Whether you’re a recent grad or a seasoned professional, the job application process can put you on edge. We’ve all heard the stories of recruiters tossing resumes in the (digital) garbage for the slightest infractions, and it can seem like there are hundreds of opportunities to land yourself in trouble. This list of answers to frequently asked questions is intended to be a quick reference guide – one that should help you to hit send with confidence. But keep in mind that it is by no means definitive. Everything about the job application process is up for debate, and what’s best in one situation might not work in another.
How long should a resume be?
The length of your resume will depend on your level of experience. There are no hard rules here, despite what some so-called experts might say. In most cases, one page will suffice. But, if you have a wealth of experience, or a list of technical skills that simply won’t fit on a single page, you can always add additional pages. What’s important is that everything you include is relevant to the position to which you’re applying. The more information you provide, the harder it can be for a recruiter to figure out who you are and what you can do for them, especially if your experience is diverse.
How should I send my resume by email?
If you are sending your resume to someone via email, you should include a cover letter. At a minimum, it should state why you’re writing, and what makes you qualified to do the job. Instead of attaching it, paste it right into the body of the email, and be sure to include any specific info requested by the job listing. Since it’s an email and not a letter, eliminate letterhead info such as your address, the recipient’s address, and the date. Start your email with a salutation such as “Dear Hiring Manager” or, better yet, the recipient’s name.
What subject line should I use when sending my resume by email?
Keep your subject line simple, unless you’re completely confident that something more creative will be well-received. Use the phrase “application for” followed by the name of the position. For example, if you’re applying for a marketing manager position, your subject line will read as follows: Application for marketing manager position.
What’s the best file format for my resume?
If you’re sending your resume by email or uploading it to applicant tracking systems, you’ll want to keep a PDF version of your resume on hand. With a PDF, fonts, formatting, and images display the same, regardless of what software or operating system the recipient is using. In other words, your resume will look the same to the hiring manager as it does to you; it won’t be corrupted in transit.
What filename should I use when saving my resume for inclusion in an application?
Again, the idea here is to keep things simple. Include your full name, the word “resume”, and maybe the date in your file name, but probably nothing more. Why? For one thing, the hiring manager may see the file name you use, so it’s important to be concise and professional. But it’s also easy to imagine a hiring manager downloading the top resumes they receive to a folder on their desktop. You want to make it easy to locate yours.
What font should I use for my resume?
There’s no right or wrong font for a resume, but the one that you choose should always be clear and easy to read. Common options include Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, or Lucida Sans. (There’s a reason that these fonts are all baked into most word processing software.)
When it comes to size, you’ll probably want to avoid anything smaller than 10 points and anything larger than 12 points, making exceptions for headlines where it makes sense.
Should I use a fancy resume template?
Do you work in a creative industry? If not, then you probably don’t need a fancy resume template. A clear, concise format is always a must. But colors, charts, and graphics are usually unnecessary frill. Choose substance over style.