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Questions About Resumes: The Complete Guide

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Resumes are a crucial part of any job interview. That’s why candidates spend hours trying to perfect the document.

However, sometimes it can be difficult to know what employers are looking for. So, if you have questions about resumes, we’ve got you covered.

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about CVs. We’ll also cover how to spruce the document up to make sure it stands out.

Why Are Resumes Important?

If you’re applying for a new job, chances are you have to write out a resume. This can be a little tricky when you don’t know why the document is important.

So, to make your life easier, let’s take a look at the role they play in a job search.

For starters, resumes can pique the interest of potential employers. The CV will highlight your accomplishments to paint you in the best light possible.

Resumes also make it easier for an interviewer to decide if you’re the right fit for a position.

In addition, the documents will summarize all your previous experiences. That will show if your skills are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Finally, resumes are an excellent ice-breaker. They’re a great way to start a conversation with an interviewer.

This can turn a nerve-racking situation into a pleasant experience.

Questions About Resume Writing

Now that you know some resume basics, let’s take a look at some of the most common questions about the document.

What’s the Difference Between a Resume and a CV Document?

Many people wonder about the difference between resumes and CVs. The main distinction is the length.

Typically, CVs are a full history of your academic and professional achievements. This will detail your life, starting from high school all the way to the present.

As for resumes, they tend to be far more concise. The document will only state the highlights of your accomplishments.

Even though there is a difference, people in the US use the terms CV and resume interchangeably.

Can a Resume Be More Than One Page?

When writing a resume, most people will try to get to the point and ensure the document is short. Although, this isn’t always necessary.

In fact, some studies suggest that a longer resume has a better chance of standing out. However, that doesn’t mean it needs to be excessively lengthy.

Ideally, about one and a half or two pages should do the trick.

What Is the Best Resume Format?

There are quite a few resume formats you can download online. The type you choose will depend on your work history.

Some of the most common resume format examples include:

  • Chronological
  • Functional
  • Combination

The chronological variety is a list of all your experiences in the order in which they occurred. This will give you a timeline of your professional life.

It’s best to use this type if you have a consistent work history.

Moving on, the functional variety lists all of your skills in descending order. That means that your strengths will be at the top of the document, while your weaknesses are at the bottom.

This format will come in handy if you have large gaps in your employment records.

Finally, a combination resume will join the two previous formats together. You’ll list both your experiences and skills in chronological order.

People prefer this variety when attempting career shifts.

Should You Include Volunteer Experience on Your Resume?

Volunteer work shows that you care about society and that you’re compassionate. For these reasons, it’s almost always a good idea to talk about philanthropy in a resume.

Although, you should only include experiences relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Do You Include Personal Information on Your Resume?

As we mentioned, resumes are a list of all your professional experiences. Due to that, there isn’t much room in the document for personal information.

So, adding details like social security number or marital status isn’t a good idea. 

On top of that, including anecdotal data can hurt your chances of getting a job. This is because personal information can create a bias in the hiring process.

That’s why it’s illegal for many employers to ask applicants for personal details.

Should Your Resume Have a Photo?

Adding a photo to a resume can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it will humanize the applicant and help them stand out.

However, it can also lead to discrimination. For that reason, when in doubt, it’s better to leave out the picture.

What Should You Leave Off Your Resume?

Even though people think a fuller resume is better, that’s not always the case. More often than not, it’s good practice to only include relevant data.

That means there are a few talking points you should leave off the document. These include:

  • Irrelevant hobbies
  • Work experiences that are older than 15 years old
  • Unrelated soft skills

Removing these sections will streamline your resume and make it easier to read. That’ll boost your chances of impressing the hiring manager and landing the job.

What Are Resume Keywords?

Every employer will keep an eye out for a few specific keywords in a resume. These will change depending on the position you’re applying for.

Although, there are a couple of keywords that should be in every document. For starters, including the company name, will go a long way.

It’ll show the hiring manager that you’ve done your research and can jump straight into the job.

Other than that, make sure to mention the position title as written in the job description.

What File Type Should Your Resume Be?

Most job candidates will hand in their resumes in two formats. The first and most common is a Microsoft Word document or text file.

While this will get your point across, it allows other people to change the content of your resume.

That’s why it’s best to send the document as a PDF file. This way, you’ll ensure that the employer views it as you intended.

What Sections Need to Be Included on a Resume?

We’ve talked about what not to include in your resume, now we can move on to what has to be there.

If you’re wondering what’s listed on a resume, here are the most crucial sections to include:

  • Previous work experience
  • Skills and qualifications summary
  • Education
  • Your full name
  • References
  • Professional objectives

How Far Back Should Your Resume Go?

Employers are generally only interested in current experience. Sadly, that means you may have to remove a few talking points from your resume.

Any information older than 10 or 15 years won’t be of much use to the interviewer. So, removing them will help you streamline your document.

What Contact Information Should Be on a Resume?

After you hand in a resume, you want to ensure the employer can reach out to you. For that reason, you should include sufficient contact information.

Typically, that means adding a phone number and an email address. Both have to be active so that the applicant can check them regularly.

This will make it easier for the employer to schedule an interview with you later on.

What Kind of Licenses and Certifications Should Be on a Resume?

When writing a resume, you want to make sure that all the data on there is useful. Therefore, only include relevant licenses and certifications.

It can be a challenge to figure out what’s pertinent and what you can leave out. So, to make this process a little simpler, read the job description thoroughly.

There, the employer will include the exact qualifications they’re looking for.

Is It Bad to Have a Spelling or Grammar Mistake?

Spelling and grammatical errors are major issues when it comes to writing resumes. They leave the impression that the applicant doesn’t pay attention to the details.

That can be a deal-breaker for many companies.

One or two grammatical mistakes may not be a huge deal. However, any spelling errors can ruin a candidate’s chances of landing a position.

How Can You Make Your Resume Stand Out?

The easiest way to make your resume stand out is to understand what the hiring manager is looking for. This will allow you to tailor the document to the job.

You’ll be able to decide what information to include to improve your chances of getting an interview.

Other than that, you want to list your accomplishments, not your responsibilities. This may make for a shorter list, but it’ll pique the interest of the employer.  

What Are Some Questions Your Resume Should Answer?

When writing a resume, there are a few key questions that the document should answer. For starters, it must show that the applicant knows what the employer is after.

To do that, keep all the information relevant to the position.

Other than that, the resume should display your ability to perform certain tasks. You can achieve that by including previous work experience.

Great resumes also highlight your communication skills and commitment to a job.

Here are a few other common examples of what your resume should address:

  • Does this person have relevant experience and skills?
  • Has this person produced results in the past?
  • Is this person responsible and dependable?

These are just some of the common tips for a better resume.

What Questions Do Interviewers Ask About Resumes?

When you walk into an interview, chances are the first questions you’ll receive will be about your resume. That’s why it’s best to have a few replies ready to go.

Let’s dive into some of the most common resume interview questions.

Can You Explain the Gap in Your Resume?

With a sizable gap in your resume, you’ll most likely have to explain what you were doing during this time.

Ideally, your answer should be honest and brief. Although, if you’d like to keep the reply to yourself, then politely shift the conversation.

You can do that by acknowledging the break, then talking about why you’re the best candidate for the job.

Can You Clarify This Claim That Seems Exaggerated?

Sometimes during a meeting, an interviewer will ask you to prove a claim you made in your resume. When that happens, make sure to keep a cool head.

That’s when licenses and certificates come in handy. These should be enough to support your skills and attributes.

Other than that, gently direct the interviewer to your reference list. Then, point out which item backs up your experience.

Can You Clarify This Part of Your Experience That Seems Unclear?

When an interviewer asks this question, they’re trying to see how you perform a specific task. For that reason, answer with as many details as you can remember.

That includes your work environment and what you learned for the position.

Besides that, try to avoid mentioning your previous employers in a negative light. Doing so makes an applicant seem disloyal.

Do You Have a Certification Not Listed on Your Resume?

Interviewers will ask this question to gauge your interests. They want to see what other experiences you have that may make you a better candidate.

So, the answer to this question is quite simple. List any certificates you collected during your career, even if you don’t think they’re relevant.

However, don’t spend much time explaining them in detail unless the interviewer asks you to do so.

If you don’t have any certificates, then transition the conversation to a different topic.

For instance, you can say:

  • I listed all my certificates, but can I mention the volunteer work I do?
  • I don’t have other certificates, but I’m planning on taking a course that’ll improve certain skills.

Can You Accept the Position for a Certain Number of Years?

Most employers are looking for loyalty. They want to know that you’ll stick around with them for at least a while.

That’s why this question is pretty common.

The best replies suggest that you want to stay on for an extended period. For example, you can say:

  • I don’t have any immediate plans to move on.
  • I prefer working in an environment with continuity, where I can be part of a team.

These will make it clear that you want to work with the company for the foreseeable future.

Can You Provide More Details About Your Relevant Education?

Answering this question requires going into a bit of detail. You’ll want to list out the most important courses that you took during your time in school.

The interviewer may also ask which one of your subjects was your favorite. This will give them a better picture of how you’ll perform the job.

Can You Explain Why You Applied for This Job Even Though You’re Under/Over Qualified?

This is arguably one of the toughest questions people ask during an interview. Yet, there’s a simple answer.

Start by saying that you’ve been wanting to work with the company for a while. On top of that, add that the work environment seems friendly and inviting.

However, to pull this answer off, you’ll need to do plenty of research. Find all the available information on the company, and mention your favorite aspects.

Wrapping Up

To successfully apply for a job, you’ll need to be aware of a few questions about resumes.

For starters, you should have a clear idea of what to include in the document. Ideally, only talk about experience and skills that are relevant to the position.

Plus, it’s best to avoid adding personal data like pictures or marital status. These may lead to discrimination in some companies.

In addition, proofread the resume and correct spelling or grammatical errors. Besides that, be ready to answer all questions the employer may have about the document.

If you have any more questions about resumes, be sure to leave us a comment.

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