By now, we all know the golden rule of resumes: one page not including the cover letter. The only problem with only giving one white page is that it doesn't take into account that some industries may need more than just a single page for a resume or require actual work products that they can see. (For related reading, also check out Top 8 Ways To Get Your Resume Thrown Out.)
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So what are some of the different resumes out there?
This is what everyone thinks of as a "resume." You format it in such a way that it highlights your employment history and your duties and responsibilities as an employee. These resumes are tailor-made for industries where they are more interested in who you worked for because the job itself may not differ from company to company.
What it looks like:
- Name and Contact Information
- List of Employers with Role or Position Held
- Description of duties at each employer
- List of Skills (technical and soft)
This is the resume that people tend to either not know about or are afraid to do, because of the one-page rule. A project-based resume is five pages or less and formatted by project, rather than by employer. The first page usually contain a short listing of your education, skills, employers, dates and position, with the bulk of the resume is in the last four pages when you list out each relevant project in detail.
What it looks like:
- Name and Contact Information
- Overview of experience (years, total number of projects)
- List of skills from all your projects (technical and soft)
- List of employers, dates and positions held
- List of projects with the employer, project purpose, tasks and work products
These resumes are usually not your standard black text on white paper resumes. If you are in a very creative industry such as advertising, fashion or graphic design, you might want to consider sending in a video resume, a web showcase of your skills, making a small garment collection to show off your skills or making a portfolio to display your designs. These recruiters won't be as interested in your employers and education as they will be in your work products. (Check out more unusual resumes in 6 Extreme Ways To Land Your Dream Job.)
There is no standard for a creative resume, but don't forget to have a business card with your contact information and a sample booklet or portfolio on the web so they can keep it as a reference and a reminder of who you are and what you can do.
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Which Resume Should You Use?
You should ask yourself: What would I want to know as a recruiter? Would they want to see just a list of who you've worked for, because the roles and duties are the same for every employer? Or is your industry more project and client-based, and they would be more interested in what you did on a case-by-case basis?
If you are still unsure, sometimes the simplest way is to get in touch with a local contact in your industry whom you respect, and ask for a copy of their resume so you can format yours in a similar fashion, but not to copy it. You can always add your own individual touch to any resume, keeping in mind that it is a representation of who you are as a professional.
Or you can ask a recruiter what they want to see, and what information they need to know the next time around.
Tips for Crafting a Resume
Keep in mind that many recruiters may be employees who are just collecting resumes, and weeding them out for the final hiring manager who will conduct the interview. If your resume is missing a specific keyword they've been told to search for, you may be the perfect candidate, but your resume may not even make it to the hiring department's desk.
Some key things to look out for in a resume:
- Industry keywords for the position
- Spelling and grammar
- Proper formatting (not too small of a font or too many spaces)
- Offer targeted, relevant information suited to the position
- Quantify your efforts (e.g. how much revenue generated)
- Acronyms spelled out in full (e.g. HTML (hypertext markup language))
- Well laid out, logical and organized for someone to skim over in 10 seconds
Every Resume Is Different
There is no need to conform to a set of rules if it doesn't make sense. The same advice applies to whether or not you should write a cover letter or a short description about why you want the job or who you are. It all depends on the employer, your industry and the position, so use your judgment.
For more information, take a look at 6 Tips For A No-Experience Resume.
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