The world of recruitment is changing, and it seems that one group has its feet on this side of the door and the other group, on the other ... and neither is ready to relinquish their hold!
For example, some recruiters insist that the cover letter is useless; others are adamant that they read the cover letter first. Some recruiters are fanatical about one pagers; others say take as much space as you need. Some want you to follow their requested process to the letter and take great offence if you step outside that path, and be so bold as to telephone, for example. Resumes are not to hold photos, and yet job hunters are urged to build an online presence, especially on LinkedIn ... where photos are expected! The job hunter is admonished time and again for the need to stand out, be different, get noticed, but what might delight recruiter A may offend recruiter B.
What's a job hunter to do?
My simple advice: be authentic to who you are. If you like following rules, follow each company's prescribed format for applications. If you are a wild card, do something different. If you'd rather send a resume that reads like a brochure, an article, a marketing flyer, give it a try! (Although I'd caution that an actuarial or surgeon might not get the right kind of attention with a completely out-of-the-box application, whereas a marketing grad, actor or graphic designer could benefit from a state-of-the-art resume design.)
There is no way to please each recruiter, no way to create a resume that will be equally pleasing to all readers. Recruiters are human after all, with biases, favourites, opinions and habits. You cannot please them all. So please yourself. Be authentic to who you are and leave the rest in fate's hands.