The Resume Delusion

solveHR Category: career, Employment, Recruitment & Selection No Comments


Outline and Structure
Some of the most common questions I get from candidates are, “how long their resume should be”, or “how it should be laid out.”  The most important thing to remember is that there are no set rules regarding the structure of resumes, only personal preferences.  Each hiring manager has their own way to look at resumes, and candidates should be able to express themselves whichever way they feel more comfortable.

We often get caught up with the presentation of the resume and forget to concentrate on what’s between the lines.  Some managers would say, “Throw it out if it’s more than two pages,” or “If they have a picture on it, I don’t want to interview them.”  There are a couple of problems with that.  First, you’re judging a book by its cover and not reading between the lines.  Secondly, you’re making assumptions that have nothing to do with the capabilities of performing the job correctly.

If we want diversity, we should encourage others to structure their resume that bets fits their personality and taste. If we stick to the “one-page outline”, we are putting people in a structured setting that does not allow them to deviate or think outside the box.  Some of the best employees that I have hired are those who managers overlooked due to their outline of their resume. Now of course we all should know that a resume does not need be 10 pages long or have an autobiography attached to it, we just need to make sure its presentable to the viewer. Here are some helpful tips to consider before you send out a resume:

  • Create accomplishments instead of duties in your bullet points
    For Example: Instead of
  • Responsible for improving processes; use
  • Improved business processes and contributed to projects making the business unit more effective
  • Create a resume that catches the viewers eye the moment they open to view it
  • Make sure you have a summary that explains your core strengths

One of the best sites that I personally use is and it automatically creates a format for you to personalize that is both eye appealing and creative.

Making Assumptions
Most people, when viewing a resume, expect to get the whole story on the candidate’s background and experience.  The most common mistakes that I hear from managers are regarding “job-hopping” and positions with short time frames.  This is a big issue that I constantly see, and hear from managers.  The most common phrase is, “They job hopped, or they didn’t stay this long so we can’t trust them.”


We make assumptions before we talk to that person, and that isn’t right. What if a person left a job suddenly due to a family emergency, or something personal came up.  There is always a reason, and we have to do our best to find out why.  We never should never forget the “Human” function in Human Resources.  Everyone has a story, and we should listen to it to understand their view.  A resume can only say so much, and it’s imperative that we understand that when hiring a candidate.  Here are some red flags that I look for in a resume:

  • Spelling and Grammar - This is a pet peeve of mine because if I am hiring someone to email clients daily, I expect them to double-check their work before they send it out. One misspelled word is tolerable but having more than that tells me they are not taking their communication seriously.
  • Unusual Employment History - I completely understand that people change their minds on what they want to do. However, if it becomes a pattern over time, this tells me, they still do not know what they want.  Turnover is expensive.  I want to make sure they want to work here and will not leave for another opportunity.

A resume is something everyone should create and use it to market their abilities.  If you need assistance with a resume, solveHR will gladly assist, and you can email me at for more information.

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Topics: career, Employment, Recruitment & Selection

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