As a professional resume writer, I am often asked the most amazing resume writing questions! Does my next employer know everything about me before I go to the interview? If I wear high heels will the interviewer think I am not serious? Every day I speak to many people and it is almost guaranteed I will hear a question I haven't heard before! There are also many common ones. Here are a few!
1. Should I tailor my cover letter to each job I apply for?
Yes, you should. It may take a little bit more effort however when your manager to be is looking at hundreds of applicants you have a 2% chance of being shortlisted for an interview. The 2% generally are the ones with a tailored cover letter.
2. Should I tailor my resume to each job I apply for?
As above, yes. Each job has unique keywords used to measure your compatibility against other applicants with the applicant tracking system. Even if you are going for similar jobs it is always a good idea to have a glance at your resume's keywords against the job description before you send it.
3. Do I need to cover up my career gaps?
There are well-known recruiter biases which affect your ability to be shortlisted. These include being too old, too young, underqualified, overqualified, no local experience, cultural biases etc. They are not allowed. Many are discriminatory however culling 500 applicants down to five to be interviewed is no easy task. Career gaps are a red flag for recruiters. It is best to cover them up with studies, volunteering or other activities. Your Professional Resume Writer can assist you to do this.
4. Should I include a photo?
Are you attractive enough to have a photo? Are you too attractive? Do you need a photo? This is terrible, but a good reason to leave your photo off your resume. Studies have found during the six seconds recruiters read your resume, they spend three seconds looking at your face. Not only does your photo distract the recruiter’s attention from your credentials and stand out achievements, but also introduces other biases such as age, race, weight, gender etc. Do yourself a favour, leave the photo off, unless you are going for a position which heavily relies on age or presentation e.g. a front-facing receptionist, sales representative, model, actor etc. A photo could also be beneficial for senior leadership positions as it further demonstrates your professionalism and often your personality will filter through to the photo.
5. Should I include my personal interests?
This is quite an interesting question. The resume first appeared as a creation by Leonardo Divinci. He captured a catalogue of his experience and life and showed it to people in order to gain interest in his ideas. Naturally, Divinci included his interests in his biography as paintings and inventing. Today, the resume has become a biography of someone's career history. Adding interests do bring a sense of "human" into the resume as opposed to words on a page. If you are covering up a recruiter bias, adding personal interests into your profile is a good method of distraction. Keep it to one sentence though and tie it into a relevant point the recruiter is looking for.
6. Do I need to include achievements?
No, it's not mandatory however it is strongly suggested as a positive addition to your resume.
For example, a project manager without achievements:
"manages a cross-functional team to deliver multifaceted transformation activities."
A project manager with achievements:
"Manage a cross-functional team of 12 to decrease capital expenditure by 35% across an array of multifaceted transformation activities."
What statement adds more credibility? With achievements or without?
7. Should I include a key skills section?
Yes. You have six seconds to catch your recruiter or next manager's attention on their initial scan of your resume. Keywords significantly assist the reader to ensure your key skills align with what they are looking for. Key skills added also increase your ATS ranking.
8. Should I list my entire career history?
No, just the last 10 years or relevant positions. Including a career history spanning more than 10 years introduces age bias into your resume which you want to avoid.
9. Should I list my exam grades or undergraduate unit titles?
No. Unless you scored a GPA of 3.5 out of 4 or higher. You can use an abridged version of your undergraduate units in your key skills section.
10. Should I include a personal profile?
Yes, but keep it relevant. The personal profile is your introduction of an essay. It gives a brief insight into who you are as a person and how you will fit in with the team. It also gives an element of "human".
11. Should I include a career objective?
This is an outdated practice. Leave it out or if you need an extra sentence in your personal profile you can add a sentence to that.
12. Do I need to include my location, date of birth, marital status, how many kids I have, my nationality?
No, no, no, no, no! This is fraught with recruiter bias. If you really want the job, delete these immediately!
13. What contact details should I include?
Keep your contacts simple. One email, one mobile number and a LinkedIn profile if it is a good one!
14. How long should my resume be?
The length of your resume is one of the biggest factors for many of the Managers. Generally, a person's personality comes across in the resume. If someone's resume is more than three pages long, they are seen as someone who either talks too much or is overly confident. Both traits that are somewhat annoying to work with. Keep your resume length to under three pages, two is preferable.
15. How can I make my resume easier to read?
Choose Calibri size 11 as the body font and headers between 12-14 points. Calibri is Microsoft Office's default font and the one most managers will have their computer screen resolution set for. This will ensure your font doesn't scream that your glasses must be extremely powerful or require the recruiter to zoom in or out to be able to read it.
If you have any further questions or if you would like a professional resume writer to review your CV please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org