Resume FAQs

How many pages should a resume be?

One page is ideal but no more than two pages.

 Do longer resumes command more attention?

No. In fact, they often get overlooked. Recruiters are busy people and they don’t have time to peruse through long and detailed resumes.

 How far back (many years) should I go with previous employers?

This is a tough one to answer because there is no magic number that works for everyone. If you have worked at so many jobs that it takes more than 2 pages to list them, then drop the oldest ones off the bottom. On the other hand, if you had the same job for 30 years, then it is difficult to ignore employment you may have had before the current job. If you feel there were valuable skills learned in earlier jobs that were not apparent in more recent jobs, then consider avoiding the years question entirely and use a functional resume instead. This will place the focus on your acquired skills rather than the length of your employment. If you insist on using a chronological resume, then just shorten it to one page and leave everything off that won’t fit on the page. Keep in mind that employers place more weight on the more recently acquired skills so jobs held over 10 or 15 years ago aren’t going to become a major factor in the hiring decision unless those particular skills are very hard to find in the current job market.

 Should I print the word Resume at the top?

No. This appears on some foreign resumes but never on resumes in the US and Canada.

 Should I give my current work phone number?

Only if your boss already knows you are leaving the company. There are no guarantees of privacy within the walls of a company or when using company property.

 Should I give my home email address?

Yes. But make sure it is still active by testing it regularly.

Should I give my work email address?

Only if your boss already knows you are leaving the company. There are no guarantees of privacy within the walls of a company or when using company property.

 Should I give my personal web site address?

This is probably not a good idea unless it is specifically related to the job. And you never know, your potential employer may see something there that offends him or her even if you think it is harmless.

 Should I list references on my resume?

No. Place them on a separate piece of paper with your name and address on the top. Submit only when requested.

 Should I give the name of my present employer if I don’t want them to call him?

This is a tough call. You may not have much choice in the matter. If you leave it out, they will probably think you are hiding something. Most employers will respect your wishes if you indicate to them that you don’t want them to call your current employer. You should decide this on a case-by-case basis.

 Should I write on my resume not to call my current employer?

No. Transmit this information verbally or by email.

 Should I include volunteer work?

Yes. Emphasize skills that you learned doing volunteer work that will help you in your employment. For instance, running a church function can bring to light skills in organizing, meeting deadlines, working within a budget, people skills, advertising, etc., all valuable skills in the commercial sector.

Should I include any personal information such as hobbies and other interests?

Only if your hobbies and other interests are job related. For instance, if you grow competition roses and have the awards to prove it, an employer might be impressed with your organizational skills, attention to detail, and your ability to meet deadlines.

 Can I use fancy type or pictures on my resume?

Not a good idea unless you are applying for a job as a creative designer. Employers are focused on two things, education and experience. Anything that detracts from your basic message is going to be viewed as a negative.