Top 10 Questions About Writing a Resume
by Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert
What Are the Different Resume Styles?
The three most common are reverse chronological, functional (AKA “skills”) and combination (AKA “hybrid” or “modified chronological”). Here’s a definition of each style:
- Reverse Chronological: With a focus on work history, a reverse chronological resume leads with education or work history and provides comprehensive employment history information. Reverse chronological resumes best suit those with a steady work history who are not changing careers.
- Functional: Functional resumes often are used by job seekers with issues such as job-hopping, extended employment gaps and career changing.
- Combination: This style is a good choice for most job seekers, because a qualifications summary at the top allows for a quick sell and entices hiring managers to continue reading.
Should I Keep My Resume to One Page?
Not necessarily. The one-page resume “rule” no longer applies. New graduates with limited experience might only require one page, but experienced professionals often need two pages or more. For a two-page resume, make sure your strongest credentials are on page one.
Which Font Should I Use?
For resumes in electronic format that will be emailed, select a font that’s standard on most computer systems. Good choices include Arial, Book Antiqua, Century Schoolbook, Garamond, Tahoma, Times New Roman and Verdana.
What Tense Should I Write My Resume In?
Write previous jobs in past tense. For your current job, write accomplishments in past tense and job responsibilities in present tense.
Should I Include Salary Information on My Resume?
No, unless you are writing a federal resume. Indicating your salary history or requirements could eliminate you from consideration. If the employer requests salary requirements, acknowledge the request in your cover letter with a line like: “I would be happy to discuss my salary requirements after mutual interest has been established.” If you feel pressed to give a number, provide a wide range to give you some wiggle room for future negotiations.
You can also create a salary history sheet, a separate document that outlines your earnings history.
Do I Need to Send a Cover Letter with My Resume?
Yes. A well-written cover letter is a chance to market your credentials and demonstrate professionalism.
How Do I Include Accomplishments When I Don’t Have Any?
You may think you just do your job, but consider what makes your work performance valuable to a potential employer. Ask your coworkers or supervisors about your performance, and review your written evaluations. You’ll probably find you indeed have strong accomplishments you can mention.
Do I Need an Objective Section?
Your resume must focus on a career goal so hiring managers immediately understand your job objective. However, you don’t necessarily need to include a formal Objective section. Instead, incorporate your goal into a narrative qualifications summary.
How Can I Hide Gaps in My Work History?
While most employers prefer applicants with no employment gaps, very few job seekers offer a perfectly steady work history. You can’t change the past, so focus your resume on what you offer. If you participated in activities such as volunteer work, self-study or formal training while out of work, include them on your resume. If long-term gaps are an issue, consider a functional resume style, which emphasizes relevant skills while downplaying work chronology.
How Do I Write a Resume to Change Careers?
Your career-change resume should highlight your qualifications that are most relevant to your new career goal. You may have transferable skills, training, hobbies or other important credentials that will interest hiring managers. A good starting point is to research jobs by searching jobs on Monster and look for qualifications frequently mentioned in ads. Write down your matching qualifications, and work them into your resume.
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