This short post is going to cover the nuts and bolts of résumés.
Let’s start by discussing the most contested issue in résumé writing: length. There are basically two schools of thought here. The first says a résumé should never, under any circumstances, be more than a single page. The second, says a résumé should be as long as it needs to be. Where do I fall? In the second camp.
HOWEVER—I have never, even once, seen a résumé that needed to be longer than two pages. And most of them I see don’t need to be longer than a single page. I’m not saying they don’t exist, just like I can’t say with any certainty that Big Foot doesn’t exist. You can almost always fit what the hiring committee needs to know about you in a single page, two if you’ve held a lot of relevant positions with different responsibilities, have a lot of certifications, etc.
Edit, shorten, and even widen the margins a little to get that sucker onto one or two pages. Always ask yourself the following question: if I were on the hiring committee, would I think this information was both a) relevant and b) important enough to put on a resume? If the answer to either question is “no,” leave it off. But what you absolutely never want to do is make the person reading your résumé feel like you’ve wasted their time.
Let me say that again, because this is what the debate about length really drills down to. Do not make the person reviewing your résumé think you wasted their time. And don't make them hunt for the good stuff.
Next, let’s talk about style. You can Google templates that will give you options for how to format things like your name, contact information, and headers of the sections. My advice here is not to try and reinvent the wheel. Instead, match the style of your résumé to your field. If you’re in graphic design, you’ll want to go with a modern looking font and design. It should be visually pleasing, just like the work you do. If you’re a divorce lawyer, keep things clean and traditional. If you’re in creative writing, you can a little more leeway when it comes to fonts and structure (but don’t go crazy).
Just always remember the cardinal rule of crafting a résumé: the résumé is for the benefit of the hiring committee. Make every decision, from length to content, with that perspective in mind.
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