How to Build a Resume – The Biggest List of 37 FAQs About Award-Winning Resumes

1. What is A Resume?
A resume is a presentation of your qualifications for employer. It lets your employer know what type of job you are seeking and highlights your education, experience, skills and other relevant information. A resume (or CV - Curriculum Vitae) only may be the tips to potential employer for determination whether or not you will be interviewed.

2. Does a resume always need to be only one page?
Resume (CV) length should not exceed 2 sides of A4. How much of those two sides you fill depends on how much you have done.

3. Should the education section always be near the top?
If you have recently completed formal education your academic achievements will form a major part of your qualifications, and it is recommended to place these near the top of your resume.

4. Is an objective always necessary?
No, it is not crucial. But however an employer will be impressed if you have a focused idea of where you want your career to be heading.

5. What if I haven't done very much to fill up my resume?
This does not matter. If build a resume is a problem - use sensible formatting and fonts so that you comfortably fill one side of A4.

6. Do hobbies and personal interests need to be shown?
It is not imperative but it can provide an employer with an insight into your personality.

7. Must references be included?
One note that 'References available on request' will be sufficient.

8. What should be on my resume?
Contact details, Date of birth and nationality, an introduction, employment history, academic qualifications, hobbies and interests are enough for resume building.

9. What shouldn't I put on my resume?
Religion, references, sexuality, why you left your previous jobs, all your school grades, a photo, lies should not be included into resume.

10. Do I have to include all of my exam results?
No, just the most recent.

11. In what order do I list information?
Contact details at the top, a brief introduction, employment history, education, interests hobbies. Follow these simple instructions:

  • The heading is first.
  • The objective is second.
  • All other headings are listed as they relate to your job objective. Build a resume that highlight your objective and enhances you as a candidate for the job you are seeking.

12. What sort of paper should I print it on?
The best quality that you can get your hands on, but don't get paper that is too thick ;-).

13. In what text format should I save my resume so that it can be e-mailed?
Employer unequivocally can read your resume in *.txt attachment. However this format does not allow you to include attractive formatting. The MS Word document or PDF will probably be suitable. If you want to be certain you could paste a txt version of your resume into the body of the e-mail and attach a Word or PDF version.

14. How can I ensure that my resume will be read?
Resumes (CVs) usually aren't read at first. They are scanned (look at the questions #21, #22). So, how to build a resume to be easily scanned:

  • Present information in concise, compact statements.
  • Leave irrelevant, unnecessary or inappropriate information off your resume.
  • Organise your information so that the reader doesn't have to hunt for your skills.

15. Do I need more than one resume?
Construct a 'core resume (CV)' using the 'How to build a killer resume' guide then configure that to the recipient each time you send it out.

16. How far back should I go with the information I put on my resume?
Ten years is usually required. However, there are certain situations in which experience from more than ten years ago may be advantageous to show on your resume.

17. What are some common components of a resume?
They are:

  • Identification: Your name, address, and home and/or message phone number with area code, and e-mail address should be placed at the top of the resume.
  • Objective: Describe your career or professional objective. Be specific and include what you want to do for the employer - not what you want the employer to do for you.
  • Summary: Used by the candidate with experience; briefly state your achievements, the range of your experience and the environment(s) in which you have worked.
  • Employment: Describe your job history in reverse chronological order - most History recent first.
  • Education: Build your resume with list of educational experience, most recent first.
  • Skills: Include into your resume (Curriculum Vitae, CV) foreign language fluency, knowledge of computers including specific hardware, software, operating systems and anything else that may be relevant.
  • Community: Create a resume with information about any volunteer efforts, including name of organization, dates and a brief description of your activities and experiences.
  • References: List professional references on a separate page. You may want to state that references are "available upon request" (you can see question #7).

18. How long is the standard resume?
See question #2. The general tips of resume building are to use enough space to provide all info and to write only relevant information about yourself.

19. What resume style is preferred by employers?
There are three resume building styles: Chronological, Functional, and Combination. Chronological resumes present your work history and experience most recent first. Functional resumes focus on the skills and abilities that have been acquired and can be applied to new career opportunities. Combination resumes combine elements of both the chronological and functional formats.

20. Are All Resumes Alike?
I wrote above there are three basic types of resumes. The format you select should be the one you believe will best allow you to target your education, experience, and skills towards your career objectives.

21. What is a Scannable Resume?
A scannable resume is one that may be "read" by a computer equipped with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) hardware and software. They scans your resume and puts data into a database. The software then creates a summary of your resume and ranks it among other qualified candidates for the position. This process, sometimes called electronic applicant tracking, is gathering popularity among medium- to large-sized companies as an initial employment screening device.

22. Why are the Employers Using Scannable Resumes?
Scannable resumes have advantages for employers:

  • Employers can simply search through their database and identify names with the specific experience, skills, and qualifications.
  • Human Resource departments can be much smaller because this technology speeds up the entire hiring process.

23. What is an Online Resume?
An online resume is a plain text document (*.txt) which can be cut-and-pasted into online forms. It can be used by resume builder because ASCII files are recognized by PC's, Macintoshes, UNIX Workstations, and mainframe terminals.

24. Why do I need an Online Resume?
You can build a resume in online version and to send it to companies who are soliciting resumes via e-mail. Frequently the companies who are calling for resumes want them in the form of a plain text document sent in the body of an e-mail message - NOT PDF, NOT MS WORD.

25. Can't I just send my resume as an email attachment?
Sending any attachments through email can be tricky, and the last thing you want to do is make a potential employer work to read your resume. There are many types of computer systems, increasing the risk that the program that you create your resume in will not be compatible to the computer of the receiver, making it impossible for them to open up the attachment. The online resume solves that problem as you import it directly into the text body of the email message. Its simple, plain text look is easy for employers to read through email.

26. What is a Functional Resume?
The Functional Resume is a resume in which the resume builder organized information by skill sets. These resumes design focus on individuals whose education and experiences do not obviously match their career objective.

27. Who Should Use a Functional Resume?
Functional Resumes can be used for people who have a History or Psychology degree. In these cases it may be easier for the student to highlight their Communication, Computer Skills, Leadership, Research, Administration, and Management. A functional resume allows such people to feature their volunteer and other non-paid experiences. It also includes individuals who have multi-track job histories, or work history gaps.

28. What are the Benefits of Using a Functional Resume?
Functional Resumes are beneficial in these ways:

  • Utilizes volunteer, unpaid and non-work experiences.
  • Demonstrates precisely the skills that the employer wants.
  • Eliminates work history that does not support your current objective.
  • Directs the emloyer to what you want them to notice.

29. What is a reference?
A reference is someone who knows you well and can builds talk about your job related qualifications with a potential employer. Many employers will want a list of your references, including addresses and phone numbers.

30. How many references do I need?
You will need at least three to five references as a recent college graduate. It is also a good idea to tailor your references to the job for which you are applying.

31. Who do I ask to be my reference?
Someone who knows you well through a job, class or organization. Find someone who can make a positive statement about your skills, work habits, and other qualifications. There are three main kinds of references:

  • Professional References are the best help, it can provide the potential employer with specific work habits and abilities.
  • Academic References can also assist you in finding a job in your chosen field, for example a professor in your major can attest to your knowledge base and study habits.
  • Personal References are usually not recommended unless the potential employer specifically asks for them. Generally, personal references get the least amount of attention from employers.

32. What Is A Cover Letter?
A cover letter is an accompanying letter that serves as the introduction to your resume. No resume should be sent without one. The cover letter is created separately and individually for each position for which you express an interest.

33. What Is The Purpose Of The Cover Letter?
The purpose of the cover letter is to introduce yourself to an organization, demonstrate your interest in the company or a specific vacancy, draw attention to your resume and motivate the reader to interview you. A cover letter tells a potential employer that you are available, qualified, and interested in employment. Cover letters personalize your resume by briefly highlighting your strengths as they relate to the position sought.

34. How Should Cover Letters Be Organized?
The cover letter typically consists of three parts: Introduction, Body, and Closing. Within these three parts you must get the following three points across:

  • Why you are specifically interested in the organization?
  • Why they should be particularly interested in you?
  • When and how you will contact them to follow up on your letter and schedule an appointment.

35. Should cover letters be personalized to match each job opportunity?
Yes, certainly! The cover letter is your chance to personalize the resume to highlight your strengths as they relate to the needs of an employer. Often this means simply changing the address, salutation and opening paragraph to specify the employer. The manual of resume building recommends to personalize the cover letter in any manner that you can because such cover letters assist in grabbing the attention of an employer.

36. Should a cover letter always be included with a resume or application?
YES, Of course! Cover letters clarify what are you seeking and highlight your strengths to an employer's needs.

37. Where Can I Learn More About Resume Writing?
Available steps are:

  • Look at the sample resume handouts, and the many resume-related resources in the Career Discovery Center.
  • Request Career Services to present a Resume Writing Workshop to your club or organization.
  • Schedule a Resume Review with a Career Associate.
  • Make an appointment to discuss your resume with a member of the Career Services staff.
  • Look for additional FAQ pages, including Action Verbs to Enhance Your Resume.