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Capture potential employer's attention with a creative resume
By ANDREA KAY Gannett News Service
Some rumors just won't go away. Take the one that your resume is only supposed to be one page long. Since the late 1980s, I have given speeches and workshops to get workers to stop fretting about length and focus on content. I even wrote a book on it. But the rumor prevails.

So here, from my you-may-think-it's-true-but-it's-not file, is why you should erase this crippling belief from your mind.

Whenever someone brings up the one-page resume rumor - which is usually the first thing when I'm trying to help him or her develop a new and improved version - I ask, "Why do you think that?" Responses are always the same: "Employers only spend 10 seconds reading your resume."

"Ten seconds? I don't know about you, but I can only read about 30 words in 10 seconds, let alone a one-page resume. What could an employer possibly glean from a 10-second read?

What these busy managers who are inundated with hordes of resumes are more likely to do, is glance, not read. They take a quick scan of the document to decide if it's worth actually reading at a calmer moment in their day.

To get them to that point with your resume, a short document is not the solution. Shoot for creating an enticing one.

In addition, if you've got experience, a one-page resume can't do you much justice. Let's say the employer is looking for someone with ten years in public relations. If you're worth your salt, a one-pager does not leave room to summarize your knowledge about media and community relations and expertise in employee communications over 10 years.

Glance they do. That's why you need to highlight the most relevant information someone in your industry cares about with lively language in an easy-to-read format that helps the reader quickly see you're a contender. Even with the tendency to scan, if you can say boring things in an interesting way, zip up descriptions of yourself and share juicy facts that show you're a star, the manager might even forgo e-mail to read for three minutes.

One way to get and keep their attention is to offer a bird's-eye view of yourself in the first section of your resume where they will probably glance first. This is where you describe your experience, mention that you're self-motivated and can evaluate complex legal cases and express ideas succinctly and have a reputation for prosecuting difficult patent cases. You'll get into details of where you did all this in the experience section and later, show examples of how you made a difference.

If it captures your individuality, downplays potential liabilities and gives proof you have what it takes to do the job you want, then make your resume more than one page. So what if it takes two or three pages to separate you from the pack? If you don't get noticed, what's the point?

It's unfortunate that so many people are conditioned to create a short resume, believing the employer will give only a 10-second read. It would be much wiser to develop a document that easily captivates an employer upon first look so that he will give you the time of day.

Career consultant Andrea Kay is the author of "Greener Pastures: How To Find a Job In Another Place," "Interview Strategies That Will Get You the Job You Want," and "Resumes That Will Get You the Job You Want." Send questions to her at #133, 2692 Madison Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45208; E-mail: