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4 résumé ‘tricks’ that are actually traps

Many experts will tell you to include these things on your résumé. Here’s why you shouldn’t.

4 résumé ‘tricks’ that are actually traps
[Photo: Andrew Pons/Unsplash]

There is a lot of content out there that will claim to solve your résumé woes. The truth is, there is no quick fix for a résumé in need, and you should steer clear of anyone who claims otherwise. With an average of 250 applications received per open role, hiring managers have seen countless résumés and have a keen eye for the sneaky secrets applicants may use to try to slide through.

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If you’re thinking of trying one of these résumé tricks, you may want to think again.

Visual distractions

While a strong template can definitely grab attention and help you stand out, be very discerning when it comes to visual elements that “pop.” This goes for loud colors, graphics, and charts. Unless you are in a field like graphic design, subtlety will be the name of the game. And remember, elaborate formatting can often render your résumé unreadable by applicant tracking systems.

It should also be noted that including a headshot on your résumé is a practice of the past. Doing so can open the door to many types of discrimination, and employers may reject your CV immediately just to prevent potential accusations.

Keyword overload

Adding a keyword section to highlight your specific skill set is a great way to ensure that your résumé will make it past an ATS; it can also make sure that a hiring manager can easily locate the required skills for the role on your CV. A bad idea, however, is adding a keyword section so expansive that it attempts to veil a thin work history. Hiring managers can see through this easily. After all, it doesn’t matter how many keywords and proficiencies you include in your résumé if you don’t have the accomplishments (with evidence) to back them up.

Length

This failed résumé trick is especially relevant for mid- and senior-level professionals. If your strategy is to wow hiring managers with your full career history, you may want to rethink your approach. One of the most common résumé mistakes job seekers make is believing that length denotes ability. However, while you may have over 20 years of experience, a hiring manager is not going to be interested in the day-to-day responsibilities of your entry-level role.

The appropriate length of your résumé is dependent on where you are in your career, but the standard is two pages. Overall, being brief and selective about the experience you include will ensure readability and demonstrate that you know what accomplishments are most important for the role you’re applying to.

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Personal information

Any personal information aside from your contact information (read: email, phone number, LinkedIn URL, and city and state of residence) has no place on a modern résumé. Details about interests and hobbies, family life, or colorful jokes will not entertain or delight a hiring manager, nor will these elements provide a better understanding of your personality in a way that is valuable to the hiring process. Venturing into the area of creative writing can be risky and, if at all, should be contained to a cover letter.

This article originally appeared on Glassdoor and is reprinted with permission.

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