FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Must the résumé be one page only? Will a longer one be read?
A: Your résumé should be as long as it needs to be to tell you story but tell it succinctly. Keep it to two pages unless you have a compelling reason to make it longer.
Q: Is it all right to fudge dates or embellish my history to look more appealing to an employer?
A: Ethics aside, distorting the truth is always a poor idea. Background checks are easy to order and many corporations use them. I have seen people summarily fired after a résumé or job application lie was discovered. My goal is to package you honestly and attractively. My only rules are these: whatever we say on your résumé must be true, and the English must be perfect.
Q: What helps my résumé stand out among my competition?
A: Your résumé will most likely be read by a software program that will search for keywords (skills and experience) required for the job you are applying for. If you pass that first test, you will have survived the first round of résumé eliminations.
If a human being reads your résumé, you have a maximum of 6 seconds to impress him/her to want to find out more about you. Your career summary, which will be placed right after the objective, spells out the snapshot of your career. This is where we state your claims. The rest of the résumé proves them.
Q: What is a custom résumé?
A: Custom means that I take the time to get to know you so that I can truly understand and represent you when I write about you. Unlike “résumé mills”, I neither take a boilerplate résumé off the shelf and fill in the blanks nor do I massage the text that people send me, thinking that the result will be a real résumé.
Q: What contact information goes on a résumé?
A: Your telephone and personal e-mail are all you need for contact information. Make sure your email address is serious and professional sounding. Avoid emails addresses that are flippant and immature, e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What are references and how should they be used?
A: Your reference list is 3-5 individuals, preferably supervisors, with whom you have worked. Successfully using them takes some planning. Email each your new résumé, then follow up with a phone call to refresh their memories about when you worked together. Coach them to refamiliarize them with your accomplishments. Ask them to take notes so that they are fully prepared to answer questions when your prospective employer calls. If they are caught totally off guard, they cannot represent you well.
Most employers ask for references when you have made the short list of candidates. A few industries require references up front. Unless you have been told otherwise, hold back your references until requested.
Q: What if I would like to change the kind of work I do?
A: If you would like to change occupations, call me. I know career counselors who can help you, and I would be happy to give you a referral since this is not the sort of work I am trained to do. Sometimes as little as one session can give you the direction you need. Once you have identified a new course, we can reconvene to write your résumé.
Q: What is a PAR statement?
A: A PAR statement is an effective way to structure your past performance and experiences.
P = The Problem: Define a problem you have been faced with, not necessarily a negative, just some sort of challenge, preferably on the job.
A = The Action: Explain the action you took.
R = The Results: Measure the results everywhere you can. If you can’t measure them, at least describe them and what difference they made. Keep in mind some of the main reasons you get hired: to make or save money for the company, make things more efficient, or enhance public relations.
Q: What does not belong on a résumé?
A: There are few areas that that should not be on a résumé
1) The phrase “References available upon request”. There is no need to waste space to state the obvious. Everyone has references.
2) Other areas to omit are: hobbies, recreational activities, and personal interests unless they are community-service oriented.
Q: How should I prepare for my first résumé session?
A: To get the most out of your session there is a bit of homework. See Getting Started
Q: Is there a résumé prep worksheet I can download?
A: Yes. You can download the worksheet here. Résumé Prep Worksheet Download
Q: Do you have a résumé blog?
A: Yes, I do have a blog that offers a variety of tips about the résumé process.
Q: What do your résumé services cost?”
A: See “Getting Started” Link
Q: Are résumé writing services a tax deductible expense?”
A: Yes, résumé writing services are tax deductible, as well as other employment search expenses. Consult your tax professional for more information.
Q: What methods of payment do you accept?”
A: I accept cash or personal checks.