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Ask Sarah - Questions about Resumes

Job search expert Sarah Weinberger has worked with job seekers for years answering their questions and providing them tools by which to succeed. Her analytical mind bridges the gap between the engineering of a career search and individuals.

She welcomes your questions, and encourages you to send them into her. Please use our contact form or connect with her on LinkedIn. She will select questions to answer and post the answer on this site. Below are some of the questions she received and answered.

How long can my resume be?

The general rule of thumb is one page, if you are at the beginning of your career or for certain fields. If you have years of experience, then you can have two pages. In other cases, you can have longer. Your specifics are important to accurately answer this question. Remember that you have to create a balance between the human nature, where people hate to read, and having enough information that you have the right buzzwords that human resource gate keeper needs to see and that it imparts experience.

Most of the time, you will have experience in many areas, but most positions are George Jetson type of jobs, where you have to do one specific thing and one specific thing only. Employers usually do not want to see extraneous information. The same is for recruiters.

You should create several different resumes, each for a different type of position in your field. You can create other documents, a portfolio, if you wish, which contains more detailed information. You can also create links on your resume to pages on a website where you give detailed information and showcase your skills. Remember, most employers and recruiters are connected to the internet.

To accurately answer this question, I would need to know your specifics. You should schedule a consultation session.

I can do a couple of different things, how do I show that on a resume?

I answered this question in how the maximum length of a resume. Your resume, as a general rule, should focus on one skillset but can indicate that you have expertise in a broader range of skills. If warranted at the interview, you can then start talking about the other skills. You can also mention the other skills to a recruiter and if warranted give him your other resume.

Employers, who have a need, want that need answered and want to know that they have the best. Yes, there are positions, where a broad skillset is important. I have had jobs, where that was the case, but usually employers want you to push a button and push a button well.

I would need to know your specific situation to better answer your question. The area of your skillset, the type of position, where you live, and a host of other factors make answering this question accurately for every case impossible.

What do I put on a resume, when I just finished school?

First off, university career placement centers are notorious for having the worst resume and career advice in the industry. I learnt this lesson the hard way. I graduated from UCLA and went to the career placement center to do help create my resume and start my career. It took quite a while to find my first job. Part of the problem was the recession at the time. (Is there never a time here in the United States, when there is no downturn of some kind?), but the vast, vast majority of the problem was my resume. My first manager called me into his office one day and told me frankly that my resume was by far the worst that he and ever seen. Thankfully, he sat down with me and explained things. He was like a mentor.

You should put your education, but employers will want to see some sort of experience in the field. There is nothing wrong with starting off, but that does not mean that you cannot do an internship, go on Craig’s List and make some sort of deal (reduced rate for experience) or other things. I would have to know your specifics.

Creating a portfolio, both hard copy and digital is a must. Showing that you know how to use computers and the internet effectively will help. Prove that you can do the job. Research the different requirements for a job that you want, and start creating ways to address the experience and then apply that to your resume package. Your specific situation does matter, so set up a career coach session. Your resume can still shine. Employers will know that you just graduated. You just have to show that you are serious and that you want the job. Persistence pays off.

I want to change career paths, what do I do on my resume?

You do need to address your past, but you would tone your past down and build up your new skillset. Since you are experienced, you already know what it means to work in a work environment, so that much is already done. Be honest. Try to get experience of some sort. Try to draw on your existing work experience and see if you did the new skillset to any degree in your previous job. You could highlight that.

I would need to know your specifics to answer this question more accurately. Please schedule a career coaching consultation session.


Information presented on this site is to give possible answers to your question, however each situation is different. Also, Sarah is not an attorney. Each locality has different rules and regulations, which may apply. If you have any legal questions, please consult an attorney. The information here is for informational purposes only.

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