Your Resource Guide to Writing Resumes...and More!

This page is all about providing you answers to commonly asked questions about resumes, cover letters, and job searching. Creating a resume that fits who you are using your specific experience, talents and gifts isn't easy, but applying the following can assist you in getting to that next step in your career!

resume writing tips

What is the Purpose of a Resume?

  • A resume is actually NOT the document to get you hired! Its real function is to impress potential employers to the point that they want to contact you for a job interview.

Should You Present Yourself as a Generalist or Specialist on Your Resume?

Think about this for a moment - employers hire for a specific position. They need to know if you’re qualified for the job. So how can they determine that if you present yourself as a generalist? On the other hand, some employers need generalists, such as handymen.

What Should I List on my Resume? What IS Important?

Work history/experience, achievements, summary (not objective), contact info (not your full address!), and your education

career gap

What Format/Layout Should I Use? (CV, Chronological or Functional Hybrid)?

Confused yet?! Most people are. The most common layout is the reverse chronological. But what if you have career gaps? Or need to showcase multiple projects in detail? Or are a professor? Let’s have a discussion about what is best for your situation.

What are Keywords and How Do They Affect This ATS Thing?

A keyword is a specific word or phrases used to find the ideal candidate for a position. Each industry and profession has their own set. Many companies use keyword-searchable databases (Applicant Tracking Systems) that quickly scan resumes for words related to the job positions for which they are looking for. So, you can see that having the right keywords is important on your resume, right?

How Can I Describe My Military Experience on a Resume for a Civilian Job?

THANK YOU FOR SERVING! We SO appreciate you! This is no easy task because ex-military veteran resumes contain terminology and acronyms that most recruiters don't understand. Phrases like, “Assistant G-3 Training Officer” and “Battery Commander” might be impressive in the military, but don’t mean much for potential civilian employers. 
It's your mission to demonstrate your hard-earned military skills, accomplishments, and experiences; entice recruiters and hiring managers to call you; and prevent recruiters from doubting your ability to transition into civilian employment.

I highly recommend writing out your professional merits. What skills, training, military awards, and education are useful for the job you’re targeting? Start there. Then reach out to us to help!

Do I Need More Than One Resume?

Yes! What works for one job posting may not work for another. Having a few different versions of your resume boosts your chances of being considered for a job. But don’t drive yourself nuts by creating a revision for each position you apply for.

How Long Should My Resume REALLY Be?

One to two pages. Basically, it depends on your experience. Recent grads and top executives should keep their resumes to one page. Professionals with 3-10 years of experience may want to expand their resume to two pages. The idea is to present the highlights of your career and the values you add to an organization, then at the interview, you can go into crazy detail on all you’ve accomplished. Plus think about this....would you want to read tons of resumes with tons of details all day? You want short, concise and unique!

What If I Have Limited Experience, or Worse, NONE?!

If you’ve just graduated, you’re probably scared. You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience, right? Not necessarily! Demonstrate you’re driven and focused in building a career within a certain position/industry by writing a sound summary. Then list all volunteer work, projects and hobbies that have allowed you to develop transferable skills, of which make you equip for the job.

I’m Older…..Will I be Rejected Based on the Length of my Experience and the Year I Graduated College?

Having experience that extends way back into the past is a great thing to possess! You don’t have to include years on your education, and you shouldn’t really go back more than 10 years on your resume in terms of experience. Your wisdom is important to bring to a work place, and don't forget that!

Should I Have a Cover Letter?

Always have one on hand! Some applications require one. Focus on putting the value you add and what makes you different and ideal for the specific position. Plus in a cover letter, you can better explain situations such as career gaps, or non-standard career paths

What’s the BEST Thing You Can Do Before Submitting Your Resume?

After proofreading for grammatical and spelling errors (yes, even spell check misses things!), PLEASE ensure you have a professional email address! Not a work one. Not one from school. Not one that has your nickname. I highly recommend having a separate email address to use for your job search too! This way you can keep track of all the emails received and they don’t get lost! In terms of a professional email address, keep this in mind: 76% of resumes are rejected IMMEDIATELY for the lack of professionalism.