One-Page Resumes: Fact or Fiction?

OK, so I’m going against the grain here. But, there is a common misconception that has grown like mold spores on the well-forgotten summer sausage in the back of my refrigerator.

In theory, young people seeking their first, post-college job (or even internship) should stick to a one-page resume.

This dictum comes from just about every college adviser or placement counselor. You can here it now, “Well, Johnny, you have extensive experience and some wonderful references, but remember it must be one page, so you need to cut something.”

Oh, contraire!

Let’s be frank. While many young adults struggle to fill one 8.5 inch by 11 inch, there are significant numbers of folks who can, and should, forget the one-page theorem and take as much space as necessary.

Here’s my advice, and after hiring hundreds of public relations practitioners, I think it’s sound: Take as much space as necessary to accurately and adequately, TELL YOUR STORY.

If the information runs onto page two, don’t freak out; just make sure there is actual punch, not puffery in your prose.

Here are some tips from someone who actually does the hiring:

1. Make sure you give an address, phone number and e-mail you will actually answer or read. Many times students list their parent’s house or their recently disconnected phone numbers.
2. List some classes on your resume and tell what the class entailed. For example, Public Relations Writing: Developed 14 deliverables ranging from press releases and fact sheets to speeches and public service announcements.
3. Tell us what it is you actually did in your summer internship. Bad: Assisted large advertising agency with various tasks. Good: Developed social media component, including Facebook and Twitter for viral, reputation management campaign.
4. Give references, not references upon request. Why are you shy about giving some names of people who will vouch for you? List them; the employer might even know them.

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