1. How long should my resume be?
This is the most basic of frequently asked resume questions, with a relatively straight forward answer. If you can keep it to one page, great. If you’re new to the job market, with little actual work experience, you should be able to stay within the one-page limitations.
For those with extensive work experience, two pages may be necessary, but don’t go beyond that. You don’t have to include every job you’ve ever held. The last 10-15 years of work experience will help you keep to two pages and is probably more relevant than the work done earlier in your history. If you really want to include everything, you can summarize your earlier work experience in a brief overview paragraph.
The only resumes that should be three pages or more are those of senior executives with a long list of accomplishments or those in academia or the scientific field who choose to list their published work, hold numerous patents or have specific licenses.
2. Do I have to include employment dates?
It’s recommended. Most recruiters and human resource managers prefer to see employment dates, and their absence often raises a red flag. If you’re concerned about a short tenure at a job due to downsizing, include that explanation on your resume. Employers are well aware of the current state of the economy and the job losses that have resulted.
3. Should I use a chronological or functional resume format?
A chronological resume is used most oftenand is generally well received. With the current or most recent job first, it quickly enables the employer to see your work history at a glance, including any employment gaps. If you have an employment gap, and you’ve already provided an explanation, you can include seasonal, temp work or volunteer experience during that time for the employer to take into consideration.
A functional resume focuses on your skills and experienceand is particularly effective if you’re switching careers.
4. Are there overused buzz words I should avoid?
This is a question that more peopleshouldaskwhen writing their resumes. Employers have seen hundreds, in some cases thousands of resumes, with the same tired phrases and descriptions that tell them nothing about the applicant.
Dynamic:Instead of using the word, highlight an actual accomplishment that demonstrates that quality.
Trustworthy:Really? You mean you won’t steal paper clips? Unless being trustworthy is important to the job, don’t include it. If it is, prove it with a success story, not just the word.
Team Player:This one’s so overused it’s almost lost its meaning. Give concrete examples of how you collaborate with others or support and mentor staff even when it’s not in your job description.
Strong Communication Skills:If you’re a good communicator, then communicate. Your entire resume should be an example of your strong communication skills.
For all of the above overused words, take a cue from professional writers: Show, don’t tell.
5. What does not belong in a resume?
Don’t include a photographunless you’re an actress, model or television personality.
Don’t include physical attributessuch as your health (unless you require special accommodation), pregnancy status or age.
Don’t include personal informationlike marital status, whether or not you have or plan to have children, or your sexual orientation.
These are just five of the many frequently asked questions job seekers have about their resume – that all important document that could lead to a job interview. Whether you’re just starting to write yours, or you need to refresh it, you’re resume should be the kind of document that piques the employer’s interest in you. If you’re not sure it is, take a look at LiveCareer’s Resume Builder. It takes you step-by-step through the process and answers these and many other frequently asked resume questions.
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Sometimes changing just a few details or highlighting a particular strength is all it takes to get your resume to the top of the list.
Simple moves like these can take your resume to the next level and open the door to the position you’ve been looking for.
LiveCareer’s Resume Review service is another great option for a section-by-section critique.
Naturally, online resumes have a different set of resume dos and don’ts than traditional paper resumes.