13 Things HR Won't Tell You

HR1. "Once you're unemployed more than six months, you're considered pretty much unemployable. We assume that other people have already passed you over, so we don't want anything to do with you." -Cynthia Shapiro, former human resources executive

2. "When it comes to getting a job, who you know really does matter. No matter how nice your résumé is or how great your experience may be, it's all about connections." -HR director at a health-care facility

3. "If you're trying to get a job at a specific company, often the best thing to do is to avoid HR entirely. Find someone at the company you know, or go straight to the hiring manager." -Shauna Moerke, an HR administrator in Alabama

4. "People assume someone's reading their cover letter. I haven't read one in 11 years." -HR director at a financial services firm

5. "We will judge you based on your e-mail address. Especially if it's something inappropriate like kinkyboots101@hotmail.com or johnnylikestodrink@gmail.com." -Rich DeMatteo, a recruiting consultant in Philadelphia

6. "If you're in your 50s or 60s, don't put the year you graduated on your résumé." -HR professional at a midsize firm in North Carolina

7. "There's a myth out there that a résumé has to be one page. So people send their résumé in a two-point font. Nobody is going to read that." -HR director at a financial services firm

8. "I always read résumés from the bottom up. And I have no problem with a two-page résumé, but three pages is pushing it." -Sharlyn Lauby, HR consultant in Florida

9. "Most of us use applicant-tracking systems that scan résumés for key words. The secret to getting your résumé through the system is to pull key words directly from the job description and put them on. The more matches you have, the more likely your résumé will get picked and actually seen by a real person." -Chris Ferdinandi, HR professional in the Boston area

10. "Résumés don't need color to stand out. When I see a little color, I smirk. And when I see a ton of color, I cringe. And walking in and dropping off your resume is no longer seen as a good thing. It's actually a little creepy." -Rich DeMatteo

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11. "It's amazing when people come in for an interview and say, 'Can you tell me about your business?' Seriously, people. There's an Internet. Look it up." -HR professional in New York City

12. "A lot of managers don't want to hire people with young kids, and they use all sorts of tricks to find that out, illegally. One woman kept a picture of two really cute children on her desk even though she didn't have children [hoping job candidates would ask about them]. Another guy used to walk people out to their car to see whether they had car seats." -Cynthia Shapiro

13. "Is it harder to get the job if you're fat? Absolutely. Hiring managers make quick judgments based on stereotypes. They're just following George Clooney's character in Up in the Air, who said 'I stereotype. It's faster.'"-Suzanne Lucas, a former HR executive

PLUS: 10 More secrets you should know before the interview >>

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