Questions to ask yourself before submitting a resume

Your resume remains to be the most crucial weapon in your job-hunting arsenal.  Sending an intelligently-crafted one can give you the best edge over your competitors.  So before you send out your resume, make sure it is comprehensive and well thought out.  Here is a checklist of the questions you need to ask yourself to get that perfect resume in order.

How long should my resume be? 

This question depends on the experience level of an applicant. Entry-level job seekers, like fresh graduates, should stick to a single-page resume. A person with a job experience of five to ten years would be considered as a mid-level candidate. In this case, two pages would be acceptable. This allows ample space to include comprehensive details. Make sure to use all of the second page or at least three quarters of it to avoid the dead space. Too much space is a big no-no as it draws the attention of the recruiter. Only highly experienced applicants with over twenty years of background may use three or more pages.

What should I include? 

Contact Information – Your resume needs the details on how a hiring manager or an employer can contact you. This includes your name, permanent address, both home and cell phone numbers, and your email. It would also be helpful to register for an email if you don’t have one. These days, most companies prefer to process their hiring through electronic means. Not having one reduces your chances of getting that job. Here are the most important things to write in your resume.

How important is an objective?

Many have differing opinions on this issue. Some think that it’s just a waste of valuable space. There are some employers who like it, while there are some who don’t. Although this could be judgment call on the part of the applicant, it might actually be more beneficial to include one. An objective makes the employer see what exactly you are looking for. Knowing your goals can sometimes reveal what your interests are. Just make sure to keep your objectives specific, focused, and commensurate with the company’s own objectives. Bear in mind: they are mostly concerned of theirs than of yours. Vague and ambiguous objectives can sometimes turn off recruiters.

What if I have very little or no work experience at all? 

You can use volunteer work, community activities, club memberships (for students), and internships. Extracurricular activities such as sports, youth groups, school organizations or church involvement are also good sources of experience. Even odd jobs like baby-sitting; lawn mowing or newspaper delivery can be used. Including your achievements in your education like honors or awards can also help you fill the dead space. Give a brief summary on how your involvement with these areas would boost your ability to the job. These are some other things you can do if your employer requires experience and you have very little.

What resume format should I use? 

Here are the three main types of resume with guidelines on when you should use them:

-Chronological – A resume of a chronological format lists your previous work in a reversed order, with the most recent jobs coming first. This is the most accepted form of resume. About 80 percent of resumes are done in this format. Use this if your work experience is relevant to the position you are applying for.

-Functional – A functional places focus on your skills and abilities instead of your work history. This format is the best choice if your chronological work experience is a little incoherent to the position you are applying for.  It highlights specific skill sets that the recruiter may easily see.

-Combination – As the name implies, this is a combination of the first two types. It includes both work experience and skills that are very specific to the job position. Experiences and skills that are not at all related to the job opening are not included. This format has the benefits of the first two types. Use it if both your work experience and skills are relevant to the position.

Should I include my internship experiences? 

If you have very little work experience, then yes. As long the work gave you an opportunity to hone and improve whatever skills you have that you think are highly relevant to the job you are applying for. An applicant with a decent amount of work experience might want to skip it though. It would be unnecessary to include internships if you already have a good number of years to vouch for.

Who should be my preference/s?

In this case, look for somebody in your previous workplace who you got along with and ask them to be your reference. If you recently got fired, talk to the person who terminated you. Appeal to him and explain the importance of the job and ask him to be at least neutral and objective. If this is not an option, try using personal references. You can ask your relatives or former colleague. Your best bet would be to try former employers from older less recent jobs.

Do I need to include my soft skills? 

Choosing a prospective employee is more than just checking the education or experience of a candidate. Soft skills, or what others call “emotional IQ,” can sometimes tell you if a prospect can do a job or not. These are the characteristics that make you more likable as a person. And whether you like it or not, likability is a big factor in the process of hiring.

Are there are any errors that I overlooked? 

Proofread your work a number of times to avoid grammatical errors. You can also ask someone to check it as you can easily miss your own typos and other mistakes. A different set of eyes would be more likely to spot your errors. A good education and a reliable work experience may paint a good picture of you as an employee, but how you communicate is a more accurate representation of who you are. A resume that is full of spelling mistakes, typo and grammatical errors, and incorrectly-used words reveal an uneducated or a lazy individual. So devote a considerable amount of time proofreading and organizing it for better readability.

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Felix Tarcomnicu

@felixtarcomnicu

I founded ResumeOK in 2011, with the goal of helping people increase their chances to get a better job. I am a career and online marketing expert that has reviewed and written thousands of resumes. During my career, I have found certain patterns that make a resume successful, and I’m sharing all my insights in the samples that you can find on ResumeOK. 

My work has been published by reputable publications such as BusinessInsider, FoxNews, SmartRecruiters, Business.com, HuffPost, ZipRecruiter, SnagAJob. If you need help with your resume, or just want to say “hi”, send me an email

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