Avoid clichés and TMI
You need to make your resume your own. Unilaterally, my network encouraged straying from the standard approaches and leaning toward active and dynamic resumes. Personal style stands out. But you can take this concept too far if you're not careful.
Less is more: While it is great to show what you can do, do it in a synthesized manner. Sometimes what you can say in fewer words is a lot more interesting than filling up pages. The ability to do that is in and of itself a talent that speaks for itself.
Catchy opener: While wackiness is not appropriate for all job opportunities, there were a few good examples of interview-getting intros provided by my network. My favorite was from Clark Kokich, who said the best opening line he ever saw on an intro letter was, "I'm 10 feet tall and bullet-proof."
Most innovative format: Benjamin Fruehauf found success in an unconventional resume: "I wrote my resume and cover letter on a shoe, so thank the creative director for letting me get my foot in the door. It worked. I got hired! It was long ago...I used a solid white leather tennis shoe. I wrote with a black Sharpie. Kept everything to a minimum...just the details. This was my intro. When I got the interview, I filled in the details...verbally. Ha."
Photos: People like pictures. If people like what they see on your resume, chances are they will Google you anyway -- so why not give them a photo or two?
You are not a ninja: K-Yun Steele noted that the biggest mistake he sees on resumes is when people claim to be a ninja -- or a guru -- or any other absurd title of that sort.
Too much information (TMI): We know that you can say the wrong thing -- but you can also say too much. Nan Gerard said that she often sees resumes that are too long and have too much information, leaving nothing to really discuss. Don't take the fun out of the interview -- save some details for the in-person meeting.
Remember Barbara Safani and her humorous spelling errors? Well, she also provided some great examples of resumes that erred on the side of TMI. Some of the most amusing examples include:
- Reason for leaving last job: The owner gave new meaning to the word paranoia
- Interests: Gossiping
- Awards: National record for eating 45 eggs in two minutes