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Resume Dissection

Each time I update my resume I can’t help but look online at resume writing guides, tips, and all the other advice on the internet. It’s really hard to put together a resume that will work as well as it possibly could and I doubt mine is anywhere near that stage – however I do think it’s worlds better than where it was two years ago. Yes the content is better since my skill and experience have obviously expanded but i’m talking in terms of layout, organization, grammar, and selected content. Changes that could have been made at any time. Below is my current resume with notes on all the things I think are worth pointing out. They’re either creative choices I’ve made or important things to think about when writing a resume.

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Resume Legend

This should be obvious but I’ve seen a surprising amount of my friends resumes with small names at the top of their resumes. Even though my resume is already very tight on space, I would never sacrifice the size of my name for space. There is a ‘too big’ but I think it’s important to have your name stand out well since the whole resume is about you and you want whoever is reading it to see your name or be able to find your resume with ease.  It might be OK to use some typography here to make your name stand out a tad more but I wouldn’t go crazy. I work in a creative field and I still try to keep mine conservative. (One thing I don’t think I have to say but will anyway, is that the name should always be on the top too.)[/tab]

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Resume Legend

As the header to my resume I have my name and contact information. This obviously is at the top which seems to be the norm for resumes.[/tab]

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Resume Legend

The content of the resume may be more important than my contact info but the contact info seems best suited under my name. If I were to place it else-where I would have to put my name again, taking up more space.[/tab]

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Resume Legend

For my work experience, the title includes the company (in bold), my job titles, the dates I worked there, and the type of work it was, in this case it was Full-Time. Other types of work include contract, part-time, temporary, or even a combination of those. These are all pretty standard for resumes.[/tab]

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Resume Legend

Writing ‘Company Closed’ after my experience title was a suggestion I found on a few different websites. The idea here is to help readers understand why the work duration was relatively short (which in this case it was under 2 years) so that I don’t look like a “job-hopper”. The other advantage of having this is that readers will also quickly realize why I’m looking for a new job which always seem to be one of the first interview questions on the phone. If my work here lasted for 4 or more years I would probably leave off the ‘Company Closed’ and just explain that if it ever comes up.[/tab]

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Resume Legend

I keep my section headers to the left in their own column so they’re easy to find and the resume has a structure that’s easy to navigate at first glance. It does eat up a bit of space but the white space helps my resume look clean and gives it some style so the reduction in space is a small price to pay.[/tab]

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Resume Legend

Having a wide range of skills and having worked on many types of projects leaves me with a difficult task when writing my resume. I want to concentrate on the experience that is most relevant to the jobs I want but I also want to show that I am able and have experience in other areas. So for this example I included only two bullets of non-video related duties I performed and even listed them last.[/tab]

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Resume Legend

One of the most difficult part of writing my resume was wording each achievement/task for my experience. It was important to get the design and layout of my resume done first so I know how much space I had. You’ll notice almost every bullet is about the same length and none take up more than one line. I read on several sites that I shouldn’t start any of the statements with the same word which made this even more difficult. There are only so many verbs to choose from so I had to get a little creative. I did use a few duplicates but I made sure to spread them out and not to use any verb more than twice. For these bullets its also important to try and list achievements or goals met rather than duties (as I’ve read in a few places as well). I wasn’t able to always do this but as I add more things to my resume I’ll reduce a lot of this content and leave only those achievements.[/tab]

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Resume Legend

Whenever possible I try to reference the actual project I worked on or company I worked with.  This helps validate my experience and gives the reader the opportunity to check out the projects or companies I’ve worked with. I italicize the projects or companies to help them stand out.[/tab]

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Resume Legend

I already mentioned I put the date of employment for the experience in the title but I when it came to dating the freelance experience it was a little trickier. For some clients, I worked on projects off and on while others were steadier during the timeframes. As my own rule of thumb, if I worked on a project multiple times that were within a few months of each other, I’ll just list it as a date range. This hasn’t really come up but I’ve thought about it as past clients have recently contacted me for new projects. If a 3 year old project comes back and I begin working with them again, I may either list the dates on after another or even leave the dates out altogether.[/tab]

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Resume Legend

The ‘Other’ section served to hold any experience/achievements I had that I want readers to know about. This is also a good place to put any non-video related freelance experience.[/tab]

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Resume Legend

Many of the projects are big enough or complex enough to warrant their own section with bullets however in order to save space on my resume I consolidated some of the experience. To do this I created an ‘Other’ section and a ‘Films’ section.[/tab]

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Resume Legend

To save some space, I used an ampersand (&) on this skill as the two are closely related.[/tab]

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Resume Legend

The skills section was also tricky as I have a long list of skills that are relevant and I would want the reader to know but with the lack of space I had to decide on what was more important. After asking some peers and colleges I got a common response and that was to just cut out any skills that are evident in my experience and only list the ones that I felt lacked representation in the experience part of my resume. This was another good place to put non-video related skills since I didn’t want to use too much space writing about those skills in the experience section. I did try to be careful however since I’m skeptical that a reader may skim and see the skills then think I’m not a video-centric person because my skills list contains mostly non-video skills. I’m still thinking about changing this part but I want to hear what more people have to say.[/tab]

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Resume Legend

Data Asset Management is one of those silly things that just about everyone can do or learn even when there are DAM specific applications being used yet I still see this listed out in many job postings. Since I don’t want to touch on something so trivial in my cover-letter (where space is also limiting) but since they took the time to include it in the job-posting I want to have it somewhere for them to see.[/tab]

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Resume Legend

Technical Proficiencies is another one of those things that, if the person reading my resume was someone in my field, they would know from my experience that I know many of these applications or that I know similar ones and can adapt to them very quickly. Sadly though, the person who is going to be reading my resume first may be an HR coordinator or a recruiter. For them it’s important that I list out some of the more common and industry-prominent software proficiencies I have. Again this list could be much larger but to conserve space I’ve only listed a select amount.[/tab]

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Resume Legend

The last item on my list is my education. I’ve seen the resume placement of Education debated many times online but some of the more notable explanations I’ve found explained that later in a career, the education is less important and more of just a quick qualification and experience is much more important. The other justification I think makes a lot of sense is that Education is one of those things that, if it matters, the reader will look for it so it doesn’t really matter where it is on the resume (assuming your resume is easy to navigate).[/tab][/tabs]

Color

I have seen many creative resumes use color and remain professional and nice looking but I’m always skeptical on whether I should use color or not. I do have a color pallet I use for my website and business card (‘my identity’) so I could easily add color to my resume but I always fear leaving the more professional, straightforward style. I don’t want my resume to stand out for its color or even its design but rather it’s content.

Customizing Resume

Now that my resume is lacking some content due to lack of space I find that when applying to certain jobs it can be really helpful to tailor my resume towards that job. For example if I find a posting that details a very video centric job with little deviation into design or web, then I can strip some of those skills out and throw in some more video related things to catch the readers eye.

Expanded Resume

Since my resume can contain a lot of content I could almost write a CV however my field rarely asks for these so it would be a waste of my time. Instead, my online resume is not formatted as a tradition paper resume and instead is just displayed in the format of my website. This allows me to include a few extra bullets here and there as well as a much larger list of skills. I still try very hard to be concise with my bullets because even with the unlimited space, I don’t want to scare a reader off or look overly-conceited.

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