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COMMONLY ASKED RESUME WRITING QUESTIONS

Q. Should I include my salary history and requirements on my resume?

A. No. Salary offers will vary from one company to the next. You may lose a great job that pays a little less because of your written-in-stone salary demand. Or worse, you may be offered less money because your salary requirement is too modest. If a company asks about your history and financial needs, talk to your employment counselor and let them negotiate for you.

Q. Should I state my reason for leaving my last job?

A. No. This question will come up at your interview and possibly on an introductory application. If you left under questionable circumstances, discuss with your employment counselor. Then practice a truthful, though positive response; such information should never end up on a resume.

Q. Should letters of recommendation accompany my resume?

A. Give your employment counselor one or two highly positive letters of recommendation if you have them available. Letters should come from a person of importance at your job and should be well-written and describe your best qualities. The writer should say that he or she hates to lose you because you are valuable. Administrative support and persons with five or less years of experience will particularly benefit from such letters.

Q. Should I list my references?

A. No. Instead of listing references write "References furnished upon request." Be sure your references come from people in responsible positions who have worked with you or acted as a direct supervisor. Do not use relatives or personal friends who do not know the quality of your professional work.

Q. What other formatting tips can you offer?

A. Avoid abbreviations. Leave out personal pronouns, such as 'me, I, we, my and their'. Do not overuse or repeat words, for example, "excellent worker with excellent skills and excellent abilities". Use power adjectives: "Tireless worker with sharp skills and dynamic abilities" will prove to be more successful.

Q. How long should a resume be?

A. Try to limit your resume to one page. Two to three pages is acceptable for career seekers with extensive and detailed work history with a more technical nature.

Q. Should you include a job objective on your resume?

A. Only if your needs are sharply defined. Tersely-worded objectives work best: Secretary, Word Processor, Accountant; these titles say it all. But "To acquire a position of clearly-defined management responsibility in midlevel procedural authority" says little to the resume reader. A strong resume is able to use common language to convey a goal clearly in the objective. Objectives should demonstrate focus. Remember: Simple objectives work best and straightforward resumes get results.

Q. What if you are undecided about your job path (paralegal, accountant, word processor, etc.)?

A. Do not take a one-resume-fits-all approach. Customizing your resume is recommended to display skills to different industries or various departments with different focuses of skill requirements. Objective titles should not be paired: 'Secretary/Sales Representative' or 'Paralegal/Receptionist'; instead use another version of your resume. When customizing your resume focus on the nature of the descriptions you are providing for the designated titled positions.

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