What’s in a résumé?

Over the past several weeks, I have been slowly, but surely, filling out applications for future employment. To be perfectly honest, I have been put up against many obstacles in this process, such as crafting a new cover letter, finding references for the application, and answering copious questions that range from “What makes you a unique candidate for the position” to “Here are a series of numbers, what comes next in the sequence?”

Perhaps I have reached that stage in my unemployment journey where mental stability is a afterthought, but I find the toughest of any application to be a résumé. Seriously.

More than they appear

The requirements of a résumé are simple:

  • 1-page summary of work experience
  • Include skills, education, and more
  • Qualifications, Honors, and more are recommended

Easy, right? Wrong. The first challenge anyone has with a résumé is fitting everything on a single-sided 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. To accommodate, many (including me) monkey with the margins or font sizes, while keeping the adage of “less is more” in tact. So, the challenge of any résumé is to do exactly that: give pertinent information without making the résumé look like a teenager’s bedroom.

Color or not to color, that is the question

Situation: you are applying for a company that is looking for someone to write, but also have some degree of design knowledge. Do I choose the standard, boring résumé that makes me look like a professional business man, or do I choose the one with some color that presents me with having some capacity to utilize the right hemisphere of my brain? A writer is both technical and creative, so what does one do?

This is, my friends (I’ll go ahead and call any reader of this blog a friend), the hardest part of résumé writing. It is from this one sheet of paper that businesses create an image of you in their heads and decide whether or not you are a qualifying candidate. While a cover letter can be personalized to the specific company, the résumé is a standalone recluse of the portfolio that must do everything the cover letter does and more, without going past the sacred one-page rule.

At the coffee shop I’m at, I have spent the greater part of the last two hours trying to decide whether or not to submit this application with or without a colored résumé. They are looking for someone with attention to detail – I hope my résumé can transmit this attention to the color effectively and still look decent in the process.


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