Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Résumé Revolution

Often, instead of actually doing work, I will figure out how I could more effectively do the work that I'm not doing. It's a nice hobby, if slightly misguided. However, this "strategy" completely delivered in the Great Résumé Revision of 2007, during which I synthesized months' worth of résumé advice from the internet, found while procrastinating, into a single document printed on ivory cotton paper that makes it look like I have never procrastinated before in my life, ever. That's not just ironic. That's awesome.

Not my résumé! But pretty, right? Courtesy of LifeClever.

Therefore, I am here today to show you the path to awesome. It starts with the most basic, but probably most obscure, aspect: your résumé template. Now, you may be thinking, "Résumé template?! But can't I just type it up in Microsoft Word and add some nice fonts?" That's what I thought too, until I read this mind-blowing article by Chanpory Rith of LifeClever, explaining why everything you thought you knew is wrong. Well, everything about typography in résumés, at least. Apparently, there are all sorts of delicate touches that you can add to make your résumé sparkle—a thin border here, a bullet point there, and suddenly your résumé looks professional. It says "hire me." And it says "hire me" without even using words. (Although you will probably need to use words at some point if you actually do want to get hired.) Now, Rith goes through a long explanation of how to make all these adjustments yourself, but he is also kind enough to include links at the very top of his article to ready-made templates based on his specifications. Simply put, they're magical. Format matters. The easier a résumé is to read, the easier it is to see why you're amazing.

And you are! But what's the classy way to get the message across? Mahalo (the "search engine" that real people write) and Resumagic
both have great guides to résumé-writing. I especially like Mahalo's, particularly because it has some links to effective examples online, from places like The Wall Street Journal and Boston College.

But the best advice I got, frankly, was also the simplest. It consists of two parts. First: keep your
résumé down to the front side of a single page. It's hard, I know, but that also means it's impressive. Also, less for you to write. And the second?

Don't worry. That's all.

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