Career Advice: Questions About Resume Writing, Answered

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It’s hard to find someone who truly enjoys writing their own resume. For most, it is completely overwhelming to condense everything you accomplish in a 40(+) hour work week into a neat list of bullet points, and can be downright painful if you haven’t thought about your resume since your last job search.

The truth is that a solid resume sets the foundation for your job search, and is your first (and sometimes only) chance at a great first impression. So read on for resume questions we’ve gotten recently from our career coaching clients, and our expert tips to navigate resume writing in your next career transition.

Do recruiters actually read resumes?

Yes and No. While resumes are still a very important part of job-searching, a Recruiter is not always the first screening that your resume goes through. Depending on the technology a company uses (and almost every company uses something), resumes will often go through a first-round “tech” screening that matches resume and job description key words. After this, a hiring manager or recruiter will look through a resume. For most companies, each job posted will receive hundreds, or even thousands, of resumes from interested applicants. Even if Recruiters and Hiring Managers only spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume, the fatigue is REAL. So how do you make an impression with your resume? Make sure your content is aligned with the job description, is clean and clear (think bullets not paragraphs), and that your most important experience is close to the top.

Where do I put my education on a resume?

Great question! The answer lies in your answer to these questions: How long ago did you graduate? Is your degree relevant to the job or the hiring manager? Essentially, if you graduated ten years ago with a degree in Communications and you now work in Finance, you can place your education on the side or the bottom of your resume. However, if you graduated in the last couple of years, your degree is in a field of study that is directly applicable to the role, or if you graduated from the alma mater of the hiring manager or company founder, then feature your education at the top of your resume.

When can I use graphic design elements on my resume?

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Resumes are full of possibilities, and formatting and design elements can make or break the impact yours can have on the job that you want. If you want to use graphic design elements, consider the industry and role you’re applying for. Is it a creative role? Will graphic design showcase a skill that is applicable to the job? Will the design element highlight or hinder the visibility of your skills? If you do decide to put your graphic design skills to use, make sure your style is congruous with that of the company you’re applying to, your resume elements match those in your cover letter, and that your overall design is still simple enough to be absorbed in a short amount of time.


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