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Frequently Asked Questions: Your Resume

Estimated reading time ~ 6 min
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You asked, we answered: check out this comprehensive list of resume FAQs, answered by Jopwell recruiters!

Q: How do I make the best first impression with my resume?

A: In order to immediately capture a recruiter's attention, your resume should be formatted properly (one page!), followed by strong bullets for each experience. Do not just list roles you've had, give details to each one. Keep your font clean and not too small, and make sure that the resume is tailored to the job you are applying for - recruiters are looking for relevance!

Q: How do I best express my experience?

A: Make sure that your experience matches what the company is looking for in the job description. Think through each experience and find the narrative you want to run with - did you close the most sales? Make the most sales opportunities? Were you a leader? Whenever possible, use numbers and data to quantify your achievements and keep your bullets short and sweet - avoid paragraphs!

Q: What is allowed/should be included in an interest section?

A: The interests section is a great way to speak to things that you are passionate about or looking to to learn more about - be it directly aligned to your desired role or not. It tells the person reviewing your resume where else you could be a value add and/or where you’d like to be challenged. Examples of interests shared can be role/industry aligned or more service oriented like mentoring or community service.

Q: Can you list high school achievements?

A: Once you’ve started your sophomore year of college, you should remove most high school information from your resume - it takes up too much valuable space! However, if you’ve had a significant achievement (an academic award or scholarship, starting a business) keep them on - especially if they are relevant for the role you’re pursuing.

Q: Do I need to put my address on the resume?

A: No putting your address is NOT mandatory and in fact, you should NOT include this in your resume if you are applying for a position outside of your current location.

Q: What balance of info should be on your resume?

A: This depends on where you are in your career. If you haven't had an internship, it's typical to have your campus leadership experience be the most filled out section.

Q:Are there any software applications that help draft the format of your resume?

A: We recommend either going to career services to see if they have a resume template you can format or asking a friend to review and edit yours!

Q:How detailed/expansive should a skills sections be?

A: Don't waste space by saying things like "I'm proficient in Microsoft Excel" - at this point, everyone is! A skills section should focus on areas where you are advanced or bring something unique to the table - for example, fluency in a foreign or programming language, or certifications you have.

Q:How many work experiences should be included?

A: There is no specific number, you should include however many feel relevant for the specific role. I would not recommend just listing off experience. Each experience should have at least two strong bullet points. If you cannot think of any, then they should not be added.

Q:How do you make everything fit on one page without taking anything off because everything listed seems relevant/important?

A: You should keep one resume with all your experiences as a template and only include the ones that are most relevant to the given role you are applying for.

Q:Should you have multiple designs? One for career fairs and another for online applications.

A: Your resume should always be one page long, in PDF format. The changes you make should be related to the job you are applying to, but the format should stay the same.

Q:Should your resume design stand out or be the same as everyone else?

A: This depends on the role and company. If it's an analyst position at a financial firm - still to the traditional format. If it's for a design role at an agency or studio - you can be creative. It's important to note that ATS system aka the platform you're applying through might not read your creative resume and automatically add you to the trash pile. When submit through a platform, use a traditional template to be on the safe side. If you're applying via an email, feel free to send your creative resume.

Q: What if you don't have a lot of experience?

A: If you do not have a ton of experience - capitalize on your coursework or community leadership experience.

Q: What if you have experienced that is very short lived? (ie. one semester)

A: As long as you can add strong bullets then it is fair game.

Q: Does having more than one page really impact your chances?

A: Yes, your resume should not be more than one page unless you are pursuing a PhD and have academic paper and research projects. I recommend creating a resume with all your information as a template and adding/removing as needed for each role.

Q:Is it true that managers only look at your resume for less than one minute?

A: Yes, this is why formatting is super important! It's the first thing that is noticed.

Q:What is more important work experience, coursework, or technical skills?

A: Again, this depends on the specific role - you might find that some experience might not be relevant but your coursework is, etc.

Q: Is color okay? How should you go about picking?

A: Minimum color is okay as long as your resume is clear and legible.You should select a dark color and only use it for heading breaker or your name, not throughout the bullets or resume.

Q: What are some bad formats or templates?

A: Good resumes should include the following in terms of formatting: Utilize narrow margin settings and indents for bullets Play with font sizes (no smaller than 9) Avoid Paragraphs Keep bullets 1-2 lines, 2-3 bullets per role/responsibility

Q: Should I have keywords?

A: Yes, you will find the keywords to use in the job description. Each role will have it's own keywords.

Q:Am I using the right language that is associated with the company or role?

A: You will need to review the job description for the right terms to use in your resume. You will need to review the company's website to find the type of language to use in your cover letter.

Q: How can I fit everything in one page?

A: You will need to decide what is relevant for that specific role and company. As mentioned above, you should keep one resume with all your experiences as a template and only include the ones that are most relevant to the given role you are applying for.

Q: What key headers/sections should be on my resume?

A: Your name, contact info, education/achievements, work experience, student leadership, and skills.

Q: Should my resume include my GPA?

A: You should include your GPA if you have above a 3.0 (or what the GPA minimum for the role is).

Q: Can I include future work experience?

A: You can include future job experiences if it is within the next few months. If you chose to include this, the date should mention that it is an expected date.

Q: What is the correct paper size for resumes?

A: Your resume should be standard letter size paper, which is 8.5 inches by 11 inches.

Q: What types of format/wording should be used for each sentence?

A: The interests section is a great way to speak to things that you are passionate about or looking to learn more about - be it directly aligned to your desired role or not. It tells the person reviewing your resume where else you could be a value add and/or where you’d like to be challenged. Examples of interests shared can be role/industry aligned or more service oriented like mentoring or community service. Economy and use of language is valuable when describing your experiences. Your word choice conveys to what extent you contributed to work assigned. For example, words such as “managed”, “advised”, and “supported” all speak to varying degrees of ownership and responsibility. You want to ensure there is both qualitative and quantitative information in your descriptions where appropriate. Your word choice should speak to the task assigned, your role and responsibilities, and the purpose or outcome of your work.

Q: How can I design a creative resume?

A: A creative resume is an opportunity for you to showcase your design skills, but don't forget that your content still needs to be legible, consistent, and concise. Following the core resume principles such as consistent formatting, some areas that your creativity can shine can be in the headers, font selection, and overall flow of the document. If you still need assistance, you can review other professionals' in your field resumes on LinkedIn or you can seek out a mentor to guide you through the process.

Article from Drexel University's Career Center: https://drexel.edu/scdc/professional-pointers/application-materials/resumes/creative-resume/

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