Job seekers with a wide range of previous experience often debate whether their resume should be one or two pages. This is an old discussion, but one the requires serious consideration for modern day job hunters. Both the one and two page resume have specific benefits and drawbacks. However, no matter which length you choose, what's most important is focusing on succinctly showcasing your professional skills and goals. Much of this decision is subjective. With that said, a two page resume should never be used just for the sake of length. If you're stuck with a page and a half of job experience and wondering which way to go, here is a basic guide to a one and two page resume:
A one page resume is the standard. Both recruiters and hiring managers are dealing with a larger volume of applicants than ever before, especially since so many application systems allow job seekers to submit documents online. With that said, people in these positions are key to getting you an interview, and since they have so many applicants to sift through, many of them will value a concise resume. Furthermore, if you can highlight skills relevant to the position in this amount of space it will help you quickly attract their attention.
If your resume just barely sprawls onto the second page, consider tweaking it to bring it down to one. If nothing else, this option is much more aesthetically pleasing. There are simple formatting tricks you can use such as changing the font size or adjusting the margins. However, also ask yourself what content on your resume could easily be eliminated. Is there anything on there that seems superfluous? If so it might simply be a matter of trimming the fat to bring your resume down to a more traditional single page layout.
For most young job seekers, one page should be more than enough to suffice. When you're just entering your career, odds are you won't have enough professional experience to warrant two pages. Even if you have a significant amount of academic honors and extracurricular activities, consider if they're relevant to the positions for which you are applying before loading your resume up with them.
A two page resume is generally used for job seekers that have more professional experience and need the space to list all of it. Although, a two page resume has become more popular in the digital age. Computer programs that search resumes for keywords often will rank documents based on the frequency of keywords, and this can lead to a two page resume being ranked higher if these terms are prevalent throughout it. Moreover, since resumes submitted online – assuming they are not printed out – don't require a recruiter or hiring manager to flip the page, these documents have become somewhat more digestible.
On the other hand, a recruiter may look at a two page resume and lose interest due to the length. In these situations, it's possible that the person scanning your resume entirely missed a section that may have earned you an interview.
What's of the utmost importance is making sure all the information on your resume is relevant and up-to-date. If your resume is two pages because it is filled with outdated positions and unrelated roles, it will do little to benefit your standing with recruiters and employers. When you create, edit and update your resume, remember to consider the document from the perspective of the reader. Whether one pages or two, your resume should be appealing to those looking to hire you.
When you're filling out job applications, most of the sections are self-explanatory. There will likely be a page for your resume and cover letter, a section for education and one in which to list your contact information. But near the end of many job applications, there is a section usually labeled 'additional information' or 'further information,' that can be a bit more confusing. What goes in this vaguely titled section of your job application? That's a million dollar question. In some situations, there might be no need to put anything in this section, especially if you extensively filled out the rest of the application. However, this portion of the application is also a great place to make some clarifications about your employment history, include experiences that may not fit into any other section of your application or show of your writing skills. Here are four parts of your professional history that can be listed in the additional information section of your job application:
Relevant unlisted employment
Many online job applications only provide space to list three to five previous job titles. While this amount of space should be more than enough to showcase your past professional roles, if you run out of room other past positions can be listed in the additional information section. However, try to keep them relevant to the job for which you are applying. Ask yourself whether listing certain roles will add any substance to your application.
Volunteer work and achievements
Though it may be tempting to list volunteer work in other parts of your application – and may already be included briefly on your resume – the additional info portion of your application is a good place to highlight these experiences. Volunteer work often relates to your industry, and may have provided you with professional experiences different from your day job. This space is also suitable for adding awards or honors which could not be easily placed in the rest of your application.
Explanations of potentially negative information
When you're listing previous positions, many applications prompt you to answer why you left the position. In some cases you may have been laid off or fired, and this requires some explanation. Without elaboration, being terminated from a job can potentially have a negative connotation. Rather than waiting for an interview to explain it, summarize this experience in the additional information of your application to give hiring managers insight into your past. In many cases, quitting or being fired from a job is due to factors outside of your control. Employers understand that, but without explanation, there's no way for them to know.
Additional job-related information
Sometimes your cover letter and resume simply don't provide enough space for you to talk about why you're perfect for a position. Since job descriptions often have a list of bullet-points for desired qualities, the additional info section of your application provides a platform for you to address these desires directly. Use this space to further delve into how you meet these qualifications.
Any job that necessitates writing on a regular basis may have a portion of the application specifically for a writing sample. However, if no such section exists, the additional info portion is the place to demonstrate your writing skills. Consider including a sample that highlights something you would write in the course of your day if you were accepted for the position. If the job requires you to email customers once a week, an example of such a document will showcase your ability to take on the responsibility.
Although you may have a refined resume and an articulate cover letter, a career portfolio can potentially make all the difference when you're on the job hunt. While a resume provides a concise work history and a cover letter serves as a statement of purpose, a portfolio fills in all the gaps and provides tangible work samples. Essentially, consider a portfolio a more holistic look at your professional experiences. For employers, a professionally compiled portfolio not only demonstrates ambition and initiative, it also provides them with a broader spectrum of resources when considering you for a position.
However, a portfolio can be challenging for many young job seekers to put together. It's hard to know what content to include, especially when you're still at the beginning of your career. Don't let this deter you from showcasing your work though. Create a portfolio to stand out from the crowd. Here's a basic guide to professional career portfolios:
What exactly is a portfolio?
Portfolios have long been used in creative industries such as journalism, architecture, fashion, graphic design and photography. In these professions, workers generally use past projects to demonstrate their abilities to potentially new employers. Today, portfolios have become common across many professions. Since the job market has become more competitive and the Internet allows hundreds of job seekers to apply for a specific position every day, strong portfolios can be used to easily identify quality candidates.
Though a portfolio is not the same as a resume or cover letter, it can include both of these items. What a portfolio really brings to the table is evidence of your professional accomplishments. Whereas a resume might state past job responsibilities, a portfolio will tangibly demonstrate these skills. For example, your resume could mention that you were an editor for your school or university newspaper, but a portfolio will include articles you wrote or edited while active in that position. Overall, a portfolio – whether digital or on paper – highlights your achievements, work contributions, capabilities and general knowledge in a way a resume and cover letter cannot.
What should a portfolio include?
A quality portfolio is meticulously organized and often includes the following elements:
Your portfolio should have consistent styling throughout its entirety. Pay attention to aspects such as font type and size, organization structure, and that your information is up-to-date. Regularly edit your portfolio to ensure employers are viewing your contemporary skills and accomplishments.
Why a portfolio?
Simply put, a portfolio will leave a lasting impression on employers and hiring managers. However, there are a number of other reasons this document is so important. A portfolio is an invaluable resource when you're interviewing, because it helps prepare you to discuss your work experiences. Furthermore, when an interviewer asks you about past job roles, you'll have evidence on hand to show them what you've accomplished before. With your portfolio as a reference point, you'll be able to clearly communicate what you have achieved. This makes the interview process less stressful and gives you a jumping off point for answering tough questions.
Moreover, a portfolio serves as a living document for your career accomplishments. It can be continually added to so that any time you're looking to move on to a new opportunity, you have a reference guide to use during your search.
To say technology has altered the way we hunt and apply for jobs would be a vast understatement. This is equally true for employers trying to filter through an expanding pool of candidates across a variety of Internet forums and mobile media. New position openings can receive hundreds of applications online within hours, making it increasingly difficult for potential employees to stand out and get an interview. How do you prove yourself amongst such a large pool? Getting an interview has to go well beyond simply submitting a resume and waiting for a phone call. Employers are now looking for demonstrated abilities and skills that exhibit consistent professionalism across a hodgepodge of platforms. So don't just send your generic resume to the virtual stack and hope for the best. Here are five ways to enhance your resume:
1. Cater to the job
While it's imperative to have a standard resume to use as a starting point, you should not send the same document to every employer. Individualize the content in your resume to align with the job functions for each position to which you apply. This can be done by using keywords found in the job description, highlighting relevant experience and following specific formatting requests.
2. Have additional materials available
If a hiring manager likes your resume, he or she may ask for additional materials, such as a writing sample, portfolio or references. Many applications request these materials from the get go. Have materials edited and prepared for when an employer comes knocking. For example, preparing a resume with visual components to complement your paper resume might come in handy when applying for a job in graphic design.
3. Showcase relevant skills
This tip sounds like a no-brainer, but it requires careful consideration. For example, when applying for a job as a social media manager, demonstrate deft, professional and consistent use of social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Proving that you can create quality content and garner followers across these platforms will likely help land the job.
4. Highlight accomplishments
More and more hiring managers are looking for evidence of proven skills and deliverable products. While it's important to list major job responsibilities, employers want to know that you are capable of producing results. Therefore, listing accomplishments demonstrates the ability to finish projects and achieve specific results
5. Be unconventional
Don't be afraid to think outside the box, but make sure it's done in a way that is meaningful and demonstrates initiative. Also, always consider the general disposition of the company. Whereas a young startup design firm might love an infographic resume, an established law firm will probably respond to something more traditional.
Job hunting can be extremely time consuming and exhausting, so it's exciting when your dream employer calls you up and asks you to come in for an interview. However, when you sit down to talk turkey you want to be prepared. Interviewing can be a nerve-wracking experience. Here are some tips to help you perform your best:
Maintain a professional appearance
It's important to show up to an interview looking your best. Take the time to go get a haircut, iron your shirt and slip into professional attire. If you're worried you might be dressed too casually, you probably are. Taking the time to present yourself professionally highlights a time investment in the position for which you're interviewing. It also demonstrates that you respect the interviewer and the company.After all, you can never be too overdressed.
Do your research
Employers want to see that you've taken the time to learn about what the company does and what responsibilities the specific position entails. One of the best resources is the company's website. Browse the site to learn more about the history of the company, past projects and recent developments. If possible, know the names of the person or people interviewing you before you arrive. Also, learn the language of the job description. Go into the interview with a full understanding of what you would be working on if you were hired. This will also give you the ability to utilize keywords from the job description that are pertinent to the position.
Have answers prepared for the usual questions
According to Glassdoor, the two most common interview questions are "what are your strengths?" and "what are your weaknesses?". Having answers prepared for these types of general questions will help you sound cohesive and confident when answering. No one wants to admit their weaknesses, but finding methods to tactfully answer the question looks better than trying to avoid it.
Considering how much time you could potentially be spending with the company, you should have inquiries about the position and the company as a whole. Write down several questions that are relevant to the position. Most interviewers leave time for the interviewee to ask questions at the end. Be prepared to fill this time and discuss any aspects of the position you need clarified.
Say thank you
Make sure to thank the people interviewing you before you leave. After word, send thank you notes as soon as possible. Follow ups can be sent by email or handwritten. Highlight key points of the interview and express gratitude for the opportunity.
Applying for your first job can seem like an alien task. Sure, you've had experience mowing the lawn and doing chores around the house, or maybe you used to babysit for a neighbor. But getting a full time gig is a more formal process. Most businesses have run the gamut when it comes to applicants, so you have to find ways to separate yourself from the stack sitting on the hiring manager's desk. "How do I do that?" you ask. Here are some tips for walking into a business to fill out an application:
Know what time is good to apply
Say there's a great Italian restaurant down the street where you'd like to work as a server during weekends. It's probably a huge red flag when you go in and ask for an application in the middle of their lunch or dinner rush. Find down time when you can go in and fill out an application without being a nuisance. This will also give you the opportunity to speak with a manager. Having face-to-face time with the person potentially hiring you will help make your application stand out.
Dress to impress
Sure you're just filling out an application, but you should dress professionally to show that you want the job. A first impression lasts, and frankly, appearance matters. Don't worry about being overdressed, because it's essentially an impossibility. (No tuxedos though!)
Fill out the entire application
Don't leave blank spaces on your application. Remember, this is your chance to shine. Read the instructions carefully and follow formatting requests. Don't try to embellish your experiences – instead, answer each question thoughtfully and honestly. It's better to put down a realistic, simple job title than trump it up to sound fancy. Avoid vague answers by focusing on concrete experience and affirmative responses. It's better to say no than to seem wishy-washy, and most employers will see answers like "ask at interview" as way of dodging the question. If a question is not relevant to you, fill in the answer space with "not applicable" or "N/A."
Keep the application clean
Don't just crumble up the application in your backpack and fill it out at home while you're eating. Applications that are wrinkled, folded or have stains on them look unprofessional. If you don't have time to fill out each application at the job location, have a binder ready to keep them organized and prevent them from losing that crisp look.
Have you been working your butt off applying for jobs? When you finally get a job offer, you might be tempted to accept the terms, no questions. However, you shouldn't just sign a contract out of pure elation. Consider what the position offers in relation to your career, and, of course, how much the job pays. You shouldn't go into a position feeling undervalued, but asking for more money can be nerve-wracking. No big deal though – you can do it! The most important thing you can do is to go into a negotiation with proof of why you deserve more cash.
You will have to be able to articulate your worth. Doing so requires a little rehearsal. If the thought of negotiating your pay rate makes your stomach churn, take a look at these tips to go in feeling confident and composed:
Consider how the company is performing
If the company hiring you is bringing in high profit margins and has seen a significant amount of recent success, it's probably a good time to ask for a higher salary or hourly rate than outlined in the initial offer. Furthermore, think about how the industry you work in is doing as a whole. If you got an offer from a boutique doughnut shop, and the New York Times recently wrote an article about the new doughnut craze, odds are you're working at a business that will thrive in the near future. However, if the chips are down and the company is bleeding, asking for a more money might just put you on the boss's bad side.
Do your research
Go in knowing the average hourly rate or salary of a person in your position. Have numbers ready so you can show your new boss what other employees in a similar position are making. You should be able to discuss industry norms with ease. Remember not to make demands – negotiating is a conversation.
Be prepared for your boss to say no
If you talk to your new boss about your salary and he or she tells you no, remember that the conversation doesn't end there. Be prepared to negotiate by asking questions and receiving feedback the longer you're with the company. Inquire as to how you can improve once you start working to get a raise in the future. Keep the tone professional and remember that demands and confrontation will often get you nowhere. Negotiating an increase in your pay offer can take time – be ready to make it a continuing conversation once you've begun working.
So you've been filling out dozens of job applications online? That's not necessarily a bad thing, but remember that sending out resumes willy-nilly is likely to get you nowhere fast. The fact is, employers often receive hundreds of applications for an open position, and your resume might only take up 20-30 seconds of their time. Even worse, many key hiring managers won't even actually see your application – looking over applications is often a task doled out to the human resources department or even interns. This means that your resume and cover letter may never end up in the hands of the person that has the ultimate say on who's getting hired. So rather than simply click "send" on dozens of job applications, seek out the positions you truly desire, and then find a way to get your resume in front of the people who matter. One simple way to do this is to follow up. However, this doesn't mean you need to pester people at the company until they pay attention to you either. You want to be persistent, but not overbearing. Here's an easy guide to following up with potential employers respectfully:
Following up on a job application
Following up on a job application is rather simple. The first step is to be patient. You can't expect employers to get back to you the same day you sent in your resume and cover letter. Wait a week or two and see if you get a phone call or email about the next steps. If you don't hear anything, then it's OK to follow up, but do some appropriately. If you've already spoken with someone directly about the position, following up might make you appear too eager. Hiring can take time.
However, if you applied for the job blindly and have yet to hear anything, simply send a short, polite email. All you need to do is inquire about the position courteously, express your continued interest and leave it at that. Make sure you are aware of whom you are addressing, and not sending an email to a random inbox where it will get overlooked or make you seem out of the loop. LinkedIn is also considered an appropriate avenue for following up, but only do so if you are already connected to someone in the company doing the hiring.
Following up on an interview
It's strategic to discuss the expected timeline for employment near the end of an interview. Essentially, at this point you and the company have both invested time in each other, and you are entitled to have an idea of how things are expected to move forward. Confirming at least an estimated timeline will allow you to gauge when you should expect to hear from an employer about the position. That way, if you have not heard by the previously discussed time, you can email or call the company to check in on your status without appearing antsy or rude. At this point you are allowed to be a bit more persistent because the employer has already expressed significant interest in you for the position.
Directly following an interview it is also a good idea to send a thank-you note. Many people swear by handwritten thank-you notes, but an email will usually suffice as well. In the email thank the person for taking the time to meet with you. Show initiative by highlighting particular points of interest you discussed during the interview and re-express enthusiasm about the position.
If you've been job hunting for months and still struggling to get your foot in the door, it may be time to revamp your search efforts. The same idea applies if you've been working at a job for months that you find unfulfilling. While job hunting can be physically and emotionally taxing, as well as very time consuming, falling into a routine might only slow down your potential progress. That is to say, sending out uniform resumes can easily become the equivalent of beating your head into a brick wall. Instead, reinvigorate your hunt with a new approach. Here are four tips for revamping your job search:
Identify what's not working
If you have a surefire system that you've been using for months, but no one has called you back for an interview, the simple reality is something isn't working. Whether it's the way you've structured your resume or how you are addressing your cover letters, something is deterring you from finding a new job. It's important that you constantly update and rework your resume and portfolio to make it contemporary and relevant. Moreover, if the way you're applying to jobs and networking are proving unfruitful, it's imperative that you acknowledge it's time to make a change. This can be difficult for many job seekers, especially considering how easy it is to fall behind excuses. However, if you've grown comfortable in your job search, that might be a big sign that it's necessary to alter it.
Learn about other jobs
If you went to school in hopes of attaining a specific job role, it might be hard to convince yourself to expand your search. But you never know when another position might be right up your alley. Talk to friends and acquaintances about their careers and learn as much as you can about other job roles in your industry or a related one. There might be opportunities out there for which you're a perfect fit that you've never considered. There might simply not be many jobs in the field that you are applying, and in that case, it's important to be able to refocus on what's available.
Consider your dream job
Don't sell yourself short. It's easy to make compromises when you're job hunting in order to get to work. However, if you're taking a job just for the sake of having one, remember that it might not be the best fit for you in the long-term. It's important to consider what the job of your dreams would be and then take into account what qualities, challenges and perks that position holds. That way you can move throughout your career working toward that ultimate goal, rather than getting caught in a slump of bouncing from one job to the next.
If the classic application process is proving ineffective it might be time to consider creative alternatives. Find unique and interesting means of contacting potential employers and setting up an interview. This might mean taking a different approach than simply sending a resume and cover letter. One great way to do this is by demonstrating what you could bring to a company by sending them work examples or a plan of action. Once an employer sees what your are capable of accomplishing, they'll be more apt to hire you.
Throughout your entire job search, it's most important not to get stuck in a rut or lose energy. If you allow yourself to stagnate, odds are the quality of your applications will suffer and employers will take notice. Remain positive and constantly revamp your job search to keep things fresh.
It's common knowledge that networking is extremely important to your job hunt, but are you making easily avoidable networking gaffs? Though the concept of networking is relatively simple, there are a number of ways to not execute your social skills well in practice. Simply put, people are different professionally and socially, and it can make the process of expanding your career network complicated. Not everyone is good at working a room and making connections. On the other hand, others are great at meeting lots of people, but are forgetful, inattentive or rude. However, there are common guidelines that can help you connect with people during your job search. Here are four mistakes to avoid when networking:
Not using the Internet
It's imperative to meet people in person at job fairs and other professional social gatherings, but the Internet is a necessary way to stay in contact with a vast network of people in your industry. Social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all great platforms for connecting with people. If you're not consistently active across multiple online avenues then you can potentially miss out on job opportunities or fall out of touch with associates and hiring managers.
Only thinking about yourself
Don't go into a networking situation with a selfish mindset. Remember that people want to connect with you for the same reasons you want to connect with them. Create a two-way street, and don't forget to share opportunities and pay it forward when someone helps you land an interview or pushes your resume to the top of the pile.
Forgetting to say thank you
If someone takes the time to help you out, make sure you properly thank them. This can be done with a handwritten letter or a kindly-worded email. The main idea is to emphasize your gratitude, because they took time out of their busy schedule to help you get ahead by connecting you with others.
Not following up
Always follow up with new connections. While you might meet dozens of people during a networking event, it's important to send quick emails or connect on LinkedIn the next day to stay in touch. If you promise to send someone your resume or portfolio, don't blow it off. Make sure you send them those materials as soon as possible to demonstrate your professionalism and initiative. You never know what it may lead to.