resuem writingResume Writing “Rules” Don’t (or Shouldn’t) Exist

As a resume writer, I am constantly asked questions such as “What is the rules for writing a resume for (insert career target here)?” Many people that I speak with heavy preconceived notion of what a resume should or should not look like. The truth is, whatever gets you into the interview door is the right way to do it. Yes, I know, that is pretty broad and open-ended. Well, it is meant to be.

Resume writing is more of an art form than a science. Every reader is different, every environment in which it is red will be different. The competition level will be different. The competition volume will be different. As such, before you even type the first letter, take a minute, grab a cup of coffee, and consider who the recipient of your new resume will be

Let’s say, for example, you are submitting a resume for an entry level position in retail sales. In this instance, your reader is very likely going to be inundated with hundreds of resumes just like yours. So from a structural standpoint, what should we do to make reading easier for this individual? Well, first, we need to ensure there is plenty of white space within the resume for this individual. Your document may be #117 out of 145 they need to review. And that is just today. In this environment, your resume will not have a lot of time to get the point across. Strategic keyword and key phrase placement is going to be important, along with with focusing on brevity. This individual will appreciate the respect for their time.

But what if you are engaged in resume writing to apply for a  CEO level leadership role in a mid-sized or large corporation? While the concept mentioned above are important as a general guideline, the reader of this resume is experiencing a different reality. Your resume will not be competing with hundreds of other documents in such a case. This hiring authority will actually be expecting a little more detail. While you do not want to go past two pages if you can avoid it, you’ll definitely want to expound a little more on the details for this reader. With less competition and more at stake, the non contact details will have less of an effect on them. Almost from the very beginning of the process, your resume will be reviewed in detail. In such a case, you can afford to play with margins a little bit, as well as line spacing.

Regardless of the advice of your cousin, your barber, your attorney or your bartender, there is no one way to provide effective resume writing. Everyone brings a different set of skills and training to be table. And every job target will focus on something different. Don’t start your resume with preconceived notions. Start with that blank canvas and create your resume masterpiece from there.