Jobhunting Part 1: The One Page Resume is De Rigeur

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JobHunt 2.0 began on Monday, and I am actively stoking the fire in my job search locomotive. Strategically placed logs in the boiler, (think of it in terms of the green, yellow, and red logs from Back To The Future Part III) should allow me to complete my journey.

The Internet has transformed job hunting. Those looking for jobs can effortlessly email resumes to hundreds of employers through listings on monster.ca, workopolis, or Yahoo! HotJobs. Jobseekers, like marketers, needs to find innovative ways to successfully reach their target audience – sparking interest and resulting in an interview. People are doing really interesting things out there – like this rocking youtube resume of this interactive flash resume.

The secret weapon in my view: the one page resume. With HR departments inundated with resumes, and little time to review them all thoroughly, a resume needs to be succinct and to the point. Gone are the days of the three-page autobiography. Say hello to the condensed and robust one-page personal history. Using my resume as an example for a one page resume, your One Degree diploma in Job Hunting begins with Resume 101.

1. What is your goal statement?

  • This opening statement is the gateway to what is to follow. It is like the first sentence of a short story; it’s all about the first sentence. Make it strong, but not overpowering.
  • Tailor the goal statement for specific positions or markets, but remember to keep it short, simple, and to the point.

2. Lead with your experience – it is your currency.

  • Be selective in each job description: Include only what you think is necessary to delineate your employment.
  • Use active, rather than passive words – they articulate marketable skills acquired in previous employment.
  • Don’t be redundant – once is enough.
  • Indicate how you directly affected and influenced productivity. Prospective employers look for positive results.

3. Education

  • Education is like the foundation of a building – highlight the strengths of your educational background.
  • Include awards and achievements – Honours awards, Dean’s lists, and foreign exchange studies broaden the extent of your learning.

4. Personal Information

  • Got a life? Highlight it! – Hobbies, appreciations, and talents give an understanding of you as a person. Give your future employer a glimpse of how well-rounded you are.

5. Edit, Edit, And Edit Again – Remember Where We Started: Less is More

  • Writing a resume takes time and effort. The first draft is only a starting point.
  • Expect to write a number of iterations before you arrive at a suitable rendering.
  • When you think your resume is done send it to a friend, family member, or partner to look over. Fresh eyes are always helpful.
  • Make sure you spell-check your resume (I did!) Stay tuned for the next installment. Any suggested edits to my resume; send them my way.
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7 thoughts on “Jobhunting Part 1: The One Page Resume is De Rigeur

  1. Eric

    I think the one page resume is a great idea if its been tailored to the job you’re looking to land. I would also include a short intro letter, that can grab their attention. For every job posting that we have I get hundreds of resumes and tend to be on the lookout for the ones that were slightly different then the others. Also nothing beats a follow up call, especially if you are sending it to a small of medium sized business that may not have HR dedicated to this task.

  2. Lex

    Arieh,
    Great summary and great series.
    From my years running a consulting agency, I would add:
    – be prepare to customize your resume for each opportunity you apply for, especially if you are going for a succinct one-pager. This will allow you to highlight the relevant experience and appropriate keywords that appear in the job description.
    – Don’t assume your resume will be read in detail unless you’ve already got an interview. For the first-pass filter, a resume is often rejected based solely on a 3-8 second scan by someone who may or may not know anything about your area of expertise. Ask someone really busy (preferably someone in HR or that doesn’t know you) to scan your resume and tell you what they see.
    – “Personal Information” should include any associations and affiliations. Once your resume is past the first filter, employers will be interested in candidates who demonstrate their enthusiasm and willingness to participate in the industry not just a job.

  3. Kelly Rusk

    Also I would suggest in the editing stage – have someone else look it over, especially with resumes when you are so close to the content it’s easy to miss your own glaringly obvious mistakes!

  4. Ken Schafer - One Degree

    Good stuff Arieh.
    I’m not sure the length of the resume is as important as the quality and relevance of the information you are presenting.
    Since you’re still early in your career setting a one-page constraint might be good to get you thinking about what is important and how to be as concise as possible in presenting that information. As your career develops you’ll find that you have more relevant experience.
    For example, here’s the HTML version of my 2005 (pre-Tucows) resume.
    Not bragging at all but I’m not sure I could do my experience justice in one page.
    Also, if you have done lots of projects and contract work you’ll want to list all the relevant information and that might make your resume rather long. For example when we were hiring technical writers some of the best candidates had three page resumes with information on what they did on specific projects. It showed they had real experience – much more than “Created technical documentation for 20 IT projects” could even hint at.
    And remember that your resume won’t be read until you pass the first level of screening. That will be someone (often not the hiring manager) giving it a VERY quick look to see if the resume is worth reviewing. Then they’ll do a more in-depth skim and finally if they still like you they’ll give it a full read. Note that large companies actually use SOFTWARE to do this – it just scans for keywords in your resume that match the job description.
    I’d vote against putting lots of information on your hobbies. If I never see another resume that says the person likes reading, cycling, movies, and time with family it will be too soon.
    Finally, a strong vote AGAINST using gimmicks. I HATE when people do things that are clearly supposed to grab my attention rather than focus on the merits of their qualifications.

  5. Jeff Hersh

    A few points:
    1. Location. Really important to note the location (city/country) of jobs and school. International experience is already really important for ALL companies: big/small, local/international . It shows the candidate’s ability to work with other cultures, their openess to change and their openess to move to other locations.
    2. For those who recently graduated, school is your currency as you likely have little other experience. Don’t discount it – especially if you excelled. Treat it like your last job as it could be the most relevant experience for the job you’re applying for. As well, the school/program could mean a lot, whether it’s because there’s a lot of alumni at that particular company or they’ve had successful candidates from a specific program.
    3. This mostly goes for big companies – but it’s just like the goal of designing a good website – “Don’t make me think”. The HR person is going to spend 5 seconds on your resume for their intial screen, so make the key areas obvious – company, title, location, schooling/degrees. Like it or not, if there are a lot of resumes, then that’s what they’re looking at…

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