Barbara Safani 6 Comments

This month’s Career Collective topic is Job-Hunting Rules to Break: Outdated Job-Search Beliefs.

I come across so many outdated concepts in resume writing that seem to be “passed down from generation to generation” of job seekers, so I thought this was a good time to dispel some common resume writing myths once and for all.

  1. Keep the resume to one page. Whether you have a one page resume or a 300 page resume, no one is reading it word for word. They are skimming it. Your job isn’t to squeeze as much information as possible on one page; it’s to prudently edit the content to focus on shining accomplishments and the most relevant content. Sometimes this takes one page; sometimes it takes two pages. Just because something is on one page doesn’t make it easier to read. Aim for a user-friendly design strategy with clean lines and information that is easy to find and stop getting so caught up in the length of the document.
  2. Always include an objective. An objective is of no use to a hiring manager. It doesn’t tell them how you will fix their problems or the unique value you can bring to the company. It’s generally all about you and what you want in your next job. And hiring managers don’t really care about what you want. Explain how you can ease their pain, up front at the beginning of the resume, and increase your chances of getting an interview.
  3. Never add color to a resume. Years ago, color wasn’t really an option on a resume. Today, color, shading, bold, and other design elements can be incorporated into a resume quickly and easily to make key information stand out. Have you ever read a marketing brochure that used graphic design and other visual elements to improve their messaging? Make no mistake…your resume is a marketing brochure. Why shouldn’t you use similar design techniques to get noticed by hiring managers?
  4. Left justify dates of employment. Dates were left justified when people were writing resumes on typewriters and there was really no better way to do it. If your resume looks like it was done on a typewriter, that’s a problem within itself. Beyond that, left justifying dates is a poor use of valuable space on a resume. Right-justify employment dates and save that space for more important information about the value you bring to employers.
  5. List references on your resume. This may have made sense if you were conducting a search prior to 1999. But now,  no one is going to solely rely on the references you list on a resume. Most hiring managers Google candidates before ever calling them in for an interview. They don’t need to look at the references you supply; they can dig up all kinds of information about you online.

You can read my colleagues’ post about outdated job search beliefs here:

Juice Up Your Job Search, @debrawheatman

It’s not your age, it’s old thinking, @GayleHoward

Want a Job? Ignore these outdated job search beliefs @erinkennedycprw

Job Search Then and Now, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes

Break the Rules or Change the Game? @WalterAkana

The New: From The Employer’s-Eye View, @ResumeService

Job Search: Breakable Rules and Outdated Beliefs, @KatCareerGal

Job Hunting Rules to Break (Or Why and How to Crowd Your Shadow), @chandlee @StartWire,

Shades of Gray, @DawnBugni

3 Rules That Are Worth Your Push-Back, @WorkWithIllness

Your Photo on LinkedIn – Breaking a Cardinal Job Search Rule? @KCCareerCoach

How to find a job: stop competing and start excelling, @Keppie_Careers

Be You-Nique: Resume Writing Rules to Break, @ValueIntoWords

Modernizing Your Job Search, @LaurieBerenson

How Breaking the Rules Will Help You in Your Job Search, @expatcoachmegan

Beat the Job-Search-Is-a-Numbers-Game Myth, @JobHuntOrg

25 Habits to Break if You Want a Job, @CareerSherpa


  1. Great points, Barbara! I cringe whenever I see left-justified dates. I’m so glad it made your list, and the shift in reference checking is such a sign of the times. Just another reminder about how we need to be monitoring our online reputation.

  2. Fantastic points Barbara. It’s amazing how the resume can hold so much weight in the hiring process and yet people do not keep up with how to write the best one they can – not use outdated techniques.

    It’s great to be a part of this wise group of career professionals!


  3. Barb,

    These are great tips. You hit several of my pet peeves here, especially:

    Dates in the left margin: When you did something typically less important than where you worked and what you did.

    Text without color: While no one wants to see red all over a resume, a moderate, intentional use of color can be beautiful–I love it for names of employers, headers, etc.

    Thanks again for sharing, it’s a pleasure to be working with you on Career Collective.


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