Resumes should be like business cards. When you receive a personalized business card that’s all cluttered, unless that’s an artist’s business card or it’s trying to portray particular skills unique to that design, how much time would you give it? Mere seconds? Whereas a business card and resume that show respect for the audience by being concise, organized and giving room to take notes could help. Especially if they only have one minute to review.
Most resumes shouldn’t be too creative.
There is some room for creativity. While getting my resume professionally reviewed, I asked about the blank space I left on the right side. “I had an interview recently where the interviewer took intricate notes on that space. I got the idea from my design class in school. Have you seen that often?” “Let’s take a look. No, not really, but it’s a good idea.[1,2]”
Those interviewers hadn’t seen my resume before I dropped in.
It’s unfortunate that people aren’t looking for the right candidate. They’re looking for a good enough candidate. You could match perfectly both professionally and personally. It’s just things can still get in the way from logistics to even internal favoritism. Rather than bemoaning circumstance, let’s focus on that business card analogy from above.
What’s the good of a stack of business cards sitting at your desk?
Hand them out! I’m keeping an envelope of around 3 of my most recent resume just in case, whether I’m employed or not, because you never know who might be open to redlining/editing your resume. I keep timestamped digital resumes handy on my computer and phone because you never know when the opportunity will present itself.
Depending on the situation, you may need a longer resume.
You can get around that with a thorough LinkedIn profile briefly listing your employment history as you might over the course of 2 or 3 pages. While I just threw out the idea of editing your resume, I think we get too hung up on the idea of editing, revising, and refining resumes that we don’t actually get them sent out. Let them breathe and be free!
Regardless of page count, I think it should have a clear design element.
You should be able to glance to the objective, skillset, employment, and education/training section in seconds. All typefaces and fonts should be consistent. Don’t overuse bold or italics. Use active voice, be proud, and be assertive. Use quantifiable action-oriented examples that explain what you did and specifically how that helped the company.
Just remember, you’ve gotta play within their game. It’s really mostly a joke.
After doing all this polish work where it’s so sharp, it’ll shoot through space and time, you shoot your resume out everywhere. Start with what’s easiest. If it takes you over a minute to apply, yourself, come back to it later to decide if you really want to work there. Talk to as many people as you can, and maybe most importantly:
Don’t take more than a minute of concern!
|Sources: My professional experiences.
Quotes: [1,2] Conversation. The reviewer was specifically looking at a generic resume template.
Inspirations: Making the most effective resume I can for as long as I need it.
Related: Other Career Story entries.
Photos: This week’s post-it note is hanging out with a framed copy of my resume. I did this when I needed to remind myself to edit it monthly. Now I do it almost compulsively. The resume is censored because I still rely on a professional career instead of writing to get money, and some of the content here would/could be disagreeable to some employers.