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Your top 10 Job Application and Resume Questions Answered

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

As a resume writer and interview coach I get a lot of questions about resumes and the job application process. Here are the top 10 questions I hear – with answers! Need more detail? Check out my other relevant blog posts linked below.

1. How long should my resume be?

Your resume should generally be 2-4 pages long, depending on your experience and industry. For most people who are mid-career in professional roles, I recommend 3- 3.5 pages long.

2. What sections should my resume have?

The front page should cover your professional profile, key skills, key achievements and have a career summary. Subsequent pages should cover your career history/experience, education, professional development, volunteer work, technical skills etc.

Resume Writer and Job Application expert Emma Maslen with text that reads Your Top 10 Job Application and Resume Questions Answered

3. Do I include references in the resume?

No, you do not need to include references in your resume unless the application specifically requests this. They can be provided separately upon request (usually at the interview stage.)

4. Do I need to include my current manager as a referee?

It's recommended but not absolutely necessary to include your current manager as a referee if you don't feel comfortable doing so. You can list other professional references instead. However, I would recommended using your current line manager if possible.

5. Do I need a LinkedIn profile?

Yes, having a LinkedIn profile is highly recommended - but not absolutely necessary. It is a great tool for networking, job hunting and for getting headhunted!

6. Should I reach out to the hiring manager?

I recommend reaching out to the hiring manager for a discussion if you have a genuine question. But people are busy, so don’t do so unless absolutely necessary.

7. How should I address gaps in my resume?

Address any long/noticeable gaps in your resume by being honest about the reason for the gap. However, don’t worry about shorter gaps.

8. How do I tailor a resume?

You should make sure your resume highlights the fact that you have the skills they are looking for. You can do this by finding the selection criteria keywords, and incorporating them into your professional profile and key skills section.

9. How far back should I go in listing my work experience?

I generally recommend listing detail about your experience (career history) going back 10-12 years. You can list all your roles (going back further) in a career summary table.

10. How can I make my resume stand out from other applicants?

Focus on showcasing who you are clearly and concisely on the front page of your resume. You need to highlight your unique skills and accomplishments and tell them what you bring to an organisation. Do this in a Professional Profile, Key Skills and Key Achievements section on the front page of the resume.

Phew! That was a lot.

I have a lot more detail on each of these topics in other blog posts. These ones might be of interest:

And if you haven't already done so, you can access the free Resume Rescue on-demand Masterclass here.

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