Q. I do not have a college degree, even though I have years of experience in my field. Should I list my high school degree?
A. Experience can trump your degree in this case. Your experience may make up for your missing college degree or college studies. If you have attended college, list it. You can state, “Studies towards… Bachelor of Science (BS) in Major | College Name | City, State.” This is true, and it may get you past some Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). In addition, be sure to mention any continuing education courses, certifications, or on-the-job training you have received. However, if a job requires a high school degree, list it, if you have never been to college.
Q. Everyone says you should customize your resume for the company you are applying to. So how many resumes do I need?
A. You need a basic resume for each career field you are applying for (you should limit to one or two—and if you cannot limit, you may need career coaching to see where you are the best fit). Once you have your basic resume for your career field, you then will need to tweak your resume for each job you apply for, to ensure you have the right keywords in the resume and also to be sure you highlight your experience that matches the requirements listed in the job posting.
Q. I have had a 30-year career and detailing my experience would easily take 3 pages. Is a 3-page resume okay?
A. 3-page resume is fine, but before you settle on that length, make sure that earlier experience is still relevant and interesting. In general, you want to highlight your last 10 years of experience. You want to avoid endless repetition and details on positions you have outgrown. Would you be able to summarize those first jobs under “Early Career” or “Additional Experience,” giving only a line or two to each?
Q. I have worked in a highly specialized field for one company over most of my career. Few people—even my own family—understand what I do. How can I get hiring managers and recruiters to understand my value for their company?
A. In one word: accomplishments. A specialized career is like magic: while no one may understand how you do what you do, everyone understands the results. The “how” is important but not as important as the results, which will sell you to hiring managers and recruiters. As a professional resume writer, I write resumes that target your results first, then the way you achieved them. For example:
Increased sales $25 million annually for widgets by creating a suite of new marketing services for Fortune 500 clients using data analytics and expanded platform capabilities.
Do you have a question about resumes? Please contact me at Robin’s Resumes®, and I will be happy to answer.