Updated: Aug 27
As someone that has been heavily involved in the industry, both from a hiring and coaching standpoint, I’d like to set the record straight - there aren’t any rulebooks - only best practices.
A lot of people have the misconception that they MUST write their resume a certain way, such as:
Including a summary section,
Sticking to a certain page length, or
Always listing education first.
This type of resume writing advice simply isn’t true. There isn’t one way to write a resume because every individual presents a unique mix of skills, accomplishments, experiences, interests, and objectives. Consider the examples below:
For someone with six years of experience, the common guidance would be not to exceed a one page resume. But what if this person held three or four jobs, each with valuable experiences or an extensive list of achievements to add? A two page resume would be perfectly warranted in this case.
For someone with 17 years with one company, largely performing the same role? A one page resume would likely be suitable.
Two takeaway messages:
#1 Don’t lock yourself in a box because of some “rules” you once read somewhere
Your background is unique - it’s okay if your resume is too. Don’t conform to preconceived notions without first applying some critical thinking to your situation. If you need an extra page to get all of your points across, then do it.
#2 Cater to the requirements of your audience - the employer
This should serve as your guiding principle. Consider your reader, what they’re looking for, and try to picture yourself in their shoes when reviewing your resume.
What can Final Draft Resumes do for you?
We offer tailor-made resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn content development services designed to align with your unique mix of work history, skills, successes, and career goals.
Check out the full suite of services we offer:
Entry to midlevel professionals with less than 10 years of experience
Established professionals with over 10 years of experience
Executive professionals such as CEOs, VPs, and directors
About the Author
James Cooper is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and has been in the recruiting, career coaching, and writing business for almost 14 years. He began his career recruiting for AECOM, a Canadian engineering firm, and he's gone on to work with and help professionals land roles at top Fortune 500 companies.
Have questions about resume writing? Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.