Artisan Blog

Resumes: One Page or Two?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Resumes: One Page or Two?


I used to think that a one page resume is always the goal. Fit it all on there, and if you can’t, cut something or use a smaller font. 

In the business world, however, there are times for a one page resume and times for a two pager.  Most recruiters generally like one better than the other, but since you don’t know who is reading your resume, here are a few general guidelines:

One Page:

Entry-level candidates - if you are right out of school, you probably don’t have a lot of experience to list.  And that’s fine. Make sure you do list your education and any technical skills. Remember, internships count as experience!

Transitioning candidates - if you have been working but are changing career paths, it’s okay to have a one page resume rather than filling up two pages with irrelevant work experience. However, you should take time think carefully about what skills you can transfer from your old career to your new one and use keywords relevant to your new career to describe those responsibilities. Think about every previous job before you decide not to list them.

Transitioning candidates can also benefit from using a “functional” resume rather than a chronological format. A functional resume focuses on your skills rather than your titles.

Two Page:

Experienced candidates - if you have five to ten years of experience, it’s likely you need two pages to list everything that is relevant to your job search. It’s okay to leave plenty of white space - as it makes your resume easier to read.  However, be sure to use at least 75% of the second page if you go on to two pages.

When using two pages, you should have room for volunteer experience, awards and recognitions, professional affiliations and more bullet points for your job responsibilities and accomplishments.

Three Pages or More:

Unless you are a C-Level executive, three pages is too long. But if you are, go for it!

For what it’s worth, some recruiters and hiring managers never like to see a two page resume, no matter what your experience level, but since you can’t predict that, do what makes the most sense to you.

Wendy Stackhouse
, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Resumes: You Have 6 Seconds...Go!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Resumes: You Have 6 Seconds...Go!

In recent days, the internet has been a buzz about recruiters taking only 6 seconds to look at a resumes before deciding whether to toss it or read more.

6 seconds.

That is definitely a bit depressing, right?

My career coach says it takes 80 hours of work to perfect a resume and, even then, you have to tweak it every time for every application.  Goodness knows how long we are working for that 6 second look.

But if your resume is effective, of course, you get a lot more than 6 seconds.

We asked the Artisan Recruiters about their thoughts on resumes and whether the 6-second rule really applies:

Account Manager, Carol Conforti, looks at resumes for more than six seconds, but often looks at a portfolio first so she can relate the work to the experience. Carol feels that creative staffing is different from typical recruiting, as often a few creative hands go into making a campaign and job titles can vary from company to company. However, if the resume is from someone that is not local and the client is not willing to relocate anyone, they get a shorter look.

MD, Katty Douraghy, definitely spends more than 6 seconds looking at resumes but, like Carol, weighs portfolios more heavily since we are a creative agency.  Katty looks at resumes for: keywords, gaps in employment, agency vs. client side history and evidence of leadership skills. She checks for longevity and if jobs were for a short time or whether they were clearly freelance projects.  It takes more than 6 seconds to do a thorough job.

Creative Recruiting Manager, Jamie Grossman, looks first for at least one well-recognized company, industry or brand, but if the candidate is just out of school, she considers where they went. If a talent does not meet the bare qualifications - you can tell pretty quickly they are not going to be right.  But that often requires much more than 6 seconds on average.

Account Manager, Jess Bedford, says the better formatted a resume, the longer she spends looking at it. She likes the use of bold, underlining and bullet points to make it easy to read.  Short descriptions of companies are also helpful to get a sense of industry experience. Education should always be at the end and the information should be contained to one page.

We all hope that our resumes get a good look - and we can definitely always improve them. A few key takeaways:

  • Make sure you are using the keywords from the job description in your bullet points or Summary.
  • Be as specific as possible about your responsibilities and achievements, especially where you showed leadership.
  • Leave some white space to keep it clean and clear.
  • Never neglect the importance of a portfolio when applying for creative roles.

Good luck!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Overqualified? Really??

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Overqualified? Really??


A friend of mine recently heard that she had not landed a job because she is “overqualified.” She was gobsmacked!

What does that mean? How could that be a bad thing? She wanted to know, and I'm sure there are many out there wondering the same thing - "How can anyone be overqualified for an empty position?"

With today’s poor, although improving, employment climate, there are many highly experienced but unemployed folks out there looking for work. Some of them are moving into freelance projects and entrepreneurship, but some are changing career paths and applying for entry-level roles in new industries, perhaps at a lower salary than they previously earned and with fewer or no direct reports.

I asked our team of recruiters what it means when a job seeker is told they are “overqualified” and what it might mean about their experience in relation to that specific position:
  • You may have more experience than the person that you will report to.
  • You may have a higher salary requirement than what they are willing to pay.
  • You may take a position and then be more likely to leave because you are working below your potential and are not challenged by the work.
  • The person you would be reporting to is intimated by your skills and knowledge.
  • Someone with too many years of experience may have work habits that are hard to break. The position might want someone more "green" so they can "mold" them to fit the company's style and culture.

At the end of the day, turnover and training are both expensive. A company wants to know that the investments they make in new employees will not have to be repeated anytime soon.  Most companies would prefer to leave a position vacant until the right person can be found, rather than hire and then lose someone who is overqualified who takes "the first job that comes along".

If you are one of the highly-experienced job seekers in the market, here are a few ways to avoid appearing overqualified for positions, before you ever have an interview:
  • Edit your resume bullet points - Replace the accomplishments that don’t apply to this role with ones that do.  Or simply remove them.  Be sure to include keywords for the current position in your bullets.
  • Education - List any degrees or certifications that are relevant to the role, but leave out more advanced degrees. Your Ph.D. or MBA is an incredible accomplishment!  But do you need it to get this job?
  • Cover Letter - A cover letter is really the only way to express why you would be challenged and excited about the role, even if you might appear to be further along in your career on your resume.
Remember that your resume is simply a tool for standing out in a pool of candidates. As long as everything on your resume is true, it doesn’t have to tell your whole life story.

Wendy Stackhouse
, Consultant for Artisan Creative

What's Your Resume Really For?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What's Your Resume Really For?


The purpose of your resume is to get you a job, right?

All those hours, all that tweaking, all that proofreading and when you’re finally DONE, it will get you the perfect role. 

Truth is - you’re never done.  Every job application needs its own resume. Every single one.

Why?  The purpose of your resume is NOT to get you a job. The purpose of your resume is to get you an INTERVIEW. Only you can get the job.

So - how can your resume get you an interview?

Truth be told - it really varies from job to job.  However, there is one best practice you should always follow to better your odds! 

Identify and use keywords. 

Read that job description again. Get out your highlighter and mark the essential responsibilities or skills. Those are your keywords. What verbs are they using? Use those verbs. What qualities do they want? Put them in your Summary or sprinkle them in your listed achievements or responsibilities.  The more keywords the hiring manager (or his computer) sees in your resume - the more likely they are to identify you as a potential candidate for the position.

Everybody hates working on their resume. It's definitely tempting to just send out the same resume for every job that looks like it could be the right fit.  But as more employers and recruiting firms use applicant tracking software to cull resumes, keywords will continue to play a huge role.  Make sure you're not left out!

With a little extra time and a bit more focus - your customized resume will help you get you the interviews you deserve.  Before long - you should notice those candidate response rates going up as well.

Happy tweaking!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

3 Ways to Avoid Looking Like a Job Hopper

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

3 Ways to Avoid Looking Like a Job Hopper


In today’s tough economic times, many candidates have been employed by companies that eventually closed their doors, were bought out or underwent massive layoffs. Instead of the average two to five year-spans of employment recruiters are used to seeing, resumes of today often list recent work histories as periods of less than a year at multiple companies. You want to list that great experience on your resume, but a long list of roles with a short duration may leave potential employers questioning your loyalty.

How can you demonstrate your commitment to a company, without having to explain your streak of bad luck? Here are some ways to tweak your resume format to accommodate short-term full time jobs or a series of freelance positions as you search for a long-term position:

  1. Change your resume format—Instead of listing all of your work experience chronologically, use themes to bring your information together in a way that shows you at your best. Relevant Experience lets you leave out jobs that don’t apply to the current role. Contract Experience lets you list all of your freelance projects in one section, even if they are not long-term roles individually. Reverse Chronological Order is not the only way to construct a resume. Here are some others.

  2. Leave it out—You don’t have to list every job you’ve had for every company. Instead just include your general responsibilities, companies and brands in separate lists. Then, be prepared to discuss specific accomplishments or projects from your time with each company.

  3. Volunteer—If you’ve been out of work for a while, offer your skills to a non-profit as a volunteer. Those experiences can go on your resume and LinkedIn profile, just as any paid work would. If you have long gaps in your work history these volunteer opportunities can provide recent stories to tell in an interview – where showing passion for a cause or a project can be a great way to sell yourself.
Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Artisan’s Resume DOs & DONTs List: Part 2

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Artisan’s Resume DOs & DONTs List: Part 2


If you’ve ever sent out your resume through an online application – you’ll probably find yourself wondering, at some point, if you’ll ever hear back from that potential employer. Did your resume stand out? Did it contain everything it should? Did you include something you shouldn’t have?

While every employer is looking for something different – most hiring authorities would agree that there are certainly things to avoid on resumes – and other things they love to see. While we can’t guarantee you’ll get a call-back – we’d love to help improve your odds with a few tips!

Last week we discussed some of our suggested resume must haves. Today, we take a look at some key things to avoid on your resume:


1. Don’t make it longer than 2 pages. Remember you need only include a concise description of your positions and major achievements/successes for those positions in the last 10 years. Your resume should simply whet the appetite of future employers. Leave something to discuss during your interview!

2. Don’t use your LinkedIn profile as your resume. While your LinkedIn Profile can certainly be a great point of reference – and should include much of what you include in your resume – it is not a substitute for your resume. Resumes should be customized for the positions/companies to which you apply.

3. Don't be vague with dates. Potential employers want to know the duration of time you spent at a company. 2009 to 2010 isn't clear. Was that 2 years or 2 months? NOTE: If you are a freelancer who has returned to a client many times during a multi-year period, more general annual dates are acceptable.

4. Don’t include a salary history. Salary is just one of the elements in negotiating an offer. But it’s a powerful one. Don’t show your hand before you’ve even interviewed. Wait until it’s requested – if it’s ever requested.

5. Don't list your references; employers or recruiters will ask for them. No need to tell us “Reference Provided Upon Request” either. This is given. You should have updated contact details ready to provide potential employers at any time during an active job search.  Make sure references are aware they might be contacted about your professional relationship.

6. Don't talk about yourself in third person. This practice is not usually received well by most hiring managers. No matter your intention, this normally comes off as awkward, unfriendly and disconnected - none of which are good if you’re being considered for a position with a new company who doesn’t yet know you. Save the third person for your bio on the company website after you get the job!

7. Do not include a picture of yourself or busy design elements on your resume. They are simply distracting from what’s important – your experience and accomplishments. If you simply MUST have a prospective employer know what you look like – include a link to your LinkedIn Profile and make sure your picture is professional. Chances are – they will be checking you out there anyway. On the flip side – especially for Designers – feel free to include design elements as part of your resume – just make sure they are clean, simple, tasteful and emphasize your written content, not detract form it.

Jess Bedford, Marketing Manager

Artisan’s Resume DOs & DONTs List: Part 1

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Artisan’s Resume DOs & DONTs List: Part 1


In our line of work, we review hundreds of resumes each week. While no two resumes look the same – there are definitely things that work. And things that don’t.

Does your resume get a passing grade? Here’s a quick checklist before you apply for another job:

1. Proofread! There is no quicker way to end up in the “No” pile than a misspelled name, word or obvious grammatical error in your resume (portfolio or cover letter). Review your resume for grammatical errors both on the computer and in a printed copy. Have at least 1 – 2 other people review it as well.

2. List both your email and phone number. Even if you prefer one method over the other (and note this on your resume) – it is best to offer alternate ways for employers to get ahold of you. Feel free to add your LinkedIn Profile and/or Twitter Handle as well – so long as you check each of these regularly. Nothing annoys employers more than for interview requests to go unanswered for days (without good reason)!

3. List your physical address. Even if you do not list your street address – let employers know in which city you are located. Without this information (and especially if your contact number is not local), you could be easily discounted for positions that require “Local candidates only”

4. Include a Portfolio / Website link of your work. If you are in the creative field, your portfolio is just as powerful as (and in some cases even more powerful than) your resume. Make sure your resume includes a link to your work. And that your link is working! If you’re work is a PDF instead of a site, attach it to the end of the resume so prospective employers are sure to see it!

5. Provide a brief “Overview”. This should be a 3 – 5 line paragraph or 5 – 7 bullet points customized for each job you apply for and summarizing your key skills and specific experience for that position. It should also mention what kinds of opportunities you are currently considering (full time, freelance, on site, telecommute, etc)

6. Describe your positions in detail. Because job titles vary so much from company to company, it’s important to include a concise description of your role – as well as list your major achievements/successes. As a general rule, this applies to positions in the last 10 years. Any relevant work prior to that can be summarized with just a 1 – 2 line description of your major responsibility and the team/company of which you were a part. *NOTE: If you are a freelancer, you need only describe your position & capabilities once. Then just list your clients.

7. Differentiate Contracts or Freelance work from Full Time work. This helps employers distinguish between a “job-hopper” and genuine freelancer.

For more Resume Tips, check out part two next week with our Resume Donts.

Jess Bedford, Marketing Manager


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