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To Whom It May Concern - (career advice)

When it comes to writing and reviewing résumés, some of the old rules don't apply.

First off, you don't have to sweat over a cover letter if you work with a recruiting firm, says Martha Heller, managing director at Z Resource Group. "When you work with recruiters, we are the cover letter," says Heller. But you can allow your résumé to stretch more than one page, she says, and most CIOs should have experience that translates into two, three, even four pages. But remember, talk about your most recent work -- your last two jobs -- more than the others. And keep the focus on how you improved business processes. Don't forget the basics: lots of white space and good organization. "If presentation is not your thing, then show it to somebody, like a designer friend," says Heller (who, by the way, is a fan of a serif font for résumés).

Finally, don't write "References available upon request." It's needless, she says. "So you are trying to stand out from the people whose references are not available upon request? Skip it."

Ellen O'Brien, a former senior editor at CIO Decisions, is now a senior editor at Storage magazine. Write to her at

This was last published in August 2006

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