resume writer
executive cv

Common Sense Resume Advice

by Kim on January 19, 2015

With hundreds of resume advice sites touting the “right” way to write a resume, it’s hard to know what to believe or what is actually true, making it difficult to know where to start when attempting to write your own executive resume or hiring a professional resume writer. While I believe there are basic fundamentals that resumes should include (or not), I don’t particularly believe in resume “rules,” as long as your resume is doing its job, which is effectively marketing you to prospective employers.

One of the most common misconceptions presented is that a resume should never be more than one page, which isn’t true at all, especially for an executive with an accomplished background spanning twenty years or more. While detailed accounts of positions older than seven years or usually not needed (unless older experience is relevant to your career goal), you may risk losing out on important opportunities if you limit your career story to just one page. The majority of executive resumes I write are frequently two or more pages, yet in nearly twenty years, I’ve never heard of a candidate missing out merely because their resume was longer than one page.

Other “rules” that make me cringe, particularly when reading “how-to” sites, include listing hobbies, date of birth, date of graduation and/or references, none of which should be included on an executive resume. For one thing, you don’t want to advertise your age, because you could be considered either too young or old by those who may see age as an indicator of performance vs. actual proven achievements. References are not appropriate to list either, because your resume is about YOU and what you’ve accomplished. Readers are not going to check references at this preliminary stage, nor do they particularly care that you like to read or hike. However, if you have participated in something unusual or impressive, such as climbing Mt. Everest two times and living to tell about it, that might be something of interest as it can demonstrate important qualities that would be valuable in the workplace such as fortitude, dedication and fearlessness.

Formatting and overall presentation strategies are also frequently misrepresented. Some sites I see show samples replete with dense paragraphs, overly-creative formatting or those which were clearly created by a basic Word template, missteps that show a lack of imagination or knowledge about today’s resumes. Paragraphs are difficult to read, especially when readers usually have stack of resumes to review, “creative” formatting does not add value (unless you are in the design/creative industry) and Word templates are a dime a dozen and frequently only prompt a user to plug in duties, completely eliminating a section for accomplishments.

While the Internet can certainly be helpful in researching a variety of topics, including resume writing, you can be confident that my years of expertise will set you on the right path to the right resume.

Previous post:

Next post: