How to create the perfect, all-pleasing resume

Those of you who read my blogs will be perplexed by that title, and for good reason. You know that I don't claim that there is such a thing as a one size fits all or one style pleases all resume.

But it's a catchy title! And I do want people to read my blog as I know it will relieve a lot of "resume anxiety," that overwhelming feeling of uncertainty when submitting a resume, that feeling of dread that maybe you should have followed the suggestions you read on line yesterday, to create a fancy, graphic-rich version, to stick to a one-pager, or (insert newest option here). (Remember when bar code links were big and we were told to include these on resumes? They fizzled.)

I've written on this topic before and likely will again as I come across inconsistent advice in leading online newsletters and blogs, and from recruiters themselves.

One recent blog wrote that the dates of the positions listed on your resume should be placed at the right margin, for easy skimmability. This makes sense, and I often do this. The times I may choose to not do this is when a person's dates may detract from overall value, drawing attention away from suitability by pointing out a gap or appearance of "job hopping." (Although my strategy is to proactively address potential obstacles to interviewing my candidates.)

However, a recent client had a recruiter friend review her resume, and the recruiter moved her dates over next to her job title, citing the need for "white space." This also makes sense, as it gives recruiters a place to make notes.

This is a very simple matter, and yet it may cause angst for today's job hunter, skittish as s/he is about what's "right" and what's "wrong" in current resume standards.

I think you can see that neither is right or wrong; they're just options in formatting. These won't make an iota of difference in whether a recruiter considers your application or casts it into the "no" pile! (Unless the recruiter is a jerk, and given that every field has jerks, s/he might be! But it's best to avoid these types anyways, so why worry?)

Imagine, if an article admonishes you to check your resume to fix this "problem" - and it's only one of 45 identified in the piece - how much more controversy there may be over truly significant issues, such as accomplishments, context, results, productivity, performance?

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it: there is no such thing as one perfect resume that will please everyone all the time. Don't beat yourself up trying to create such an unattainable document.

And if you're so thoroughly confused that just the thought of composing your resume gives you hives, heart palpitations, and freezes you into doing nothing, know that there are professionals around that actually enjoy writing resumes! I love considering strategy and I love writing resumes!