The Resume Box

by Rich DeMatteo on April 2, 2010 · 15 comments

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This is a guest post from Eric Leist, a Public Relations major in Boston University’s class of 2010. Eric blogs over at Meghan Biro’s firm Talent Culture and on his own blog,  You can also find him on Twitter @EricLeist.

Eric Leist guest post

See this box? Get in it. It might be a little cramped in there. Oh, and there’re thousands of other people in the box too. But don’t worry. There’s room for you. Go ahead. Squeeze in. You want a job, don’t you? You want a strong personal brand? Then just get in the box.

That’s what I hear whenever I attend a resume workshop. And let me tell you, as a college student, I’ve attended a lot of them.

The fundamental issue I have with resume workshops is that they assume everyone is the same.  Then, they suggest different methods based on the workshop leader’s personal preferences. That leads me to believe that hiring professionals all have different personal preferences too! This conundrum leads me to one conclusion: There is no way to write a resume that fits everyone’s likes and dislikes.

So whose preferences should your resume reflect? The jobseeker’s. Too often, job hunters fall into the trap of squeezing their experience into a standard format. As a result, everyone ends up looking the same.

I’ve seen great paper resumes that use color, cool video resumes, and smart narrative slideshow resumes. They all work for the individuals they represent.

Resumes don’t have to be any particular style. I’m not suggesting anything too crazy, but I think resumes have basic requirements rather than mandatory formats.

1) A resume should be easy to follow with a logical organization.

2) It should reflect personality and experience.

3) It should have a consistent, unified look and feel.

Sure there are ways to stand out with standard resume templates. Sure the standard templates work for most people—that’s how they became standard. But in this economy, a jobseeker’s goal is to give potential employers a reason to set his or her resume aside from the towering pile of others. They might want to think about breaking out of the box to achieve that goal.


Let Eric know what you think about his guest post!  Have you had the same experiences at resume work shops?

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