When To Break The “Rules” Of Resumes

June 4, 2015

We live in a world that’s changing quickly, even the technology we rely on to do our jobs and find new ones is in constant flux.

The Internet age’s idea of more informal corporate culture has spread like a virus across the country and, frankly, there’s palpable change in the world of job hunting. Despite all that’s going on around us, many job seekers still cling hard to the rules of resume writing. The good news is even professional resume writers agree that many of those stifling rules can be broken!

Write a longer resume. It’s a secret that executive resume writers have known for a long time. Sometimes it’s ok to have a resume that’s more than a page long. In fact, if you have more than 10 years of relevant experience or education, the rule of thumb allows a page per decade. Even though you have space to roam, remember not to ramble and only include what’s relevant — wasted space will still count against you when employers read your resume.

Leave out some stuff. This is generally considered a huge resume sin — but you can leave things out, especially if those things have no bearing on your current job hunt. All those tables you waited in college don’t need to show up on the same resume that you’re using to get an after-graduation technical position. Your volunteer work walking shelter dogs should probably also be trimmed out, unless they happened to be robot dogs.

Include hobbies and experiences. The inverse of leaving stuff out, adding stuff in can also help you in the right situation, provided that the information is relevant. For example, let’s say you’re applying for a sales position at a company that manufacturers mountain bikes. If you’ve been an avid mountain biker for years, this is really very pertinent information. Not only can you use your hobby to demonstrate your familiarity with the industry, you also can show that you understand the needs of mountain bikers.

Forget objective statements. You know what you want from your next job, but your employer probably doesn’t really care. All they want to see are the skills you bring to the table, and how you will solve his or her organization’s problems.