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Resume FAQs

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Why should my resume be professionally written?
Why do you Prepare resumes in a Word.doc format?
When do I need a CV?
How long should my resume be?
CV’s versus Resume Length
Do I really need a cover letter?
How far back in time should my resume document?
Should resumes include an objective?

 

Why should my resume be professionally written?
If you possess strong, succinct writing skills and you are able to evaluate and edit your career experience objectively, using industry relevant key words then you do not need a professionally written resume. Make sure that you triple-proof your resume (or better yet have someone with “fresh eyes” review it for you). Be sure to read the Career Journeys article ATS Proofing Your Résumé and go write your own resume with confidence!

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If you are not comfortable objectifying your background in writing or you lack skills to pinpoint your career strengths and accomplishments then consider investing in a professionally written resume.  A strategic, high-impact resume can take months and even years off of your job search while boosting your self-confidence and job interviewing skills. This is because resume experts are trained to guide you in defining and articulating the most outstanding features of your candidacy and producing a finished document that is attractive, ATS proof, and targeted to specific occupational audiences.

 

Why do you Prepare resumes in a Word.doc format?
Recruiters most often prefer receiving resumes formatted as a Word.doc file (in Word 97-2003 rather than in the more updated docx format).  Word.doc files are Applicant Training Software (ATS) readable. ATS is resume software designed to prescreen applicants by seeking out key words within a given field or job opening. Businesses do not always have the most up-to-date software so consensus has been for job seekers to save their resumes “down” to the more readily accessible Word.doc format in the event an employer or job board is using ATS.
Many job seekers understandably prefer sending their resumes as a PDF file to avoid modifications to their resume. Unfortunately, PDF formats often do not withstand ATS parsing and thus are often discarded before a human eye has had a chance to see or evaluate the merits of a candidate. Still, there are times when PDF files are the specified submission format. Career Journeys will provide PDF and other formatting by specific request. Job seekers should always email or e-file resumes in the format specified by each employer or recruiter.

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When do I need a CV?
A Curriculum Vitae (or CV) is most often used when you possess a post-baccalaureate degree such as a Ph.D., M.S or M.D., and you are seeking employment in a “pure” research Scientific, Academic or Medical (SAM) field.

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How long should my résumé be?
While there is much ongoing controversy over the proper length of a resume, the fact is that there are no comprehensive, conclusive or universally agreed upon rule regarding resume length. Guidelines for creating a highly effective resume are most often based on years of workplace experience:

  • Entry-level workers including recent high school or college graduates or those with less than five years of full-time employment typically should have a one-page resume.
  • Individuals in professional occupations or those with ten or more years of job experience should avoid condensing a resume into a single page if it means sacrificing important, high-impacting details. In this instance, a 2-3 page résumé is quite acceptable.

In general:

  1. Resumes should be as concise as possible; the number of resume pages should always be kept to a minimum.
  2. Resumes should be highly relevant and targeted to a specific audience.
  3. Resumes should not exceed three pages; this is not a hard rule, however, job seekers should be mindful that resumes are intended to be concise and summarize rather than elaborate on key information

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CV’s versus Resume Length
The number of pages in a CV may be limitless depending on the number of published documents, professional lectures, body of research and other professional data an individual possesses. CV’s typically list data and details and thus are as long as necessary in order to include all pertinent facts and information

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Do I really need a cover letter?
Yes you really do need a cover letter. While not all cover letters are thoroughly perused, they represent proper business protocol and articulate your candidacy in a manner that is different from your resume. Cover letters are more personal and may showcase your written language skills since, unlike resumes, these documents are written in grammatically correct sentences rather than as the fragmented bullets often seen in resumes. Cover letters should not restate your resume; they should add a dimension to your candidacy whether you are requesting a face-to-face interview, informing the reader of your intent to follow up with a telephone call, mention a specific mutual contact, quote a recent article or statistic, or comment on relevant policy or industry changes.

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How far back in time should my resume document?
Generally speaking resumes should cover your most recent 10 year work history. More dated, highly relevant or interesting experience may be highlighted as a “Career Note” at the end of your resume or at the top of your resume in a “Summary” section. In some instances it is wise to reference more than 10 years of career history, particularly when organizations are seeking a well-seasoned, mature professional with an extensive proven history of relevant experiences and accomplishments.

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Should resumes include an objective?
The top of your resume should communicate something about you that is highly appealing to potential employers. It should not be “candidate focused” (emphasizing what you want) but rather “employer focused,” showing how you can be of benefit to your target employers. Whether you use an “Objective,” a “Highlights,” or “Summary” section, whether you call it “Profile,” “Overview,” or just provide your target job title, be sure that the person (or Applicant Tracking Software) screening your résumé can discern the type of position you are seeking and why you are a candidate worth meeting.

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