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always heard that a resume should be no longer than one page in length, but I can't fit all
my information neatly on a single page. What should I do?
resumes are more common and acceptable these days.
change jobs more often now than they did years ago - for a variety of reasons: corporate
downsizing, mergers, decrease in company loyalty, etc. Additionally, in an effort to stay
competitive in their industry of choice, more people are returning to school for
additional skills and training.
this takes up space on the resume page.
you're writing your resume, use as much space as you need to present your information in
an concise, focused and accurate manner, with a 2-page
limit as your guideline.
Include only that information which is directly relevant and valuable to the positions and
companies being targeted. Leave everything else off. Use plenty of white space between
sections of information to maintain readability - if you're crowding your information on
to one page with little or no white space, you're going to reduce readability for your
Focus on your achievements as these relate to
the positions and companies you will be targeting.
student who has no applied experience. How to go about writing a
resume that will make
me look good, even though I lack the job experience?
even more on this topic in the expanded article: New
Graduate and check out more articles and student-related resources at
1st Writer Student Center.)
approach for a student resume is really no different than the approach for the resume
of a CEO with 30 years of experience:
the type of work you want to do and what prospective employers will be looking for in
someone applying for this kind of work.
everything about yourself that is relevant to #1 above.
everything else off.
have experience, so much the better, but as a student, it really comes as no big surprise
to prospective employers that you don't have any experience yet.
don't have relevant work experience in the form of internships or co-op positions, how
about your extracurricular activities? Have you chaired any committees or held executive
offices in a sorority or other organization? How about community service activities? If
you're a finance major, for example, and held the position of Treasurer for a campus
organization, that's related experience.
related experience does
have to be
paid experience. What matters is that you possess the
applied skills, not that you were paid for your services.
keep in mind that employers are looking for "attitude," "motivation,"
and "leadership" traits in the entry level positions they fill. Even if your
only job was flipping burgers at the local hamburger joint, if you showed up for work on time, did your
best, were an asset to your employer and the customers you
served, and you worked well with your co-workers, you can show a
prospective employer that you are the "type" of individual that will do a good
as college may seem at times, many employers view this experience as a training ground. As
a new graduate in an entry level position, your new employer expects to train you in what
he/she wants you to know. What your college degree shows is that you are trainable and
have secured the rudimentary skills necessary in a particular field.
many employers see new graduates, and the opportunity to train you in the
dynamics of a specific company, as an asset. You bring with you little or no bad
habits learned from previous positions or experiences.
should I say in a resignation letter?
resignation letter should contain three basic components:
date of resignation.
reason for resignation.
brief mention of the positive points of having worked at the current company.
the most important things to remember in creating this letter is that it may remain on
file for many years, and may be used again. It can be used in future references,
determination of future employment, or evaluation of past performance. Therefore,
regardless of the reasons for the resignation,
negative statements about company, coworkers, supervisors, bosses, owners or policies
within this letter.
letter needs to remain a professional correspondence, a bridge builder, not a bridge
burner. See more on
can a job seeker best utilize professional references?
should gather references, in written form when possible, at every opportunity as your
career progresses. A reference written today (when your achievements and contributions are
clearly in the mind of the writer) will be much more useful and valuable than what the
writer may offer five years from now.
are two reasons not to give references out prior to an interview:
You want an opportunity to evaluate the position, learn the
criteria, and determine whether this is a position you are interested in. The last thing
you want to do is allow your valuable references to be contacted by so many companies that
your references lose interest and enthusiasm. Some of these potential employers may not
even be contenders for your interest.
an interview, you'll have an opportunity to contact your references (prior to the
potential employer's call) and fill them in on the key points and issues of importance to
the particular position. When you prepare your references, they will be more relaxed and
ready to provide the type of information you want them to give for the specific job in
question. See more at "Regarding References"
and "The Recommendation Letter."
company lists a fax number, a street address and an e-mail address, what do you think is
the best way for a job seeker to respond (assuming he or she has access to all three modes
choice would be the fax machine unless the ad specifically requests that responses be
faxed. Faxing diminishes the quality and readability of the document.
don't know what may happen to a document after it's been submitted. It may be faxed
(again), scanned, or photocopied, each time with additional loss of quality.
choice would be e-mail (the quickest method of getting your resume into the hands of the
potential employer) with an attached binary file of your resume and a hyperlink in the
body of the e-mail message to your resume Web page, if you have one.
first contact is by fax or e-mail, a follow-up mailing of a paper copy to the street
address should always be done. This provides your recipient with a clean, crisp copy of
your resume in a professional format.
tips for writing the "scanner-friendly" resume?
white or light-colored 8-1/2 x 11 paper, printed on one side only.
laser printer original or high quality photocopy.
fold or staple.
standard typeface such as Helvetica, Arial, or Times New Roman.
font size of 11 to 14 points.
condense spacing so that characters touch each other.
from using italics and underlining.
vertical and horizontal lines, graphics, and boxes.
plenty of white space between groups of information.
maximize keyword "hits":
words, either within a keyword list, or, more preferably, within the document text itself
(scanners will pick up these words regardless of where they are in your document).
words (especially nouns), rather than vague descriptions.
and acronyms specific to your industry.
many versions of resumes do you think are necessary to have and why?
effective job searches involve using many tools. One of these tools is the resume and it
can take several forms:
Printed paper version for giving out by hand, mailing by postal
service, and taking along to interviews (candidates should always take at lease a couple
of fresh copies of their resume to interviews - to pass out to additional interviewers and
as a guide for completing applications).
Word processor file for use in sending as attached to e-mail
binary files or given out on diskette.
HTML version posted as a page on the World Wide Web (very
convenient for your recipient; no files to download, quick receipt, sets your e-mail up as
a hyperlink for immediate feedback).
text version for use in cutting and pasting into e-mail messages, resume databases on the
Web, and Usenet Newsgroups on the Internet. Potential employers like this format because
of its smaller size, reduced risk of virus, and easy scan-ability into company databases.
This version is also a good choice when uncertain of your
recipient's software or operating system, since it can be read
cleanly across all platforms.
PDF version for access to a
fully formatted version of your resume regardless of your
recipient's platform or software (doesn't require he or she to
use the same word processing software used to create the
document). Does require that your recipient have the free Adobe
Reader software installed (most folks do). This file can be
attached to an e-mail, delivered on a disk, or uploaded to the
World Wide Web.
of these mediums addresses a specific avenue for getting your resume into the hands of a
prospective employer. See examples of
these formats and learn more about how to use them in an effective job search.
are the five elements a resume needs to really capture the attention of the reader?
appearance of the document.
organized, well-written materials, presented in a manner that allows quick reference to
the information. Written for the reader.
the positions and companies being targeted. Relevant information.
information. (Be honest.)
quantitative information and achievement statements.
are the seven worst mistakes people make when preparing their own resume?
determining a target or goal for the resume.
understanding the needs or interests of the intended reader (potential
employer, hiring manager, recruiter).
Focusing just on the "duties and responsibilities"
of previous positions and not organizing information
so that it effectively highlights and showcases
a candidate's strong points, achievements, and accomplishments.
A resume shouldn't just describe what a candidate has
done, but include the benefits of the candidate's
efforts and contributions.
quantitative information (e.g., "Increased sales by 50%," "Reduced costs
by $50K per year," "Led a
team of 35 professionals in...). Quantitative
information provides a sense of the size and scope of the positions you've
held, and the real value of your stated achievements.
gimmicks, such as brightly colored or decorated paper (think fluorescent) or unusual
formats (distracting layouts or unusual presentations, such as brochures). These may get
attention, but possibly not the type of attention you intended.
that inflating or exaggerating (or out-and-out lying) about your past
experiences or achievements will make your resume more effective or make
your job search more productive.
are electronic resumes and how are they used on the internet?
(See more on the different resume formats on the
Resume Examples page.)
addition to the word-processed file that can be sent by e-mail as an attached binary file,
there are 3 resume files that are used for electronic exchange: HTML coded file, ASCII coded file,
and a file converted to PDF (portable document) format.
coded resume is a resume created using Hypertext Markup Language. It's uploaded to the
Internet as a Web page and looks much like the standard printed version of your resume
with typical formatting features like bold print, italics, tabs, and underlining.
formatted resume can be used for:
to Web sites that accept HTML formatted resumes for posting.
own Web page.
to prospective employers.
and Microsoft Mail utilities both allow you to e-mail your actual Web page
in the body of the e-mail message. Other mail
programs such as Pegasus Mail and Eudora Mail will create a "hot link" in your
e-mail message where the reader can click on your Web address and go directly to your web
page. Netscape and Microsoft can do this, too.
resume is a text-only version of your resume. It bears no resemblance at all to the
standard paper version of your resume since it is stripped of all boldface, italics, tabs,
formatted resume can be used for:
to job Web site databases where employers search for information on potential candidates.
to prospective employers when you don't know what word processing software they're using
(ASCII text can be read cleanly across all platforms).
to Usenet Newsgroups.
are around 250 news groups devoted to job postings and resume postings. Many of these
newsgroups are very active for both employers and job seekers. For example, the
misc.jobs.offered newsgroup posts over 30,000 jobs per week. Misc.jobs.resumes posts over
1,000 resumes per week. The resume posting groups offer a broad range of categories for
posting from general posting areas to specific career and geographic areas.
transferring a resume to the Internet, what are some problems to look out for?
cases, the resume that ends up on the Internet begins its life as a word-processed
document. Most word processing software have the ability to "save as" or
"convert" a file to both ASCII and HTML formats. The problems arise when the
resulting converted files are posted to the Internet "as is." Both formats need
reformatting before they're ready for the Net. If this isn't done properly, the resulting
presentation won't look its best and might not be readable at all.
word-processed file is converted to ASCII text, it loses all high level formatting. All
tabs, bold, underlining, italics, bullets, etc. will be gone. It must be edited to make
what's left as attractive (and readable) as possible.
word-processed file is converted to HTML, unlike the ASCII file, it still retains most of
its high level formatting. But since HTML code is not nearly as rich in formatting
features as word processing applications, it will lose some of its formatting which will
need to be corrected before it's ready to take on its new life as a Web page. This can be
done with the word processor that was used to create the original file. Alternatively, it
can be imported into FrontPage or one of the other HTML editors for this final
preparation. During the final preparation step, other features can be added to the file.
These include the addition of a hyperlink for your e-mail address, adding a META tag for
"keywords" and a META tag for "page description" at the top of the
page so search engine robots can pick them up and index them (if confidentiality isn't an
issue). Other features that can be easily added at this time include a colored or graphic
background and different font colors.
someone can't afford to hire a professional resume writer, what are the most useful pieces
of advice you can offer for creating a powerful resume?
keep in mind that youre writing this document for your readers benefit.
not trying to create a career autobiography, but rather a concise advertisement of your
qualifications for the position that will entice your reader (without taking up too much
of their time) in to wanting to meet you (in person) to learn more.
The positions and companies being targeted. Research the
company, if possible. Know its goals and missions. Know and understand the criteria of the
position and have a good sense of the type of candidate your reader is looking to
Include all background information: job history, experiences,
accomplishments, and educational achievements as these directly relate to the positions
and companies being targeted. Place the greatest focus of
your material on your accomplishments - as these apply to
the positions and companies you're targeting. Never lose sight
of who will be reading your document.
everything else off.
are the biggest misconceptions job seekers have about professional resume writers/resume
biggest misconception is that a professionally written resume will get them a job. It
won't. What it will do is give them an advantage over their competition in securing an
interview. Securing an interview is the resume's sole purpose.
misconception is that the professional resume writer has ESP powers or a crystal ball that
allows them to write a resume without input from the client. Many people who hire good
resume writers are surprised by the amount of information they are required to supply.
resume can only be achieved through good communication between the client and their resume
writer, and the information the client supplies this writer. The more information
exchanged between client and resume writer, the better chance the resume has of accurately
and effectively representing the client.
can't someone looking for a job put together their own resume?
can also prepare their own tax return, serve as their own attorney, or fix their own car.
reason for using any professional service is to take advantage of a professional's
specialized knowledge and experience. Job hunters may not have the time, interest, or
opportunity to study resumes and resume writing books, research current hiring practices,
or learn effective career strategies.
job of the professional resume writer to remain current in today's hiring practices and
employment laws, to fully understand the whole process of the job search, so that he or
she may provide his or her client with an advantage over those who choose to write their
for a professional resume writer's services can be an investment toward your future. It
can mean the difference between being invited to an interview or simply adding one more
resume to the slush pile.
information should a cover letter include?
letter needs to be concise, relevant to the specific position and company being targeted,
enticing, and to the point. Think of it as an "appetizer" for your resume.
letter should accomplish 3 tasks:
you're sending your resume.
items in your background that will quickly establish your qualifications for the position
and company being targeted, and "whet the appetite" for the résumé.
Ask for an
you've addressed these issues, end your letter, and allow your reader get on to the
"main course" - your resume. Learn more about
I use a functional resume?
resumes present a number of problems to the potential employer:
don't give all the information needed to make a decision.
For example: Assume you've held 2 jobs, one where you were responsible for directing
marketing activities for IBM and the other where you swept floors for John Smith's Unknown
Computer Company. In a typical functional presentation, the prospective employer wouldn't
have a clue for which company you directed marketing activities and for which company you
swept floors. All your duties, responsibilities, and accomplishments get blended together
with no indication as to the where or when. It's significant for a prospective employer to
know what your duties and accomplishments are within the context of each employer for whom
resumes have a reputation as a resume style used by applicants who have
"sketchy" backgrounds (periods of unemployment, underemployment, relevant skills
that haven't been utilized recently, etc.), and potential employers know this.
employers perceive the candidate who uses a functional resume format as one who has
difficulty thinking in a logical and organized manner, or someone who is willing to throw
out the more traditional format just to be different.
Learn more about the
different types of resume formats -
which is the best for you?
Should I list references on my resume?