Jul 16

3 Questions Every Resume Should Answer

Employers can take as few as 10 seconds to review a resume. This is a lot of pressure to put on one document, considering nearly 98 percent of them are eliminated during the initial screening process.

But as daunting as this may sound, job seekers can simplify things by keeping these three questions in mind:

Who are you?

A resume is for the employer. It’s a first impression, providing them with a snapshot of who you are during the initial step toward securing a new job.

So, one of the core sections on your resume should be a header. This header should answer the question of who you are and provide the following:

  • Your name, boldfaced in a 14 – 20 pt. font
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
    • If not your UNCG address, make sure it is professional, easy to read, and appropriate
  • Address/location
    • City and state are mandatory, but the full address is not required if you feel uncomfortable

What have you learned?

The education section is another vital part of a job seeker’s resume. It should:

  • List the full name of your higher education institution(s)
    • With city and state location
    • UNC Greensboro should be listed exactly (if there are multiples, list in reverse chronological order with the most recent at the top)
    • Include the (anticipated) graduation month and year

What have you done?

Think about all of the jobs you’ve had in the past. Write down literally anything and everything that comes to mind about your experiences, no matter how insignificant you think it may be. The idea here is your pen should never leave the paper.

Haven’t had many jobs? Not a problem. Have you done athletics, volunteer work, student organizations, group projects, or more? Write down your experiences with those.

Here are some questions to think about during this process:

  • What was your title? Who did you work for?
  • What were your responsibilities?
  • What were your strengths in that position?
  • What were your achievements? How did you accomplish them?
  • How did your role change over time? Were you promoted, and if so, why?

Then, collect and rank your thoughts for each job based on the order of importance, and arrange them into bullet point form. Be sure to keep in mind what you want to highlight, what will make you the most attractive candidate, and what aligns best with the kind of jobs you want in the future. This is your experience section. 

 For each experience you have, be sure to include:

  • Job titles
    • Multiple entries should be in reverse chronological order by start date
  • Company name and locations
  • Starting month/year to ending month/year
    • Use “present” if the position is current
  • Bullet points to describe aspects of the role, focusing on accomplishments and skills over tasks.

Keep action verbs in mind when writing out these bullet points. What do employers want to see? Well, among other things, they want to see problem-solving skills, an ability to work in a team, communication skills, leadership, and a strong work ethic.

This section should not list interests, hobbies, or interesting facts. These kinds of personal details can be saved for the interview.

BONUS: Formatting

In addition to telling an employer who you are, what you’ve learned, and what you’ve done, your resume should be legible. It should be easy to digest. Remember that part about employers taking roughly 10 seconds to review a resume? This is where formatting can really help.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Your resume should be no longer than one page total
    • Many large employers will only scan the top half of your resume
  • Spacing and bullets should be consistent
  • Font style should be clean and easy to read
    • 14-20 pt. font for your name in the header, 10-12 pt. font elsewhere
    • Uniform margin sizes
  • No spelling or grammatical errors
  • No overly fancy designs
  • Do not include personal information or a photo of yourself
  • Do not put “References available upon request” at the end
  • Your resume should be sent/uploaded as a PDF

Last but not least, be honest. Don’t embellish prior responsibilities or accomplishments, but don’t sell yourself short. Ask supervisors or colleagues what they would say about you.