Too Many Cooks Spoil the Resume Broth


This posting is a guest entry from the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD: Ashley writes: Dr. Hansen, I have gotten several different opinions on my resume, with some saying it’s good, and others saying I should have a functional resume. I have been to my college’s career services and other professors. So I am not really sure which is best for me. Should a new college grad have a functional resume? Should my resume be limited to one page? Please let me know what you think.
The Career Doctor responds: Several things jump at me when I look at your resume. All job-seekers should remember that a resume is a strategic marketing document that must have two key elements: design and content. First, let’s discuss design. Every design aspect must be consistent on your resume — same style of headings, same margins… a coherent and appealing look. One of my pet peeves deals with margins… I hate unusually narrow margins. There’s a rule of “thumb” with resumes — margins must be big enough for my (big) thumbs to hold on to it and not cover any content. Resumes must also be designed with some flair, and job-seekers often accomplish this style through varying typography, font size, and font selection. Your name and major headings should be larger, perhaps in a different font. And be sure to include as much contact information as possible. Second, let’s talk content. I would recommend you — and all job-seekers — use one of the “hotter” elements in resume writing — the “Qualifications Summary,” also sometimes referred to as “Professional Profile.” This section is what I like to refer to as the executive summary of your resume — it may change depending on what type of job you are seeking — but it should be the key 3-5 accomplishments that make you better than anyone else for the job you are seeking. And as you write about your experience, remember to focus on accomplishments, keywords, and action verbs. Whenever possible, quantify your accomplishments. As for resume length, the current rule is a resume is as long as it needs to be based on your experience, and college grads with lots of experience can have two-page resumes. Get more information on resumes and resume-writing in this section of Quintessential Careers: Resume and CV Resources for Job-Seekers.