Resumes, Chickens & Eggs: The Debate Rages On

As a follow-up to the article I posted a few days ago, outlining my 5 Steps to a Very Good Resume methodology, I can’t resist sharing the link below from a recent LinkedIn discussion I came across that was focused on resumes — and specifically, whether or not a resume in today’s world should be limited to a single page.

If you have a moment, click below to read the question that was posted, as well as the 34 responses that were submitted by other members of the LinkedIn system:

LinkedIn Thread: Does a Resume Need to Be Limited to One Page?

The point of my sharing this?  I just wanted to make sure that you noticed, even in this simple little exchange, that a massive cacophony of opinions exists out there about what goes into writing an effective resume presentation in today’s world.  Here we have over 30 credentialed professionals weighing in on the matter — including business owners, HR professionals, executive decision-makers, recruiters, and resume-writers — and among this audience, you’ll find almost zero agreement on the answer to the question posed!

Here are a few selected excerpts of the opinions shared:

“Yes.  Folks have a very limited attention span and will not read more than one page.”
“No.  Don’t be bound by the one-page rule. It came into existence when people stayed in one job for a lifetime.”
“Yes.  One page is ideal. Never longer than 2 pages.”
“No.  It’s absurd to expect an adult with any significant amount of experience to fit it onto one page.”
Yes.  It’s to create interest in an interview.”
“No.  That is an old wives tale. Recruiters need to know/see the entire picture.”
“No.  In my years of working with literally hundreds of some of the top hiring managers out there, not one of them wanted a one page resume.”

There were even some enterprising folks who found a way to complicate the matter further, offering advice that transcends the initial yes-or-no framework of the question:

“Depends where you are and what industry you are in.”
“Send a 1-page version and bring a 2-pager to the interview.”
“It should not run more than a page and a half.”
“While the 1 pager is no longer the hard and fast rule, your Plan B and survival job resumes should still be single pagers.”

So again, if you’re among the huge crowd of transitioning professionals agonizing over issues like this, and you’re trying to come up with the “exact right answer” in terms of how to showcase your qualifications on paper, it’s time to accept the reality: there isn’t one.

Whether one is talking about resume length, font choice, how far to go back in experience, whether to include hobbies or not, or one of a million other minor cosmetic decisions people wrestle with in terms of these presentations, you’re not going to find much consistency or consensus – even among the experts.

My advice?  Stick to the five basic guidelines I covered earlier (getting help with these, if needed), make the choices and decisions that seem right to you, based on your industry niche and personal preferences, and then move on to more productive activities.  If you get hung up on the “packaging” step of the process, it will cost you!

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