Resumes – The rules you think you know.

Today’s news alerted me to a new rule about resumes: don’t use Times New Roman font. Why? Bloomberg Business reported that Times New Roman is the equivalent of showing up to an interview in sweatpants. Tried and true, supposedly, is no longer true. The article, linked above, suggests fonts for the type of job you are applying for such as Garamond and Helvetica; and fonts to avoid. What the article doesn’t tell us is that the so called “rules” keep changing because there is as many opinions about resumes as there are Human Resource managers (or robots) reviewing them.

Most of us know, and struggle with, the one page rule.  But have you ever asked why? The reason behind the one page rule is that hiring managers have short attention spans. The Office of Career Services at MSU Denver and the CU Denver Career Center have documents and advisors that say the one page resume is best. I have recently heard that the “rules” are changing and that the one pager is following in the footsteps of good old Times New Roman.

A happy resume wearing a hat says
Image property of Human Workplace at

If you want to stand out in a sea of one page resumes in Times New Roman font, add a little pizazz to your resume.The majority of people I’ve spoken to about the subject (graduates, classmates, and co-workers) say the cover letter is your opportunity to show your personality, not your resume. My favorite InFluencer, Liz Ryan, advises the opposite approach. Her advice is to write a “Human-Voiced Resume.” She suggests job seekers to defy the non-creative approach by using the word “I” in their resume. “You’re writing about yourself, so it’s perfectly appropriate to use the word “I” a few times.” In another post, she gives the advice I so desperately wanted to read: your resume should represent who you are, not just what you’ve done.  If you are a creative person, like me, your personality is your biggest selling point. Show, don’t tell, how creative you are by sending a unique resume that tells your story. Creative people can tackle any problem by thinking inside, outside, and around the box – a skill every employer is looking for.

Do you customize your resume to the job and company you are applying with? Customizing your resume each time you apply could leave you with a folder that is out of control. My suggestion is to customize your resume by job type. For me this looks like a folder for my Administrative resume, Academic resume, and Marketing resume. Each resume is customized according to what the position requires which leaves me more time to customize my cover letter with the company and specific position in mind.

Please leave your feedback and share your job search results, rules, and recommendations with me.

Time to change out of my sweats and into my highly fashionable and creative fonts.


6 thoughts on “Resumes – The rules you think you know.

  1. You’re completely on track with the customizing resumes to the general types of jobs you’re applying for. You have more wiggle room with a resume for a marketing position that you would for an academic position (unless it’s elementary school. Or art school)

    I’m moving more toward the portfolio type of resume which outlines my skills and projects I’ve worked on. However, a lot of jobs won’t even accept resumes anymore, which you’ve probably found – you just plug all the information in on their online form and that’s that. I’m not a fan of that particular approach, but having been on the other side of the coin, I can see the appeal for the party hiring. It’s a ton of work to go through resumes, especially when you know that more than half are totally conflated and can’t be taken seriously.

    As you become a resume expert, perhaps you can start teaching classes! 😀


    1. I doubt I will ever be a resume expert and I pray I don’t have to be because the perfect job will be found just days after graduation. Hahaha! See? I am funny AND creative.


  2. Thanks for sharing this on Facebook Tamara!
    Honestly, when it comes to resumes, I believe that you need to lay it out in a way that works for you. What attracts one person won’t necessarily attract another. I wouldn’t throw away someone’s resume because it had times new roman…. If they used windings, yeah.


    1. Thank you Tricia, this subject might be a good one for another radio show 😉
      Windings! haha
      The Bloomberg article said Comic Sans is the worst, unless maybe you are a cartoonist.


    2. I agree with Tricia. I think that employers want the information and don’t care that much about the format. I thi.k key words are more important.


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