You’ve gathered all your job history info and you’re about to write your resume. Then you realize you have some questions about how to write your statements and how to list items on your resume.
Lucky for you, others have had the same questions. Here are some of those questions that were sent to Yana Parker. Hopefully her answers will help you with writing a good resume.
Resume Question: Graduation Dates
Should people list on their resumes the dates they graduated from high school and/or college, or is it OK not to? And similarly, is it OK not to reveal one’s age on a resume?
Resume Question: Job Objective Statement
Our department here at Mohawk College uses your publications extensively and finds the information direct, straightforward and easy to follow. However, I generally advise my students to consider omitting their job objective on their resume, unless they’re very specific. This information is already in the cover letter and does not require repetition.
Otherwise, I find your resume samples to be of an excellent format.
It’s risky to assume that the cover letter is always going to stay attached to the resume. And even if it does, why omit stating a clear objective on the resume? The resume and the cover letter should agree, and support each other. It’s a repetition worth doing, in my opinion.
Thanks for your comment,
Resume Question: Writer’s Block
I just CAN’T write a resume! I am great at my job, but for me to express on paper what I have done and what I can do is next to impossible.
I am an automated lighting programmer for entertainment lighting and once I get my foot in the door I can get the job. I am trying to land a big show on Broadway and need to send a resume.
Resume Question: Work History Dates
I’m a job counselor who works with homeless job seekers. A client I worked with was very vague about his dates of employment. I was forced to use just the length of the jobs instead of the specific dates for his jobs, like this.
Driver, ABC Company, 3 years
Will this person’s resume end up in the trash can?
Thanks for your help!
It might very well end up in the trash can. Sometimes, if a client’s work history is a total disaster, you may have no choice but to be a bit vague and HOPE that it will fly. In that case, make the content as “juicy” and specific as you can, in hopes of compensating.
But try very hard to get at least some approximate dates (a specific years without months), because employers are very leery of date-less resumes. You could at least say:
1992, Office Manager, XYZ company, 6 months
Thanks for the good work you do with your clients!
Resume Question: Retirement Years
I’m a professional resume writer. I have a client who retired 10 years ago. He was forced to retire early from his engineering career (after 20 years) at Hughes Aircraft. He now wants to re-enter the engineering profession.
His last resume states that he was an apartment owner and talks about all the responsibilities that go with that. Is there any way for me to avoid saying all that?
Resume Question: Listing References on a Resume
I am a professional resume writer. Should I list my client’s references right on the resume?
Resume Question: Verb Tense
I have been writing resumes for family and friends for over 15 years. I have enjoyed using your books as a guide over the years. In reviewing other resume books, I am confused about the grammar hang-ups on resumes. I have always been taught to use the same verb tense within the resume, whether the job is current or not.
My questions are as follows:
1. Should the current duties be in the past or present tense?
2. Is it okay to switch tenses within a resume?
3. How do employers view this major grammar hang-up among resume writers?
Resume Question: Salary History
I read your excerpt on “salary history” and I found it very helpful. My question is, would it apply the same for salary requirements?Another question would be, what is the format for listing salary requirement? Where should I include it? Is it part of my cover letter?
Thanks for your help,
Resume Question: Certifications
Is CPR certification something that should go on a non-medical resume, and if so, under which heading?
Resume Question: Job Titles
I believe in one of your other answers, you said, “When you list your job title on the resume, either replace it with a more appropriate job title (say “Office Manager” instead of “Administrative Assistant” if that’s more realistic) or use their job title and your fairer one together, i.e. “Administrative Assistant (Office Manager)”.
Is this an industry practice in resume writing? Isn’t this like telling a lie?
Good question! I did NOT mean to LIE. I meant that if your job title in effect does NOT TELL THE TRUTH about your level of responsibility, then you could modify it so it is MORE accurate, more fair to you.
Say, you have an Administrative Assistant job title, and in fact you are responsible for running the whole office. I think it would be more informative and HONEST to say: Admin. Asst./Office Manager or Office Manager/Admin. Asst. on your resume.
This may well not be “industry practice,” but when industry practice is not fair or reasonable, you have to take the initiative to look out for your best interest and assert your value.
Thanks for your question,
Resume Question: International Work History
I am writing a resume for my father who has worked in a different country all his life. I have a few questions:
- What is the most effective way to write his resume?
- What format should I use?
- What is the best way to write his experience, since he had work in different companies doing the same thing? His job description on the recent four companies is exactly the same.
Resume Question: Military Experience
As the Public Relations Officer of the Marine Corps League, I was just presented with a problem from a fellow marine member. He’s a 40-year-old ex-captain with about 13 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He recently retired from the military, and now wants to get other work. What is the best way to translate his military experience so that a civilian employer would recognize his talents and experience, and translate his training into useful assets he could profitably employ?
Resume Question: Little Experience
I need help with writing a resume as a teacher with only HALF of a year’s experience. (I was a December graduate and was hired during my student teaching.) I am now looking for a new job with a new district. I don’t know what to focus on!
The focus needs to be on THEIR version of what is needed to do that job well. Get a complete description of the new job, and for each skill, ability, area of expertise, etc., look at your own work history (paid OR unpaid experience) and describe what you did that gave you that experience or skill. If you organize all this in a combination resume format, you can actually look pretty good despite having only 6 months of experience.
Best of luck!
Resume Question: Exotic Dancer
I have a client who has been an exotic dancer (stripper) for 12 years. She’s 32 now and has changed her lifestyle and her career.
More recent experience includes hotel management, waitressing, and housekeeping. She has started taking various training and education courses and plans to go to college or university to study law.
My concern is that I do not want to put this 12 years stripper experience on her resume, so how do I account for those 12 years? She will be applying for work relative to the hospitality industry, and an exotic dancer is not relevant. What creative ideas or helpful hints might you have?
Leslie (Resume Writer)
Resume Question: Freelance Work
How do I write a resume for freelance work? I need a resume that will promote me as an outsource/temporary to attract business. Jobs: typing, word processing, and clerical.
Resume Question: Career/Industry Jargon
I’m a professional resume writer. What do you do when a job seeker works in an industry you know nothing about and requires industry jargon in their resume?
This happens all the time. We resume writers CAN’T know everything about every field. But, no problem: the job hunter DOES know his field, so you simply get him to describe his job(s) in detail and tell you all the “inside stuff” and the jargon used.
You may not know how to SPELL all of this, of course, but your job seeker will (or he can Google it). So it’s important for him to GET SOME FEEDBACK on the completed resume from somebody in that field. (You can perhaps help him find somebody to review it.) THEN you can make any last-minute corrections based on that feedback.
After a while you’ll build up a decent knowledge of many different fields. You should begin now to assemble a notebook of examples of resumes in different fields. You can refer to your sample notebook when working on a new resume, and you may find JUST the right word or phrase that you and your client are looking for. My book, The Resume Catalog (which was originally MY sample notebook) has 200 such sample resumes you can refer to. You should develop your own archive of examples.
Happy resume writing!
More Resume Questions and Answers
Want to see how Yana Parker advised job seekers and professional resume writers on other resume problems? Check out our index page for Resume Questions and Answers.
- Resume Formatting: Where to Put Things on Your Resume
- How to Write “This and That” on a Resume
- How to Solve Resume Problems
- How to Solve Tricky Resume Work History Problems
- How to Write a Resume for Career Change
- Filing Out a Job Application Form
- A Little Job Interviewing Advice