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The New Rules for Resumes

Dear J.T. & Dale: I remember being told my resume should be one page. Recently, my employer was hiring and we were getting two- to three-page resumes. One person even had a section with her personal information: kids, hobbies. What are the rules? - Shiloh J.T.: There are no set rules these days. Honestly, that's a problem: Without rules, resumes come in so many different styles hiring managers feel they are comparing apples to oranges. It's starting to seem inevitable that online profiles will take the place of resumes, creating more consistency in how people present their credentials. DALE: Here's one big rule to keep in mind: The resume's ONLY function is to get you an interview. That means - and this is hard to get your mind around - your resume is NOT ABOUT YOU. It's about how you might fit in with the company and what's important to management. J.T.: There are two other rules that will guide the reader to see your qualifications in a way that helps you get an interview: 1. Formatting is everything! Don't use small fonts (less than 11-point), and don't fill the page with long-winded paragraphs. Simplify the format to create white space so the eye is drawn to key information. 2. No more than two pages... and that's if you have 15-plus years of experience. Otherwise, try to keep it to one page. If you have to carry over to two pages in order to keep the formatting clean, that's fine. DALE: Clean and simple is another way to help the reader, and thus a way to prove to the reader you're the sort to jump in and help. Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale via e-mail at advice@jtanddale.com or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. Resume rules image from Shutterstock