The recent trend of graphic resumes has encouraged jobseekers to use their hiring materials as a form of self-expression, often including a section dedicated to personal interests and hobbies. A potential risk with this approach is that the valuable resume real estate could be better used to highlight more relevant professional experience and transferrable skills. Below are a few effective ways to present your personal interests in a way that showcases their professional relevance.
#1: SHOW, DON'T TELL
Rather than explicitly stating your interests and hobbies are, show prospective employers what your creative interests are by emphasizing how you’ve used them professionally. If you donate your time to a cause you believe in, including it in your resume can give potential employers a glimpse of your personality, while articulating your relevant work-related skills.
Here’s an example of how this might look in your resume:
NYC REFUGEE & ADVOCACY New York, NY
Photographer - Volunteer 2015 - Present
Provided pro-bono photography services on behalf of community-based organization dedicated to advancing opportunities for immigrant residents of New York City.
In this example, the resume demonstrates the candidate’s photography skills AND interest in immigrant advocacy, while providing the reader with a clear sense of the scope and relevance of their contributions.
#2: TAKE ON LEADERSHIP ROLES
Community involvement—including affiliations with professional organizations or community programs—can show a candidate’s cultural fit. For example, a graphic designer applying for a position at a bicycle gear company might want to include their leadership experience during community biking events.
BIKEFEST New York, NY
Leadership Committee Co-Chair - Volunteer 2015 - Present
Directed leadership committee for annual three-day bicycle festival with over 5,000 attendees.
#3: CAPITALIZE ON YOUR COVER LETTER
If you’re missing some formal experience in an area that you’re passionate about, you may want to consider using your cover letter as the platform to share this information with prospective employers. For example, the same graphic designer could explain how the role provided a unique combination of their expertise in graphic design and passion for bike culture. In this instance, having this hobby might set the candidate apart.
By using these methods, you can ensure your resume strikes the perfect balance between showcasing your value and personality. For more resume tips and tricks, follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
When developing and editing your resume, it’s important to provide just enough detail to demonstrate your professional strengths and accomplishments without overwhelming the reader. It can be hard to achieve the perfect balance, especially for jobseekers with an extensive or diverse career history. That being said, we’ve seen (and shortened) resumes spanning up to 12 pages! A resume this long is simply too daunting for most hiring professionals, and would most likely land an otherwise qualified candidate’s resume in the discard pile. For that reason, it’s important to cap your resumes at one or two pages, depending on the extent and context of your previous experience.
How a Long Resume Hurts Your Chances
A resume exceeding the standard 1-2 page length is by no means a deal breaker; however, it can hinder your chances of landing an interview for the following reasons:
How to Know if Your Resume Should Be One or Two Pages
While most job seekers (and resume writers) would prefer there to be a hard and fast rule about resume length, this is ultimately determined on a case-by-case basis. When deciding whether to cap your resume at one or two pages, consider the following:
If you primarily answered yes to the above questions, you’ll likely be able to contain the best parts of your professional life into a single page.
If you primarily answered yes to the above questions, a two-page resume will likely be the best way to showcase the full scope of your accomplishments without cluttering the information.
There are often special circumstances which may come into play. For example, if you didn’t graduate from college, or if your early experience was unrelated to your current field, you may want to bury information on a second page where it is less visible to recruiters.
Regardless of length, it’s important to organize your resume in a way that’s consistent and aesthetically-pleasing. In line with this, make sure that you don’t have single bullet lines or incomplete sections hanging off onto an extra page.
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The goal of a resume is to highlight ALL relevant skills and transferable experience that you’ve gained throughout your career. To make sure that your resume showcases the most impressive and applicable accomplishments, it’s important to tailor your hiring materials for each specific sector that you plan to apply to.
In a perfect world, your resume would already contain relevant experience in the field that you’re interested in pursuing. But what if you’ve had a career transition, or were in an unrelated field early on? These types of instances may require that you spend some additional time tailoring your resume. Here are some quick tips to make your resume resonate with hiring professionals in your dream field.
By following these guidelines, you’ll greatly improve the odds that your resume will resonate with prospective employers. For more resume tips and tricks, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
As a professional resume writer and career coach, I am often asked what type of resume format works best. While this may seem like a simple question, the answer is anything but direct. In fact, a Google search for “best resume layout” garners well over 4 million results. While there isn’t a single layout that will suit all professionals, there are definite formatting guidelines that will increase the amount of attention that your resume receives. For example, one formatting rule that I use is the Backwards 7, which refers to the space on the page that is most likely to be seen on first glance. Including important numbers and active language on these parts of the page will help to ensure that the most impressive aspects of your career history are also the most visible to potential employers.
Here’s how it works:
Think “Above the Fold”
The term ‘above the fold’ evolved from the newspaper industry, when the most important headlines and stories where printed above the horizontal paper fold to optimize visibility. This phrase still holds true in the fields of writing, marketing and design, where similar principles are at play. The most critical information should be close to the top of the page as possible - where audiences are more likely to read it.
Steer to the Left
Several studies have been conducted that outline readers’ most common visual patterns. Results from these have shown that English-reading audiences favor the left side of the page (or screen), and visual heat maps also show that a lot of attention is given to the left side of the page. These studies also show that readers’ attention is more likely to drop off as they scan toward the right side of the page.
What does this tell us about resume formatting?
Since visual priority is given the top-left portion of the page, it’s important to insert the most eye-catching and impressive content on the part of the page that resembles the shape of a backwards seven. This means that the top third of the page and the left third of the page are your most valuable real estate. Here are a few keys ways to accomplish:
Hiring managers will spend less than three seconds deciding whether your resume warrants a more in-depth review. Without a strong format and layout, qualified candidates are at a disadvantage. Be sure to follow the above guidelines when writing your resume to ensure that you’re making a great first impression with employers!
For many of us, writing a resume is a tedious—and sometimes painful—process. We’ve all spent long hours trying to recall and articulate what we’ve accomplished with the hopes of scoring a coveted interview with an organization that’s not soul-crushing. The unfortunate reality is that, without an engaging, impressive career overview or summary section on your resume, the rest of the document will likely go unnoticed.
Why Your Professional Summary Matters
You’ve likely heard the statistic that hirers spend less than six seconds looking at each resume. The truth is that you only have an initial 2-3 seconds to convince employers to keep reading. This time is critical to show the reader that 1) you actually spent time and energy on your resume, 2) that you’re qualified for the position and 3) that you’ve been involved in similar roles/projects. The profile section is the most important place to quickly and clearly communicate your highest-level capabilities to employers. A well-written summary section gives an overview your relevant experience, professional qualifications and most impressive accomplishments. Take the time to write an engaging profile section to make sure that your resume doesn’t land in the discard pile on the first review.
What Should I Include in My Summary?
It’s important to include both qualitative and quantitative details that show the reader what the scope and impact was of the work that you performed. Make sure to include details such as:
Qualitative data can be a great way to demonstrate your professional value, such as:
What Should I Leave Out?
Your professional summary is not a career objective. Avoid stating what you want, focusing instead on what you provide. Keep this section as clear and impactful as possible, leaving out filler words like “strongly motivated,” “hardworking” and “a team player.”
Where Does the Profile Section Go? How Should I Format it?
Your professional summary is your introduction to potential employers, so make sure to feature it prominently at the top of your resume. There are different ways to format this section, including a bulleted list or as a paragraph. In most cases, bullets are easier for a reader to scan, especially if your sentences are densely-pack with numerical data and categorical lists.
Sample Career Profile Template
If your resume isn’t getting callbacks, try re-evaluating your summary with the above information in mind. A punchy and effective career summary can set you apart from the crowd, engage your audience, and land you job interviews.