The 3 types of resume feedback you’ll get

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While putting the finishing touches on a resume, some of my clients get feedback on the document–some of it solicited, some of it unsolicited.

Over the years, I’ve found that this feedback runs the gamut; some is helpful, some is “happy to glad,” and some is out-of-touch.

Out-of-touch feedback

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of outdated resume advice circulating. Self-anointed experts share this advice on LinkedIn and in articles on various websites (some of them otherwise trustworthy). Then, people who don’t know that much about current resume trends and best practices read these tips and articles, believe them to be reliable, and share them with friends and family members.

Then there’s the folks who presumably have some expertise–someone who worked in HR 10 years ago, for example. This can be tricky. Hiring trends have changed a lot in the last decade. LinkedIn and resume best practices are constantly evolving, and someone whose experience was years ago simply might not be familiar with current practices.

Then there are the executives, managers, HR people, college career counselors, and even resume writers whose understanding of resume best practices is based on what they learned 20 years ago. The knowledge from 20 years ago helped them land a job, and they just assume nothing has changed.

So they might think that all resumes should be one page, have an objective at the top, and be black and white without even the most conservative color accents.

There’s also flawed advice circulating about how to make a resume ATS-friendly (for employers’ applicant tracking software). Some of it is based on what was needed back when companies were scanning paper resumes using OCR and primitive ATS, circa 2001.

“Happy-to-glad” feedback

Some of the feedback you’ll receive is fairly benign, yet inconsequential. Example: “Use Arial, not Calibri” for the font. Or say “developed” instead of “formulated.” Why would someone even waste their time (and yours) with these kinds of suggestions? Simple: it makes them feel important! If you’ve read Dale Carnegie’s work, you know how significant that is.

Having nothing to say presumably happens when someone lacks the knowledge to share any expertise!

Helpful feedback

Sometimes we get resume feedback that is truly helpful. A suggestion about a bullet that might be added, for example. Some of the best advice often comes from people who have hired for the roles you’re seeking. In other words, someone at the level of your would-be boss. It might even be a former boss of yours. Just bear in mind that these folks often give a mix of helpful, “happy-to-glad,” and out-of-touch feedback! So you’ll need to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff–that’s something I help my clients do.

In fact, more often than not I find that advice coming from a particular person doesn’t ALL fall under one category. That’s what can make it so tricky–if one suggestion is solid, it’s easy to assume the rest are, too.

This article first appeared on www.KellyDonovan.com