Isn’t the purpose of a resume to get a job?
No, the purpose of a resume is not to get a job but to get an interview. This is why it is so essential that you have an amazing resume – because you want them to bring you in for an interview. Once you get the interview your resume has done its job and the rest is up to you. If you are sending out resumes and not getting a response there is a problem with your resume. If you are sending out resumes, getting interviews, and getting no offers there is a problem with you and the way you come off in an interview.
I have some great accomplishments from early in my career but don’t want to date myself. Is there any way to include them without giving away my age?
I am a fan of including a section on resumes, usually on the first page, titled Selected Accomplishments or Career Accomplishments. In this section I list a client’s most valuable achievements and contributions without tying them to a specific position. This way if you have something from 25 years ago you can still include it to show your value but completely leave off any information that labels you.
I just graduated and have no real experience. How do I write a resume and what do I put on it?
If you are seeking your first “real” job chances are you have little professional experience to showcase on a resume – and that’s ok. Employers don’t expect the same resume from recent graduates as they do from someone 20 years into their career. But that’s not to say they don’t expect to be impressed, because they do. As a recent graduate you will want to include any courses that relate to the position and also any projects that you completed. You should also include any committees or organizations you were a part of as well as any internships.
I have been out of work for an extended period of time. What is the best way to address this on my resume?
Fortunately for job seekers, having a gap in employment history is not as bad as it used to be. Employers are more understanding of this because the economy has severely increased this situation for job seekers. Besides the economy, there are a number of reasons why someone may have been out of work. There are a variety of ways to address this on your resume. You can use a functional resume format to disguise the gap, use a traditional chronological format that will show the gap and briefly explain in your cover letter, or use a chronological format with the gap included and labeled – personal sabbatical, or extended travel, whatever the reason, just don’t get too personal. The strategy you use will vary depending on your situation.
What are the best words to use on my resume?
The best words to use are the words that are specific to your field and the position. Look at the job description or search similar jobs on LinkedIn to get an idea of the keywords you should be using. Beyond industry specific words you should use words that convey actions and results. Try to stay away from the words that everyone uses: detail-oriented, team player, dedicated, responsible for, or creative problem solver. Instead, use words and phrases like: streamlined, capitalized, conceptualized, or generated.
Which is better, one page or two?
There is no right answer for this regardless of what you’ve heard. Sometimes the answer is one, sometimes it’s two, and sometimes it’s three or even more. It depends on the industry, the position, your career history, and the requirements of the application process. If you have just graduated it makes sense that you will not have an overly long resume because you don’t have the experience yet. On the other hand, just because you’ve been in your career for 25 years doesn’t mean your resume should be three pages. If you don’t have enough relevant information for two pages please don’t try and stretch your resume just to fill two pages. The same goes for trying to cram everything onto one page because you think one page is the acceptable length.
Is a paper resume even necessary anymore?
Although the traditional paper resume is not as prevalent as it once was, it’s not yet time to consider it obsolete. It seems most companies now prefer to have resumes sent electronically but there is still value in being able to hand someone a paper copy of your resume. Although it may be few and far between you should have one ready to go just in case. Job fairs are one example where having a paper resume is beneficial and you should bring copies of your resume to an interview.
by Megan Koehler