Commonly accepted resume rules help job-seekers create readable, succinct resumes that don't drive hiring managers crazy. However, a few misguided rules have become so overused that they've lost their purpose. Instead of creating engaging resumes that speak of unique experiences, these rules result in generic applications that leave managers bored and unimpressed. Breaking these rules can help you create a stronger resume that potential employers want to read.
1. Never Use Full Sentences
Short phrases and sentence fragments may add to brevity, but they also lose the personal, human touch that connects the reader to the job-seeker on a deeper level. Keep sentences short, but don't be afraid to use them when they make the job resume sound more engaging. Keep in mind that brief fragments are still preferable for bullet points, as they create tighter prose.
2. Only List Tasks and Duties From Previous Positions
Anyone can perform the basic duties listed in the job description. Rather than following this dull resume rule, mention the times you've gone above and beyond your job description. This might include instances of exceptional teamwork or leadership, ideas you've implemented that have benefited the company in a measurable way, or particular problems you've solved.
3. Avoid the Word "I" at All Costs
While personal pronouns in a resume can raise eyebrows in more conservative industries, you can easily break this outdated resume rule for more modern and creative openings. Using "I" and "me" is especially useful for telling quick stories about what you've accomplished or how you've provided clever solutions at a previous job.
4. Always Use Recognizable Job-Seeker Terms
Terms such as "motivated self-starter" have been overused to the point of cliche. These terms are just fluff words, and they don't add any real value to your resume. Opt for more concrete descriptions that paint a clearer picture of who you are as an employee. For instance, instead of calling yourself a seasoned professional, simply state how many years you have been a part of the industry.
5. Keep Your Resume to One Page in Length
This resume rule has good intentions behind it, assuming that a short, succinct resume is more appealing to swamped hiring managers. However, you can easily break the rule if it forces you to cut essential content. Keep your job resume as brief as possible, but don't be afraid to go a little longer to successfully list all your major accomplishments and experience.
When deciding which resume rules to break, think about what makes your resume easier to read, more interesting and more representative of who you are as a professional and an individual. The risk is always worth taking. Forcing your resume to conform to a template might result in cutting the unique aspects of your career that make your application memorable.
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