job offers. Two-page resume candidates typically receive higher salaried job offers than one-page resume candidates because the resume starts the process of the entire salary.


Human Resources Managers and Recruiters prefer to see candidates with two-page resumes since it looks more "professional" to their eyes. In order to increase your chances for hire, you should always be trying to impress and fit the viewpoints of the HR Authorities in your industry, no matter if you have to bend the truth about your experience and skill level or not. If your resume does not mirror the posted job vacancy announcement almost exactly, it will not be seen by the Hiring Managers at all.


Formatting your resume to be strategic and match what the Decision-Makers want to see is the best way to ensure that you get the right eyes on your resume profile and application. If you are 2.9x more likely to get a callback and higher salaried job offers with a two-page resume, smart job-seekers would increase their resume length to two pages today.



Myth #4) Resumes cannot have any color. In today's modern hiring industry, standing out is the overall goal. Resumes that have proper formatting and pops of color that draw the eyes to the relevant skills and project accomplishments of the candidate are more likely to stand out amongst the crowd of black and white resumes.


There are so many candidates in the running to get a callback because of the "one-click-apply-all" feature that is being added to the job search process (do not click that button if you are trying to get a job, it is not proven to work and it is a very lazy way to get hired).


If your resume is visually appealing, it will differentiate you from the rest of the group of potential candidates. You have a higher chance of getting a callback for an interview if your two-page resume can draw attention away from other resume profiles in the stack. The best way to make yourself appeal and attract eyes is to NOT be similar. You do not have to make your resume rainbow, but a navy blue or striking grey resume goes a long way in getting traction and notice from the right people in your respective industries. Even adding the logo of the company works.


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There are so many ways to ensure that your resume is successful. Click here for applying strategies that work. You must think of your resume document as a ticket in the door anywhere because it is essentially a mini menu of yourself that you can send out and leave a lasting impression on someone that could potentially give you a chance at the opportunity of a lifetime.


It is not just a piece of paper or digital PDF, it is the very first impression that you can give to a potential employer that could strike up many business deals, contracts, and proposals for yourself if you present it accurately and thoroughly.


Remember this: most open positions won't even post the job ad letting the public know that there is a vacancy, the majority of companies hire internally or from word of mouth, so feel free to send your professional resume around to the contact emails that you find on the website's of companies you're interested in test out these tips and tricks. You never know who will take an interest in your professionalism. You're just a resume away from a different kind of lifestyle!


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Here are some of the most common resume mistakes that I have seen over the years of being a Professional Resume Writer that assesses and fixes job-seeker resume profiles and applications:

  1. Grammar and spelling errors (especially February in the dates of employment)

  2. Incorrect or no contact information at the top of the page

  3. Not including the title of the job that the job-seeker is currently procuring

  4. Skills at the bottom and education at the top (this needs to be switched around)

  5. Missing keywords from the job vacancy announcement

  6. Leaving large amounts of blank white space

  7. Adding your references to your resume (make a separate document for these if asked)

  8. Inserting a picture of yourself (this will increase bias in the hiring process)

  9. Including periods on your professional resume

  10. Talking about your hobbies, interests, and any unnecessary/irrelevant information



Send in your most up to date resume here with links to open jobs: resume@thecareerisland.com

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