There are certain resume rules everyone knows because they’re practically engraved in stone. But the interesting thing is that most people also have a list of reasons why they’re the exception. Maybe you’ve seen the algorithms that multiply the number of jobs you’ve have by your years of experience, to tell you how long your resume really should be. Or, maybe you just know that you can break them in this one, specific instance.
With all the rules, and the amendments to the rules, it’s hard to know whether you should stick to conventional wisdom—or ignore it.
Well, here’s what we recommend:
1. Does Your Resume Still Need to Be One Page?
Let’s start with the fact that there is a real-life exception for when a one-page resume will not work in your favor. Federal resumes typically run two to five pages!
Not applying to work in the federal government? Then one page should be just right. Many people think it’s impossible to put their best foot forward with such little space; after all, if you’ve worked multiple jobs, that means cutting down the number of bullets—and maybe even leaving off certain work experience altogether. But here’s the secret: Deleting extra information works in your favor.
Cutting your experience down to one page forces you to zero in on the most relevant experience. Too many people have bullets that don’t really add anything (think: a language section that includes high school Spanish or every aspect of your first two jobs). If you cut all of the extraneous, decent bullets and focus solely on your greatest achievements and most applicable information—everything on that page is suddenly more relevant, more impressive, and more skim-able.