For Every Rule There’s an Exception

Break the rules.I hate resume rules. One page only. Don’t go back more than 10 years. Don’t include hobbies. List volunteer work separately. Account for all date gaps. A good resume has had a heavy dose of common sense applied to it. Your resume should be the best representation of your experience and background.

Here are a two new resume rules to think about:

1. Relevant content rule: This is the what-do-I-include? rule. Does it make sense to have a multi-page resume, for example? Do you really need more space to outline your RELEVANT experience? Volunteer experience and hobbies fall into this category. Relevant? Include. Irrelevant? Leave off.

Insider tip: I rarely come across someone who NEEDS more than two pages of relevant relevant experience.

2. Common sense rule: This is the how-hard-am-I-making-the-reader-work? rule. This is where style, format, layout and content converge. Will the reader be familiar with a former employer or do you need a few sentences to describe the organization? How easy is it to understand your overall background if your resume is scanned in 5 seconds or less? White space? Font size?

Insider tip: Keep it basic. If I can’t easily understand how your background applies to my open position, I’ve got 50 more resumes to look through.

For every resume rule, there’s an exception. Let common sense be your guide.

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