Find out the answers to the most common questions about resumes, cover letters, CVs, and more.
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Do I need a different resume for each job I apply for?
Yes. In most cases, tailoring your resume to the specific opportunity will allow you to highlight your most relevant experiences and skills and make the best sales pitch as an applicant. A professional-track position is going to have different focus than a general office resume, which will have a different focus than a resume for retail.
How long should my resume be?
A professional resume is between 1 and 2 pages and length will be determined by amount of applicable experience and professional standing. It's unlikely that many entry-level students with some work experience, but not much in the field, will have a resume longer than 1 page. The exception is a cirricula vita, see below.
What's a CV/cirriculum vitae/vita?
Cirriculum vitae go by many names. A CV is a comprehensive listing of experience, education, training, presentations, publications, and other relevant information. In the US, CVs are almost exclusively used in higher education applications for faculty and graduate school.
What order do I put information in?
Information on your resume should always be organized in reverse chronological order - most recent first - by the date that the experience ENDED.
Are pre-made templates a good idea?
We do not suggest using a resume template for your final resume. It can be different to reformat or change templates and may also hinder your ability to stand out when your resume looks like 20 other people's.
Is there a set of standards for the writing and design of resumes?
Firm rules include:
- Do not include a photo or picture on your resume. From a hiring perspective, photos can be a problem with HR and equal hiring rights and pictures can appear juvenile or unprofessional.
- Avoid using first-person pronouns (I/me/my). Instead, focus on using active verb sentances that begin with an active verb and describe your experiences.
- Fonts and styles must remain consistent - the format you use for a "header," such as Education, should be the same for all other headers, such as Experience.
Guidelines that may apply include:
- Fonts are generally between 10 and 12 pt and should be commonly-found on all computers.
- Margins can be between .5" and 1.25", they generally shouldn't be larger or smaller.
- Save your documents as PDF whenever possible when submitting electronically so that platform and software is not a problem.
- When printed, heavier paper in white or off-white is appropriate.
These suggestions are generally applicable, but always carefully read and follow the directions given in any job posting or announcement. When in doubt, always follow the requests made by the hiring company. These suggestions are generally applicable when applying for positions in the United States, but do not necessarily translate outside of the US.