A well-written, properly organized, keyword enriched resume is your ticket for the interview. Your ability to impress the hiring manager by a written document encompassing your strengths and career history influences your chances to get the job as well. However, the process of writing a resume can be confusing even for a seasoned professional.
With a plenty of resume writing advice out there in the web it’s possible to get lost in all these writing rules, HR demands and recent resume trends. Whether you are going to write a resume on your own or are looking to get professional resume services, you need to understand the modern requirements to a resume. Today, one of our professional resume writers will answer the most popular questions job-seekers ask so you could be aware of how to create a quality resume or what to demand from a resume writer.
Also in this section:
20 most popular resume questions answered
- How long should my resume be?
This is the top question job seekers ask, and the discussion about the ‘right’ length is still ongoing. However, there isn’t such thing as the right resume length as it depends on multiple factors you need to consider – and the preferences of the particular hiring manager. It’s possible to outline general tendencies, though. If you are a graduate of recent years with little work experience, it’s recommended that you keep your resume to one page. Professionals with 5+ years of relevant experience (provided that they had more than one job) can expand their resume and make it two pages in length. Senior level executives and academics with broad experience, skill set and publication can make their resume three pages in length.
If you are confused and need detailed guidance on the optimal resume length, see here for more information: http://resumeperk.com/blog/perfect-length-of-your-resume.
- I’ve never written a resume before. Where do I start?
If you are going to write your first resume, start with browsing resumes for the similar role in the web. However, avoid copying and pasting someone else’s descriptions. Your resume should contain the sections as follows: career summary (or objective), work history, education, and skills. Such sections as publications, achievements, volunteering/community work, hobbies, testimonials, etc. are not mandatory and you can include them if applicable in your case.
Feel that you need help writing your first resume? Learn more about writers of our company and how we can assist. Our charges for resume writing are more than affordable – check it yourself.
- What should I include as my contact detail?
Opinions vary on what should be included in the section of contacts after your name. Some experts recommend putting your phone number and e-mail address only while the others insist on making it as detailed as possible, with multiple phone numbers and links to social media profiles. Including the link to your LinkedIn profile is totally up to you; nevertheless, this minimum should be presented on a resume:
- Home address – no need to give your full address, a street name or a zip code are more than enough. This information is used by some employers seeking candidates who live nearby and will be comfortable to commute;
- Phone number – include the cell number so the hiring manager could reach you anytime;
- E-mail address – avoid using corporate e-mail as this is considered unprofessional.
- Should I make my resume chronological or functional?
Another common confusion for job seekers is choosing between reverse chronological and functional resume format. Both formats are used with a specific purpose in mind. For instance, functional format is good for skill-based resumes or resumes with no clear career history. Reverse chronological format is used to highlight career progression and professional growth.
If these format names are all Greek to you or you don’t know which format fits your career situation best, read our guide to resume formats: http://resumeperk.com/blog/how-social-media-can-build-or-ruin-your-career.
- Which file format to use?
The format of file you choose is important because it influences readability of the document. The main recommendation is to follow the employer’s requirements given in a job listing, as they often specify the type of document to apply with (i.e. PDF, DOC, TXT etc.). If not stated otherwise, .doc format is the most common for resumes so feel free to use it.
- Can I use the same resume to apply for all the jobs I’m interested in?
Sending the same resume to all jobs you come across is the worst tactic you can imagine. First of all, such a resume is likely to fail the ATS selection as it doesn’t have relevant keywords. Second, it sends the message that you’re not interested in the job enough to specify how exactly you could bring value to this specific company. And finally, you’re likely to apply for several types of jobs and each of them requires different focus. Therefore, you’ll need at least 3-4 resumes to apply for jobs.
Hint: if you’re out of time to rewrite the entire resume for every prospective job, you can modify the summary and list of skills.
- How can I avoid age discrimination?
Although it’s illegal, age discrimination exists. Nevertheless, there are a plenty of ways to mitigate it with your resume. First, it’s recommended to remove your experience which is older than 15 years. Not only it makes the document more focused (nobody is interested in assistant accountant job you’ve had 20 years ago), but also helps you hide how old you are. Second, remove this commonly used statement indicating that you’ve been in your field for over 25 years, i.e. “Proactive sales manager with 29 years of experience…” as it shows you’re in your 50s. And third, remove the years of graduation. This isn’t a surefire recipe against discrimination, but these tricks definitely help to draw attention away from your age.
If you are being asked discriminatory or sexist questions during the interview, see how you can handle the situation: http://resumeperk.com/blog/tips-how-to-answer-sexist-questions-during-the-interview.
- What should never be included in your resume?
Resume content may vary depending on your experience, career level and your goals. However, some information should never present in your resume:
- Your photo – unless you are an actor/model, keep your picture out of your resume as it might lead to discrimination. Some employers even don’t consider resumes with photos to avoid discrimination claims.
- Your physical attributes such as age, pregnancy, health conditions, etc. should be left out as well.
- Personal information including your marital status, children, political affiliations or driver’s license number. This information has little to do with your professional competencies and, as mentioned above, can become the grounding for discriminating you.
- Is it okay if I use a resume builder to create a resume?
The internet is full of free and paid resume builders offering you to create a resume online. Still, if you want a really unique resume, it’s better to stay away from them. The matter is these builders offer cookie-cutter formatting and phrases which you can add into your resume. Imagine a hiring manager receiving a dozen of resumes which look pretty much the same. It isn’t the best way to stand out, is it?
- Should I send a cover letter along with my resume?
Employers expect that you apply for a job with a cover letter as well. However, don’t turn your letter into a formality. A well-written letter explaining what distinguishes you from the other applicants and what makes you perfect for the role can help you a lot with winning a face-to-face interview. It can give a touch of your personality, build personal connection with the hiring manager and even tell your story – provided that the story can bring value to the employer. Moreover, writing a tailored cover letter indicates that you went an extra mile to get the job which is always appreciated. Here is detailed advice on how to write a cover letter that gets read: http://resumeperk.com/blog/how-to-write-winning-cover-letter-for-job-applications.
- What can I do to impress the hiring manager with my resume?
Drafting an average resume is a manageable task. However, you’ll need to go to the extra lengths to create an impressive resume. To satisfy the requirements of hiring manager, you need to be aware of resume writing trends, classic rules and be extremely attentive to detail. Moreover, you’ll need to compete with applicants who chose to get their resume written by certified resume writers. Still, you can always use one of the proven tricks to make your resume eye-catching in no time.
- What are keywords and how should I use them?
Briefly speaking, resume keywords are words which let your resume pass the ATS selection. They describe skills, credentials, and qualities needed for the job. Why are they important? If you apply to the mid-sized or big company, the resume you send will first ran through the system which weeds out resumes of applicants that don’t have matching qualifications. Therefore, with no keywords, your resume even won’t be seen by a hiring manager!
How to use keywords? First, read the job listing thoroughly and paste key qualifications and requirements into your resume. Second, you can browse labor websites and pick keywords used in your industry from there. If you don’t know anything about keywords, read our guidance on choosing resume keywords.
Picking keywords looks frustrating? Then, contact our top resume writers for a keyword-enriched, perfectly polished resume.
- What if I don’t have much work experience?
Lack of relevant experience is a typical problem for students or career switchers. For these categories, no experience can become a serious obstacle on their way to getting the job. So, how to write your resume in this case? The best way is to make up for your experience in other ways. Think of whether you had any relevant coursework at the university or gained necessary skills elsewhere. Do some voluntary work or consider getting experience during short-term internship. Your experience in a particular field doesn’t have to be gained through paid employment exclusively. Students can use the following methods to find a job after graduation: http://resumeperk.com/blog/students-guide-how-to-find-job-after-graduation.
- Should I include a career objective or a summary at the top of my resume?
Today’s hiring managers don’t like resume objectives and don’t even read them. Why? Majority of candidates using resume objectives write vague statements like “To obtain the position that allows me use my potential with a reputable company”, which means literally nothing to the employer. Therefore, if you choose to use an objective, make sure to write a tailored statement that outlines your value proposition for the company. Or, which is even better, write a resume summary instead. Summary lets you be clearer about your professional strengths and benefits over other candidates. If you develop a quality resume summary, make sure that the hiring manager will read the rest of your resume as well. Resume objective and summary are particularly important for candidates who are changing career path due to the career crisis and don’t have much relevant experience that would speak for itself.
- What is the biggest resume mistake?
Hiring managers usually give different answers on what irritates them most in candidates’ applications. However, most of resume mistakes they name fall under sloppiness. Poor formatting (or no formatting at all), different font types or size, typos and grammar errors, generic job descriptions… Anything that indicates you didn’t put enough effort to create a concise, well-written, visually appealing copy always makes a poor impression.
Can’t figure out what is wrong with your resume? Then, check if your resume contains one of popular resume mistakes.
- Is it okay if I stretch the truth a bit to impress the hiring manager?
It can be tempting to lie on your resume to get a better job – or to get the job faster. However, with your resume, honesty is really the best policy. Today it’s easier than ever to make a background check of the candidate and discover the truth. And here’s how exaggerating on resume can affect you:
- You won’t pass the skill test – claiming that you’re fluent in German or are proficient with C# programming language only works until they get your skills tested. As soon as the truth is revealed, you lose your chance of getting the job;
- You won’t cope with job requirements – if you’ve lied you had previous project management experience and you had none, you’ll have difficulty with meeting the expectations set for the role;
- When the truth reveals, you’ll likely be fired – once you get caught on resume lies, an employer has the right to terminate the contract (and that’s what most of them do). Therefore, the lies that actually managed to get you a job will be the reason for leaving your job.
If you want more facts on resume lies and its consequences, see here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/is-it-worth-exaggerating-on-resume.
- How should I write about my education?
For experienced workers Education section is less important than work history. Nevertheless, it can still add value to your resume if you write it correctly. There are three major rules for this section. Firstly, if you’ve gained a university degree, make sure to leave your high school information out. Secondly, unless you are a recent graduate, avoid providing too much information in this section. University name, degree, and 1-2 lines about relevant coursework and activities are more than enough. For instance, if you’ve had the athletic experience while in college, you can use this to increase your chances for the job. Thirdly, specify your academic achievements such as Dean’s list. If you’ve been working for over 10 years, you can neglect the last two. Education isn’t the key to getting a job, but the manager is more likely to hire someone with relevant academic background.
- Why it’s important to list your work achievements?
Listing your job responsibilities describes you as a person capable of doing the job. Unfortunately, they don’t differentiate you from the crowd of others with the same experience and skill sets. Moreover, employers tend to hire people who have the proof of outstanding value they’ve delivered for the previous company – and that’s what achievements do. Resume achievements also market you as a result-oriented and initiative personality which is important for business. The world of work is competitive and if you want to stand out from the crowd, do strengthen your resume by listing your achievements.
- How do social media influence my chances of getting a job?
it’s no longer a surprise that hiring managers scan social media profiles of candidates. This means that both your professional and personal social media pages can both increase or reduce your chances for the job – depending on the content. If you are serious about getting a job, be sure to remove any inappropriate pictures, postings or comments from all your online pages. With today’s visibility, a plenty of drunken party pictures from Instagram can create you a wrong image and display you as the wrong person for the job. Learn more about the power of social media and how to use it. Speaking of LinkedIn, a good profile with picture, work history, many connections, etc. promotes you as a good candidate – that’s why you should create a profile and keep it active. Moreover, connecting with your friends in business may even help you find the job faster.
- So, my resume is written. Where do I go next?
If you’ve completed writing your resume, don’t hurry up to send it in response to job listing. It needs to be carefully proofread before the submission to ensure the copy is error-free and each statement makes sense. You can proofread your resume on your own using techniques offered by our best writers. However, it’s strongly recommended that you find another pair of eyes to have a look at it. The person who hasn’t been involved in writing is more likely to spot mistakes, typos and inconsistencies. You can refer to a friend or colleague or order professional resume proofreading if you want a really flawless result.
Choosing a resume writer: 10 tips
If writing your own resume seems blurry and frustrating, consider getting professional assistance. However, writing a qualified resume writer is a challenging task itself. You need to hire someone who possesses the right skills and knowledge and will be interested to collaborate with you as long as it takes to create a stellar resume for you. If you are going to pay for the service, it will do you any harm to find out more about the company, the writer, their process and qualification.
In particular, here are some good questions to ask the writer prior to placing your order:
- How many years of experience you have?
Just like with any other job, in resume writing practice makes perfect. The longer the writer has been providing their services, the better. For instance, our company has been in the resume writing market for 9+ years, and most of our writers have over 3 years of relevant experience. In any case, it’s not the best idea to hire the writer who has less than a year of experience, especially if you apply for management or executive role.
- How much does it cost and what does the cost entail?
Another important question is the sum of money the resume writer will charge you. If you browse the web, you’ll find out that charges vary from $100 to over $1000 per resume, so you can choose the option that suits your budget best. Our writing service’s charges start with $90 only – you can learn more about our prices and deadlines.
And unfortunately an excessively expensive price doesn’t always imply exceptional quality. So, before the writer gets down to business, ask them about the final amount and clarify what is included in this amount – i.e. extras as free e-books, revisions, etc.
- Where can I see the samples of your writing?
Samples will help you get the idea of the writer’s tone of voice and how well they marketed other candidates for the job. Every reputable writer will provide you the samples of their work upon request. If the writer refuses to share their samples, this often means that they either don’t have enough experience or provide low-quality services.
- Do you offer original/custom writing?
Some of dishonest resume services won’t write an original resume for you. They will use an online template and simply paste your details into it so it could match your experience. Needless to say that this approach will bring you zero results. That’s why always ask the company if they provide original writing to avoid problems with your resume in the future.
- How do you plan to collect information for writing my resume?
Every resume writing company has their own procedure. Some offer you to fill out the questionnaire and answer the questions about your experience, skills and career goals. Others conduct phone consultations with their clients and discuss their needs one-to-one. After the information is collected, the company may constantly keep in touch with you throughout the process or deliver you the finalized product without bothering you. All you need to find out their style of client collaboration and to make sure it fits your needs and schedule.
- Does your company provide any guarantees?
Beware of the writers that promise to get you a job with their resume. Resume writers have no influence on the hiring process; moreover, it’s the interview, not a resume, that determines whether a candidate will get a job or not. What the writer can guarantee is more quality responses and interview calls thanks to the accuracy and correctness of resume written.
On the other hand, the company must guarantee that you’ll get a quality product for the money you’ve paid. Ask if they offer full refund in case of non-delivery or late delivery. It’s also a good idea to clarify if they offer free corrections if the resume didn’t fully meet your expectations.
- How long will the writing process take?
If you need to apply for the job tomorrow, you’ll unlikely be happy with the service offering 10-days turnaround. Some companies (usually big ones) have exact deadlines, while the others can only give you an estimated delivery date. In any case, knowing the due date will help you feel more comfortable with the writer. And if you need to submit your resume online urgently, keep in mind that most companies offer urgent delivery for an extra pay.
- Where can I see the reviews of your company?
Reputable companies always leave their traces across the web. In particular, if they aren’t new to the market, there’ll be customer reviews or testimonials of their services. It’s always a good idea to look for what other clients had to say before you place your own order. If the company only has negative feedback, you might not want to entrust your future career to them.
- Do you have any certifications?
Resume writers have number of certifications that prove their level of professionalism and expertise. These certifications include CPRW, PARW, NRWA and more. It’s a good idea to ask the writer whether they have been certified by any of these organizations to be 100% sure of their qualification. Nevertheless, as the practice shows, even the writers who weren’t certified can deliver well-written resumes.
- Will you incorporate keywords into my resume?
Keywords are the essential part of successful resume as it gets you through the automated selection. Qualified resume writers incorporate the keywords into your resume by default as it’s the part of writing process. They know which keywords to use and how to make your resume more visible in search results. If the writer doesn’t give you a clear answer to this question, it’s better to look for resume expert elsewhere.
If you struggle finding a resume writer you could trust, consider collaborating with one of the writers of our company. We have 9+ years of experience delivering top-notch service to clients from the US and Canada and helping them advance their careers with well-written resumes. We provide 100% original resumes written especially for you and ongoing cooperation with your writer throughout the process. Moreover, if you didn’t like something about the final resume, you can request a revision, and the writer will make corrections totally free of charge.
Writing a resume that will wow the hiring manager is quite a challenge. We hope that our answers to the commonly asked resume questions made the writing process clearer for you and will help you with creating a good resume. If you have any further questions on improving your resume, feel free to contact our resume writers.
Do you still have any questions about resume writing?