Check out some FAQs from resume-writing expert Samantha Nolan.
I receive many questions from readers facing the same conundrums, so I thought I would answer some of my frequently asked questions.
Q: How much experience should I present on my resume?
A:Typically, hiring managers expect to see about 10-15 years of experience. Omitting earlier experience will not be seen as misleading, because recent, relevant experience is more important.
This does not mean you can’t include earlier positions. However, consider bylining foundational roles to avoid potentially aging or overqualifying your candidacy. To do this, break format and place a note at the end of your Professional Experience section that mentions that you possess additional foundational experience, yet without dating the roles.
Q: How do I write a resume that opens the most doors possible?
A:Not easily. Defining your target is critically important in creating an effective resume. Without a clearly defined audience, how will you know what message — and all-important keywords — will resonate with that reader?
It is one thing to develop one resume for two purposes when they are closely related, but quite another to try to develop a resume for anything and everything. Avoid the latter, realizing that just because you write a resume with an open-ended target certainly does not — and likely will not — mean you open more doors.
Q: I don’t know what I want to do. How do I develop a resume?
A:It may not be time to write a resume just yet. Start perusing job boards — such as indeed.com — by searching functional keywords instead of titles. From your search results, track and trend the types of jobs for which you are interested and qualified.
You do not have to meet all of the desired qualifications to be a competitive candidate, but ensure you can speak in the language of the job postings, presenting your background in a way that emulates the functions of the role.
Q: What should I include in my Education section if I do not have a degree?
A:If you did not attend college, or completed very little, then I recommend omitting the Education section. If you were to include it solely with your high school diploma, realize you would only make it more obvious to the employer that you do not have a college degree.
To present a partially completed degree, list the degree you pursued and/or the coursework completed. You may also include professional development, training, certifications and other credentials in an Education section.
Q: Can I highlight community involvement to fill a gap in employment?
A:Absolutely. Present any volunteer work you would like on your resume, especially if those experiences help fill absences from the workforce. Hiring managers will give your experience as much value as you do.
Q: How many accomplishments should I present from each role?
A:There is no correct answer to the number of accomplishments you should highlight from each position. Just try to visually outweigh responsibilities with accomplishments. A key strategy is to present responsibilities in a paragraph format and accomplishments in bullet points, that way the reader is drawn toward the latter.
I hope these tips will ensure you’re presenting the best representation of your candidacy.