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5 Questions Your Resume Should Answer

questions resume Jan 31, 2022
Team reviewing resume

First, your resume needs to be able to pass online applicant tracking systems, the online gatekeeper between you and a hiring manager. Afterward, your resume has only about 15 -20 seconds to answer the following questions, which is about the time when a recruiter or hiring manager will decide to schedule an interview with you.  

WHO ARE YOU? 

Your resume should quickly show the interviewer a snapshot of your career, what you're good at, and what you're looking to get out of your next role. You can accomplish this in several ways. First, you can create a clear objective. You can also format your resume to highlight your relevant skill sets if you're changing careers or showcase your skills to do the next position. You need to show a consistent theme of achievement throughout your career. Suppose you can't easily show consistent achievement throughout your career. In that case, you need to have a strong narrative on why you're switching positions and are qualified to do the job. 

 

WHAT DO YOU DO? 

The first spot on your resume, under your objective, if you have one, needs to illustrate your latest position or skills that are most relevant to the job you seek. The interviewer or recruiter needs to see why you're interested in this position and your most applicable skillsets for it. Hiring managers always want relevant skills. Even if you only have a few relevant skills from your most recent job, you need to illustrate them as thoroughly and concisely as possible. 

 

WHEN DID YOU START DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING?

Hiring managers also have a bias towards experience, so your resume should clearly show the relevant years of experience that the job requires. Even if you don't explicitly state it, hiring managers can deduce this number from several locations on your resume. For example, they can look at your graduation year, the dates which you listed your earliest work experience, how long you've been at your most recent roles, etc. 

Your resume is a marketing tool. Suppose you want to minimize someone passing you over for an interview because you don't have a certain number of years of experience. In that case, there are a few tricks you can do. Let's say you feel you have too much experience, for example. In that case, you can remove your graduation year. You can also create a "functional resume" that highlights relevant skill sets and downplays the amount of experience you have. Finally, you can leave off jobs from your resume that don't fit the narrative that you want to tell. There's no harm in any of these methods, as you're simply showcasing why you're the right person for this new position.

Remember, the number of years of experience requested is just a shorthand proxy to assess whether you can do the position. Some people have lots of years of experience who can't do a job as efficiently as someone with fewer years of experience and vice versa. 

 

WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED? 

Some jobs are location-dependent, or the role wants to hire locally. Hence, a recruiter or hiring manager always looks at your current address, which should be very clear at the top of your resume. If you're applying for a job out-of-state and you know you're willing to move if you got hired, don't be afraid to put the local address of a friend or relative. You can also buy a PO Box within the city you want to apply. This prevents you from unnecessarily getting passed over for an interview because an interviewer disqualified you since they assume you're not local. Remember, though, if you do get that interview, then you need to make immediate arrangements to drive or fly to the city so you can do it in person if required.

Another trick is that interviewers look at the locations of your previous jobs to see where you might be applying. This isn't always bad. However, suppose you're applying for roles overseas. In that case, this could be another reason a company would reject you as they would want someone within a particular country. A good rule of thumb for this scenario is to create a functional resume, highlighting your skill sets and de-emphasizing the locations of your previous jobs. Remember, creating a resume is an art, not a science, and you need to market yourself in the best possible way. 

 

WHY ARE YOU QUALIFIED FOR THIS POSITION? 

Finally, your resume needs to illustrate your qualifications for the position you seek. A quick way to show your qualifications is in the objective section of your resume. If you're applying for multiple jobs, you need to tailor your resume to highlight your unique capabilities that are relevant for each specific position. This process is laborious and takes a lot of time, but it's the best way to ensure that you maximize your chances of getting a call for an interview. 

You also need to highlight relevant skills sets in the rest of your resume. If this is hard to do since your skill sets are dispersed through several different positions, then creating a functional resume is the best way to do it. 

Don't forget that your resume is simply a marketing tool to get you in the door for an interview. You want to entice the hiring manager just enough that they're intrigued to call you in for an interview. Once in the interview, you can sell yourself and address any concerns the hiring manager has. 

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