I recently attended a Lunch-&-Learn where the host agency invited several guests from the Resume Writers Association. We broke into small groups, and my group included two professionals. I learned some tips that I will use with my clients, but what was most interesting is that even two credentialed resume writers disagreed about resume format and content.
This confirmed my philosophy that there are three universal truths about resumes:
1) Everyone has opinions about resumes.
I tell my clients that if you show your resume to five different people, you will get at least six different opinions. I myself am likely to have two different opinions. Resume writing is much more art than science, and depends on your own background and experiences, the type of jobs you seek, the specific opportunity for which you are applying, and the preferences of the writer or reviewer.
2) There are no absolute “rules” about resumes.
Anyone who tells you that a resume should be this, or should not include that, is laying a rule that may not actually exist. Employers are people, and people have preferences. While one employer may want to have a resume exceed one page to show the detail of your work experience, another employer becomes annoyed. You cannot please everyone. That said, there are best practices, and I share my opinions with my clients, but I am careful to emphasize, these are my opinions.
3) At the end of the day, professional resume writers and workforce developers are not hiring anyone.
Workforce developers, professional resume writers and reviewers serve a valuable purpose. Many job seekers woefully understate their marketable skills and qualifications, and a good resume writer will help flesh out your experiences. I encourage my clients to get multiple points of views about their resumes, understanding that they are likely to get a lot of contradictory opinions.
You will not look far before finding someone who disagrees with some of my advice. We all talk to employers and have good reasons for our recommendations, but ultimately, it is your resume. Take all the differing opinions, make it your own, and use what is going to work best to market your skills, experience, and benefits for the specific employer.
Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.