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Many of the old-school rules and much of the conventional wisdom when it comes to resumes is either outdated or was never really on target to start with: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

"It is important to understand who you are and what unique traits you alone have to offer the prospective employer," she adds. "Ask yourself if you've communicated why you are the best candidate for the position. Review your content to ensure that your resume doesn't just consist of a job description, but rather results you achieved on the job."

Louise Fletcher, president and co-founder of Blue Sky Resumes in New York, says too many people are pushed into having "colorless" resumes in the pursuit of being "professional."

" They think it has to be without personality and what people think of as very professional, using the trade language that they see on another million resumes," she says. "They are the same words everybody says about themselves, 'I'm an accomplished and dynamic professional with a drive for results.' It doesn't mean anything. Employers see all these resumes where everybody sounds the same."

She says she has seen clients who initially crafted more creative and effective resumes be talked out of their approach by friends and family.

"Of course it needs to sound professional in the sense that it should be well-presented with good grammar and spelling and all of that," Fletcher says. "But it shouldn't be boring. I think that's sometimes what people interpret 'professional' to mean."

The "career objective" portion of the common resume is an addition that needs to be rethought, Fletcher says.

"I always tell people to forget about telling people your objective," she says. "Your objective is not important to the person hiring you. Writing, 'I want to work for a dynamic progressive company,' doesn't actually matter for the person hiring you. What he or she wants to know is, 'How are you gong to add to my mission' and 'How are you going to help us make money.'"

"It's a misconception that you have to begin with an objective and say what you want your career to be," Fletcher adds. "What you have to do is create an ad for yourself, and in that ad you have to tell the benefits of hiring you in the very first lines of the resume."

Fletcher sees it as important to let your personality show in a resume. That doesn't mean relying on the old standby of listing "hobbies," though.

"It's a narrow definition of personality," she says. "Its not that you are an avid Dr. Who fan. Those parts of your personality that make you valuable at work are the things that need to come out."

This involves finding ways to detail not just past jobs, but why you were an asset to your employers. Awards, promotions and testimonials can all be used to achieve this.

"There is always a way that your work can be measured and prove that you were successful," Fletcher says.

The resume is increasingly a gateway to your online presence, Fletcher says.

"They are going to look at the resume, then you are going to go online, BearingPoint Inc. and Google ( GOOG - Get Report) your name, search for you, and find out what they can find out there," she says. "What they find has to match what's on the resume."

This can be turned to an advantage by using social media sites such as LinkedIn ( LNKD) and Facebook to put your message out as long as you "make sure those profiles are professional and don't have anything that would embarrass you," she adds. "You can't keep up a false personality or presentation anymore. Everything is out there for people to find."

Fletcher says she often tries to pull quotes from social media sites about a person and put them up on the resume.

"If you have people writing things about you, why not use them on your resume?" she says. "It is another way of showing personality and it is a third-party testimonial, which is always more powerful than what you say about yourself."

"I don't know how resumes will evolve. We are developing it as we go along," she says, "but I think they will become much more of a collection of pieces of information that are already published about you than just a career history."

-- Written by Joe Mont in Boston.

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