Bad Rule No. 5: Don’t have typos in your résumé
I’m not recommending that you misspell words on purpose, but I am recommending that you chill out about the typos. How can you possibly send out perfect résumés every time? Especially if you’re customizing each résumé for each job, which is what you should be doing… While 10 typos is a sign of incompetence, one typo might be a sign that you have a moderate and healthy standard of perfectionism.
I disagree. It is not difficult to proofread a one-page document. Having a perfectly spelled and error-free one-sheet is not a sign of unhealthy perfectionism, it’s a sign of having pride in everything you produce, particularly items relating to your personal brand. I’m not saying my documents are always perfect, but there is no good reason that any professional image-related document should have errors.
Bad Rule No. 6: Honesty is most important
My own résumé says, “Boston University, graduate program in English, wrote master’s thesis about hypertext.” I never graduated from my program (because I got an amazing job offer based on that thesis). But I did write my master’s thesis. It’s not a lie. Anyway, it would be insane to say, “English graduate program, cut out early.”
I don’t completely agree with this, either. In the author’s example, she is clearly implying she completed her master’s degree. She could deny it later if someone confronted her about the ambiguity, but it’s not worth the risk. The right thing to do would have been to find a way to finish the program. If she finished the thesis, there couldn’t have been much left to do. While I was completing my master’s degree and shopping around for jobs, my résumé clearly stated my master’s degree was still in progress.
Lying or creating false implications on a résumé probably won’t get you into major trouble unless you are hired for a high-profile position, but it’s much better to be clear… and safe. I’m sure there are some positions where your résumé will be passed over if it does not include a master’s degree, but the right solution is to finish the degree.
Bad Rule No. 7: Clean up your online identity
Build a more current online identity that will pop up highest when an employer or recruiter does an online background check (which about 70 percent do). One way to get your new identity to the top of the search engines is to use Naymz… Another way to control what people see about you is to blog.
I have mixed feelings about online identities. Obviously, a blog like this one could be detrimental to my hiring prospects due to all the personal content. On the other hand, if I wanted to find a position as a financial writer, it has the slight possibility of being an asset. A person in a creative field should definitely have an identity that is easily discoverable and controlled. Professionals should use services like Naymz if they don’t have time to create their own websites and optimize search engine results.
Bad Rule No. 8: Treat a job hunt like a project and be a project manager
That’s great advice if you look for a job four times in your whole life. But today, job hunting is so frequent that often there’s no downtime — not even while you start a new job… It’s mostly about networking, and you can’t build your network if you’re taking breaks, because being good at networking means being a good friend.
These days, the job hunt is a constant event. There are a few people I work with who have “settled” into positions and aren’t looking to move up or move out. That’s fine, but most people my age (I’m 30) have a very different set of priorities. They won’t stay too long if they’re not getting everything they want from a position, so their ears and eyes are always open for other opportunities. Rather than starting and stopping the job search, it’s a continuous event.
Searching for jobs is one of my least favorite activities. I agree with Penelope Trunk’s premise that the old, standard job hunting tips should be revisited and revised. I agree with most of the eight points she listed in her article, except for my comments above. I’m interested to hear more opinions, especially about online identities. Penelope thinks you shouldn’t worry too much about a squeaky-clean online persona and suggests just a few ways to control what people see. How would you prefer potential employees see your online identity?
Published or updated February 2, 2007.