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4 Top Questions About Resume Writing Answered

There is nothing more confusing than to do something you don’t quite understand and expect great outcome at the same time. Surprisingly enough, that’s what most job seekers do when they try to get their work experience and education together on one or two page document. The thing is that resumes and CVs have evolved quite a bit and today employers expect candidates to submit documents in a format that will help HR managers make the decision quicker. In other words, the requirements have changed, thus placing greater responsibility on job seekers when they work on their resumes. In this article we have gathered some of the most common resume writing questions that we receive at Prime-Resume. Obviously, the list is not comprehensive but if you are struggling to write your main marketing document, there is a good chance that here you will come across some answers that will help you succeed.

Should I Write a Generic Resume or Tailor It For a Specific Job?

Working on a resume on a laptopThe fact that you are asking this kind of question means you are thinking in the right direction. For decades, job seekers never bothered tailoring their resumes for each and every job opening. They would just spend 1 or 2 hours to develop a generic resume to be submitted for job openings hoping that quantity will convert to interview offers somehow. But the hiring process has changed and now this kind of strategy will bring you nowhere. Companies hire people for specific positions. You may have noticed that every job advertisement usually contains the requirements and job description – these sections are there to inform you of employer’s needs and wants. Choosing to ignore what employers need is never a good idea no matter how good you look on your generic resume, the result will not be different than 0 interviews.

Because resume writing today is all about what employers are after, tailoring your main marketing document for every position is essential. Those responsible for making hiring decisions need to know that the candidate whom they are going to invite for an interview is qualified to do the specific job. Therefore, don’t waste your time on creating documents that most likely will end up in the discard pile. Focus your efforts on one job at a time making sure that your resume is effectively addresses the needs of the company you are applying to. While it may seem like you will spend much more time on doing this, you will also find this approach much more efficient.

Is ATS a Real Thing?

ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System (Software) which helps employers select applicants’ resumes that are worth reviewing. Basically, in order to save time for HR employees, companies now have this software application to assist with handling recruitment needs. In most cases, companies use ATS to filter job applications based on different criteria (usually, skills, former employers, keywords or years of experience). So when you submit your resume, Applicant Tracking System will scan and analyze the document based on the entered criteria and only if your document has whatever employer is looking for, it will be available for hiring managers to review.

You may be surprised to know that about 70% of recruiters use an applicant tracking system (and about 90% of them say that it has simplified and improved their hiring process). With that being said, we can expect that more and more companies will be using ATS for their recruitment needs in future. So yes, it is a real thing to the extent that it has become an important player in the job search process. Those who take their job search seriously should take into account how ATS works and incorporate the respective strategy into your resume writing. Adapting resume optimization techniques when formatting a resume is now one of the important steps in creating a powerful job application.

What to Include and What to Leave Out?

While listing all of your work experience and skills on a resume seems like a great idea (to give your prospective employer a better perspective of who you are), sometimes it is better to leave some things out. It is especially true for those who have 15 or more years of experience and a comprehensive list of qualifications. The thing is that hiring authorities don’t have time to actually read your resume; all they do is skim through the document quickly (usually spending no more than 8-10 seconds per resume). This means that you should be very selective as to what information should be included. More content means more time needed to find needed information (and remember that HRs will not spend extra time on you just because you think you are good enough).

frustrated job seeker doesn't know what to include on a resumeWhen you consider your employment history, educational credentials, and other qualifications, try to put yourself into the employer’s shoes. In other words, ask yourself what kind of information you would be interested in if you were the one to make hiring decisions. Would you need all of the information about the applicant or only that which will help you make the decision?

Think of this analogy: you are going to a book store to buy an English-Spanish dictionary because you are going to Spain soon. When you come in, all you are going to look for is an English-Spanish dictionary because essentially that’s the one thing you need at the moment. Yes, there can be plenty of great books and other dictionaries in the store but you are there to buy the one you need. The sales associate can offer you other nice books but that would not be relevant to your needs. The same principle applies to job search. When the employer needs a candidate with experience and skills in mechanical engineering, the hiring authorities will be evaluating candidates based on whether they meet or don’t meet the requirements. Job candidates can have great customer service skills but that would not be relevant to the specific job (which means you have got no chance if basic requirements were not met). Therefore, when you are writing your resume, make sure the content is relevant to the needs of the particular employer. The more of the irrelevant information you have on the document, the more chances that employers will not be able to quickly find the relevant facts.

Which Resume Format To Use?

There are three basic formats that can be used: reverse-chronological, functional, and mixed. In most cases, reverse-chronological is the one you should go with. This format is expected by employers as it helps them quickly locate needed information on your resume. Sometimes, job seekers want to hide their employment gaps and choose a functional format but such move doesn’t make the employers excited. They prefer to see the list of your past employers in a reverse-chronological format (starting with your most recent ones). So we believe it is much safer to go with a reverse-chronological format.

Sometimes, one can use a mixed format (particularly, when he/she needs to focus on particular skills and accomplishments). In this case, one could list accomplishments and duties categorizing them under different sub-headers in the career highlights section. After that we would recommend to include the employment history section where you can list all companies, employment dates, and titles without any additional information.

Resume Writing Assistance

We believe that it is important to have someone who can help you with your resume writing endeavors. There will be questions or issues you will come across and you will not know what to do next. For this purpose, it is always a good idea to find somebody who has more experience (hopefully, successful) in job search. Even if you don’t have anybody who can help you with resume writing, you should at least ask your friends or relatives to read the resume that you created. This will often bring up the mistakes you have missed as a writer; besides, it always helps to hear the outside insight.

If you want to hear out the expert opinion, you can always use our resume writing service to do that. Our experienced writers and editors who come from various HR settings will help you improve your resume and secure more interview offers. With Prime-Resume, you can choose to order a resume review service which will mean our professionals will analyze your resume highlighting the areas that need improvement. Or you can order a resume writing service if you don’t wish to engage yourself in this time-consuming process.

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