Busting resume myths: what do you really need to include?

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Your resume is an important element of any job application as it allows you to quickly show an employer that you have what they’re looking for, but there are also plenty of myths floating around about what you should and shouldn’t do when preparing your resume.
 

Here we debunk some of the most common resume myths to help you avoid making a resume blunder.

Myth #1: You need to include your full work history

When applying for a role, you need to demonstrate to the employer that you have the necessary skills and experience to perform the job they’re trying to fill. However, it’s a common misconception that you need to list every role you’ve held throughout your employment history.
Busting resume myths: what do you really need to include?
While you do need to show them that you have ample experience under your belt, there’s a limit to how much you need to provide.
 
Remember, recruiters and employers are likely to be scanning through resume after resume, quickly checking whether each applicant has the necessary experience. Listing every job you’ve had since you were 15 years old is going to slow that process down and it’s simply not necessary. For example: if you’re applying for a role as a Financial Controller, they probably don’t need to know about the part-time role you held in a farm machinery dealership 20 years ago.
 

In most cases, you only really need to list your most recent experience (generally no more than the last 10 years), along with any other previous roles which are relevant to the role you’re applying for.

Myth #2: You should hide short-stints or roles you were fired from

Short-stints or being fired from a previous role can be a concern for a prospective employer, so it can be tempting to leave those roles off your resume entirely; however, this can work against you.
 
Honesty is usually the best policy; listing each of your previous roles (including the questionable ones) is generally going to look better than a work history dotted with gaps of what looks like no employment. You just need to be prepared to answer any questions about those roles if they were to come up in an interview.
 

Check out our blog post about how to handle a questionable work history for some helpful tips.

Myth #3: You need to make it look flashy so it stands out

When you’re up against so much competition, you might think you need to ‘jazz up’ your resume with plenty of colours and graphics to make sure it gets noticed, but it’s simply not necessary.
 
Busy recruitment staff and dealership owners want to be able to quickly scan through applications to get a basic understanding of each candidate’s core experience and skill sets. An overly elaborate or decorative resume can make it harder for them to find what they’re looking for and can do your application a disservice.
 

Keeping your resume short and succinct and using clear subheadings to separate your contact information, employment history, qualifications, and skills will make it easier for the assessor to digest and more likely to get a tick, not a flick.

Myth #4: You need to include contact details for your referees

While you will need to provide the contact details of a couple of referees at some point during the recruitment process, you don’t need to provide them with your initial application.
 
If you’re currently employed, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want your existing employer catching on to the fact that you’re shopping around for a new role when they get a call for a reference check out of the blue—particularly if you don’t end up getting the job.
 
In most cases, it’s perfectly acceptable to write “referees available upon request” instead of providing the name and contact details of your current manager or supervisor. Most employers understand this and will be happy to hold off on contacting your referees until the final stages of the recruitment process.
 
In cases where a job advertisement specifies that you need to provide referees with your application, see if there are any referees you can list from previous roles, and state that you can provide the details of your current manager or supervisor on request.
 
Teamrecruit is Australia’s most established recruitment agency specialising in truck, earthmoving and agricultural machinery dealerships in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Find out more about Teamrecruit and how we support employers and candidates in the dealership industry.

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