Some Resume Rules Never Change

Nancy Anderson
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Computer technology changed resume rules, thanks to the advent of applicant trackers, online job aggregators and smartphone apps that make applying for a job more efficient. Despite these advancements, there are five old school rules you should always follow when working on your resume.

1. Keep It Simple

You might think colored paper, decorative stationery, unusual formatting or fancy fonts help your resume stand out in a good way, but that's not the case. Only use creative resumes for specific industries that require exact formats. Otherwise, it's best to use an easy-to-read font, bullet points, standard margins and standard headings for your resume.

2. Include a Brief Company Description

Include a brief company description on your resume, especially if you worked for a company that isn't well known. A short sentence or two should suffice. Thanks to startups and a highly competitive labor market, employees have opportunities to work for all kinds of companies. Not every employer knows which firms are which; this is especially true in large cities with thousands of employers. If you don't have room to include a short sentence or two, simply type the industry next to the company name. For example, type "Smithco, Inc. - Hospitality supplier."

3. Keep Your Resume Short

Your resume should be one page or less. If you have more than 10 years of experience in one industry, consider expanding to a two-page resume. Remember, a recruiter or hiring manager only glances at a resume for a few seconds before deciding if he wants to keep reading or move on to the next candidate. Make sure employers instantly see your vital stats to increase your chances of landing an interview.

4. Include an Objective Statement

It's still important to include an objective statement on your resume. Your objective statement can be a career summary that has four or five bullet points, or you can state the reason why you're embarking on a new career path. Having a clear objective statement gives you a chance to let employers know exactly what you're looking for in a career and what you want to achieve at their firm.

5. Edit Thoroughly

Edit your resume thoroughly. Typos leave a bad impression, making recruiters think you're not detail-oriented or simply don't care. Look over your document a few times, leave it for a day and then examine it again. After you look at it again, have a friend, family member or colleague review the document. If you have extra funds, consider hiring someone to craft a resume for you.

Your resume serves as a professional snapshot of your skills and experience. Despite contemporary technology, there are still some old school rules that remain relevant to your job search.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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