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Job-Seeking Advice You're Getting Is Wrong

BOSTON (MainStreet) -- The search for a job in the currect economic climate is stressful enough without the added pressure of unsolicited advice.

Friends, family and professional recruiters will offer all sorts of guidance about how to land a position. Especially when it comes to resume writing, take it with a grain of salt.

Your resume can set you apart from the crowd, but only if you reject incorrect conventional wisdom and create one that sells your skills the right way.

Many of the old-school rules and much of the conventional wisdom when it comes to resumes is either outdated or was never really on target to start with:

You should never have a resume of more than one page.

List your hobbies and civic efforts.

Include a statement and summary of your "goals and objectives."

Keep the document dry and professional.

The problem, according to professional resume writers, is that much of this advice establishes a cookie-cutter formula that makes it hard for your own document to stand out.

Even if you are employed, revisiting your resume and readying it for future needs is a good idea, says Career Directors International, a professional organization that includes among its ranks professional resume writers, career coaches, recruiters and outplacement specialists. The group has marked September as "Update Your Resume Month" since 2001 and provides tips for doing so at its website, including via Twitter.

Among thosee offering advice on the site is Grant Cooper of New Orleans-based CRW CareerPro. Among the mistakes he singles out: showing only your job descriptions without accomplishments; one-page, brief resumes for people with considerable experience; using small font size and abbreviated descriptions to fit into one page; listing hobbies, interests and personal data; placing references directly in the resume; courier font, unusual fonts and "fancy" formatting; explanations of "reasons for leaving" previous positions; and lying, exaggerating or misrepresenting your credentials and accomplishments

What does work: showing your accomplishments for each job description; including email and Web addresses; highlighting special projects and assignments; and creatively presenting entrepreneurial activities.

"Instead of pondering endlessly the ideal length of your resume, a better question to mull is how much information is too much," suggests Patricia Duckers of New Jersey-based The Resume Writer. "There are two things you need to do to find the ideal length of your resume. The first is to take personal inventory of your existing resume to determine just how strong your presentation really is."

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