Even if you’ve written many resumes or served as a part of the professional workforce for a considerable period of time, you may have some resume format questions. Resume expectations and standards consistently change, and with so many people switching careers, chances are you can freshen up your resume to make an even stronger first impression. Here are some common resume format questions, and answers, that will have you on your way to a more competitive and up-to-date resume.
What’s Better, a Resume Objective Statement or Summary Statement?
For decades, we’ve learned that resumes should begin with a resume objective. However, the resume summary statement is a more versatile alternative that has by and large come to replace the objective statement. Objective statements very briefly describe why you make a good candidate for the position and are often followed by a statement of your goals. They can be useful when you’re seeking a promotion or a completely new, entry-level position. However, summary statements get the reader’s attention just as well while telling prospective employers what you will contribute to their company. After all, the recruiter understands that your objective is to obtain the position for which you’re applying. Instead of using an objective statement, take advantage of the opportunity to outline your main selling points as a candidate by writing a summary statement. This statement should reflect your qualifications and suitability for the job. Draw upon your experience, knowledge, skills, education and any other strengths you possess that are relevant to the position, and use about 4-6 lines for this section. Last but not least, look at the job posting to determine keywords and include those in your summary when possible.
Marketing Your Skills for a Fresher Resume
Many job seekers also ask resume format questions concerning how to communicate their unique skill set or knowledge base. In some cases, your skills can be ascertained from your experience, education, licensing and other credentials. However, you may not always have the chance to impress a potential employer with your exceptional suitability for the job unless you write an effective skills section. This is especially true if you have a diverse skill set that is demanded by the position. For example, computer programmers might use this space to list out the various programming languages and systems they are comfortable with. Use a table format when presenting your skills, and include 3-8 skills per column. Also, limit yourself to short phrases, e.g. "Project Management," "Customer service," etc. As with your summary statement, consider including keywords from the job listing.
Freshening Up Experience Sections
Resume format questions commonly deal with how to best draw upon your work history within experience sections. For example, some applicants wonder whether they should provide their entire work history or just a selection. If experience is over 15 years old, it should generally be left out unless it is the only experience you have that is relevant to the job for which you’re applying. Ideally, your experience section should demonstrate professional growth and appear relatively consistent. Allow one page of your resume to account for every 10 years of experience. Do not be overly concerned with filling in all the time gaps; you may explain periods between employment if asked during an interview, so focus on fleshing out your relevant experiences. For each item, along with basic information such as position title, list the company name, location and dates of employment, and use 5-8 bullet points to describe some of your most relevant duties and accomplishments. Integrate quantitative information whenever possible to add to your credibility. Also, remember to use the past tense when describing previous jobs and the present tense for your current job.
For more solutions for freshening up your resume and answers to other resume format questions, LiveCareer has a variety of helpful resources.