If you’re applying for a new position, writing a resume can be a daunting task. At Capstone Resume Services, we understand the challenges that come with writing a new resume, or completely reworking your existing resume for a job or career change. Over the years we have received countless questions, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to provide you with answers to the most frequently asked resume questions.
12 Common Resume Questions
What font should I use?
It’s important to use a font that is easy to read. Avoid fanciful fonts that may not be standard on all types of computers. For example, if you write your resume on a PC and the hiring manager reviewing it has a Mac, the font you chose may not show up for them. We recommend using a standard serif or sans serif font, otherwise known as default fonts, such as Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, Cambria, Georgia, or Garamond. Also be sure your font is large enough for everyone to read – it should be no smaller than 10 point.
Do I need an objective?
The simple answer is no. These days objectives are seen as outdated and a waste of space. If you want to explain why you want a job, or if you’re changing careers and want to explain in more detail, that information can be included in your cover letter. We recommend including a summary instead, which goes at the top of your resume, below your name and contact information, and provides a concise overview of your professional background, skills, strengths, and accomplishments.
Should I include my education?
Yes, you should always include your education in your resume. Even if you graduated years ago, it is an important accomplishment and a crucial part of your experience and background. If you are a recent grad, your education should appear at the top. If you have more experience and have been working for several years, it can be moved toward the bottom.
In terms of GPA, once you have established work experience, you can remove it. But, recent grads should include their GPA if it is higher than a 3.0.
How long should my resume be?
One page is standard for most resumes of professionals with less than 10 years experience. However, despite common belief, your resume CAN be two pages. While it is important to keep your resume concise and easy to scan, it is also important to include all relevant work history and skills. If you can’t do this in one page, don’t be afraid to spill over onto two pages. If you are a recent college grad, it is highly recommended that your resume stays on one page. However, if you are a more experienced professional who has been employed for several years, it is perfectly acceptable for your resume to be two pages.
Should I include dates of employment?
Yes, we recommend that you always include dates of employment when possible. If you can’t remember exact dates, try to get as close as possible. Most recruiters and hiring managers look for dates, as their absence may raise red flags. Without dates, you might as well send out resumes without your name or contact information.
Are there certain words “buzz words” I should avoid using in my resume?
If you want to stand out from the hundreds of resumes that pass through a recruiter’s desk, avoid these overused words they’ve likely seen one too many times:
- Team player
- Hard worker
- Go-to person
Think outside the box
What do I HAVE to include in my resume?
- Name and contact information
- Work history
- Results (it’s all about the PARs)
- Summary of skills
Check out our past blog more information on must have content for today’s resumes.
What should I NEVER include in my resume?
Personal information, including:
- Marital status
- Sexual orientation
- A photograph (unless you work in an industry where a photo is required, such as acting or modeling)
I keep hearing about keywords. How do I include them in my resume?
Keywords are important because they get your resume noticed by the right people. Chances are the company you’re applying for is using an Applicant Tracking System to match you to the appropriate job opening. In order to get flagged by the system, or stand out in a hiring manager’s search, keywords are just that – key. To properly use keywords in your resume, first start by considering what words you would use to search for candidates if you were a hiring manager. You can even do a quick Google search to determine the top keywords in your field and/or desired position. Then be sure to sprinkle those keywords throughout your resume – mainly in your summary and skills sections. For more tips on how to effectively use keywords in your resume, check out this blog we wrote a while back.
What file type should I send my resume as?
If you have to attach it, we recommend sending your resume in PDF format, as pdfs are compatible with all computers and versions of Microsoft Word. That way it cannot be copied and there will be no formatting issues, no matter how the hiring manager is opening it. At Capstone Resume Services, when we send you your resume, we always include a .pdf version.
How do I handle gaps in employment history?
If you’ve taken a few years off to have children or were laid off for a period of time, don’t panic. To fill in those gaps, try to include any volunteer or seasonal work you did during that time. It shows hiring managers that you were still active and gaining valuable experience. You can also explain this gap in employment in your cover letter.
Do I include work history that is not related to the job I’m applying for?
It’s important to show your most recent history. Work history that goes beyond 10-12 years is not necessary, and most likely not relevant. However, if your recent work history isn’t necessarily related to the position you’re applying for, it should still be included. There are always skills and experiences you can draw from any type of work history, even if it wasn’t in your desired field.
If you’re still struggling to write your resume, Capstone Resume Services can help! Our experienced Certified Professional Resume Writers have over 75 years of combined experience and will work with you to craft a custom resume that ensures you’ll stand out to hiring managers.