One of my favorite things to help with is resumes, because a few simple tips and tricks will go a long way toward helping you stand out from the competition. Here are some of the most common questions I get about resumes, and my best advice on tackling them:
1. How long should it be?
If you are in the US, and you have less than about 5 years of relevant experience, keep your resume to one page. If you have more than that amount of experience, you can generally go up to 2 pages.
In the tech sector, try to keep it to one page even if you have several years of experience. Folks in this job market generally want a short and sweet list of your skills and experience, and will ask you in an interview if they have more questions and want more details.
If you're working abroad, the patience to read resumes seems to be greater in other countries. In Australia, you can start at 2 pages and go up to 4, for example.
2. Do I include a picture?
No picture! Not on your resume anyway. Though, do put one on your LinkedIn profile. Confusing? I know, but that's how it works.
3. Should I create a graphic or visual resume?
If you're looking for work in the media industry or in anything design or creativity related then you should consider a creative resume to reflect your personal brand and style of communication and design. Think about infographics or other graphical components that could help convey the feeling and experience of working with you while presenting useful information.
If you're going for a traditional occupation, you should use a traditional resume. You'll know based on the company culture and the application process, and you can do a little research on the company to get a sense for that.
Not sure? Then do a combination. Provide some aspect of creativity or visual representation to your resume without going crazy. If you need more tips, check out this article on infographic resumes.
4. What's a video resume?
A video resume could be a great way to showcase your skills and experience. Rather than a video resume explicitly, many companies are now asking you to submit a video that in some way demonstrates your skills.
To do this well, you want to include information about your skills that are relevant to the job in a fun and captivating way. Avoid anything really out-there like writing and performing a song or juggling, but do include visual representation of your communication, analytical, teamwork, or other skills that employers want to see. You could create animation or include video of you working, or you presenting in front of an audience or working in a team. If you need more tips, check this out.
5. What do I do if I don't have any experience?
We all have some life experience, so think outside the box. Think about projects you completed in college, clubs you were a part of in school, and even achievements in your hobbies. Volunteer activities are also great. Part-time jobs, even if they seem unrelated, can also go on your resume, just focus on transferable skills. Don't have any of these types of experience? Go ahead and volunteer somewhere and put that on your resume! Find opportunities here: volunteermatch.org.
6. Should I list references on my resume?
If you are applying in the US, don't include references on your resume, create a separate resume sheet. You can then include your list of references in an email to the hiring team after your interview, or whenever they request them.
If you have prior work experience, use your supervisors as references wherever possible. If you don't have prior work experience, you can use professors or TAs from your college classes, or people who worked closely with you in volunteer activities or clubs. Always, always, always ask someone if they are willing to serve as a reference for you before you list them, and provide them with information about what you are applying for, and what skills you are hoping they might be able to talk about.
7. What if I haven't started the job/internship yet? Do I put it on my resume?
You have a few options. You can go ahead and list the job on your internship, and show the starting month in the dates of employment. In the bullet points you would list activities or achievements that you anticipate being able to achieve during the course of your role.
Alternatively, you can wait until you start and then list it on your resume. This is a better option if you are not sure what you'll be working on in your upcoming role.
More resume questions? You can always write to me! Happy job searching!