Resumes and CVs

Resume Frequently Asked Questions

Writing Resumes or CVs can be stressful because they are needed during periods of transition and change. They can also be frustrating because often most candidates do not receive any feedback on their Resumes from their many submissions.

Most people do not need a Resume every year and can easily forget the basics. Below are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Resumes.

Frequently Asked Questions about Resumes and CVs

  1. What are the Resume Basics?
  2. What are the Resume Writing Rules?
  3. How long should a Resume be?
  4. What is the difference between a Resume and a CV?
  5. Should my Resume be written chronologically?
  6. What is the best Resume Design?
  7. How should I handle employment gaps?
  8. What if I have no experience?
  9. Should I tailor my Resume?
  10. How do I Fine-Tune my Resume?
  11. Do I need a Cover Letter?
  12. What is a Video Resume?

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

– Michael Jordan

1. What are the Resume Basics?

Recruiters, hiring managers, HR staff typically spend between 10 and 30 seconds deciding whether a Resume is worth reading or including in a shortlist. Your Resume needs to be attractive, organized, and easy to read, to get past the first hurdle and inspire a closer look. So what are the minimum basics that need to be included in a Resume:

  • Full name and address
  • Contact information including e-mail and phone
  • Objective and/or Summary of Qualifications.
  • Employment History
    • Past employers’ names, locations, and dates of employment
    • Description of your roles and significant accomplishments
  • Education and Training
  • Relevant details
    • Skills and memberships

“In every success story, you will find someone who has made a courageous decision.”

– Peter F. Drucker

2. What are the Resume Writing Rules?

  • Keep it Short: Summarise everything on Page 1. Most Resumes should be between one to three pages long, depending on the role. The purpose is to show that you have the background, skills, and experience for the job. You do not need to list everything you have accomplished, just the highlights.
  • Keep it Visually Appealing: Hiring managers are inundated with Resumes. They quickly cull the volume to a shortlist very quickly. Your Resume needs to be clear and easy-to-read, or it will be culled from the shortlist. Use Bolding to highlight each section and each job title so that it can be easily scanned for the vital details.
  • No Spelling Errors: Some recruiters need an excuss to cull down the volume of applications they receive to get to a shortlist. Spelling or Grammar Errors are convenient veto process to get to a shortlist of Resumes. Make sure you ask several other people to help review your Resume.
  • No Grammar Errors: The most common grammatical error is word tense. If your Resume is covering your past achievements, use the past tense. Words such as managed, delivered, grew and, organized. If your Resume is referring to current activity, use the present tense. Words such as manage, deliver, growing and, organizing.
  • Avoid Pronouns: Avoid first-person pronouns such as “I” or “my.” Instead of saying, “I exceeded my objectives, and I received an award.” Consider using, “Exceeded agreed objectives and was recognized with an Excellence Award.”
  • Use Key Words: Use the keywords and phrases from the Job Description, in your Resume, to help the recruiter, quickly and easily identify, that you have the skills and experience required.
  • Be Specific: Providing specific details with numbers, percentages, and facts will demonstrate more convincingly your record of success, rather than using general statements.
  • Consistent Formatting: Keep your formatting consistent throughout your Resume. As an example, all Job Titles should be the same font and format. The same with bullet points and other lists. If you include a period at the end of one bullet point, then all bullet points should have the same format.
  • References: You do not need to include References and their details at the Resume stage. You will need References during the interview. Just write “References available upon request.” Adding references only lengthens the Resume.
  • PDF your Resume: Saving your Resume as a PDF, rather than sending as a document attachment. This approach ensures that the formatting does not change when viewed on a different device, application, or is printed. You need to control how the font, styling, and format look on a remote and different device. Some documents can look and print differently on various viewing applications, systems, and printers.
  • Brand your Resume: Do not save your document as resume.pdf or a generic name. Make it clear which of the attachments is your Resume. Save your Resume under a logical name, such as FirstName_LastName_Resume.pdf.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

– Confucius

3. How long should my Resume be?

The length of a Resume depends on the amount of relevant information necessary to address the requirements of the Job Description. If you are starting in your career or have been in the workforce for a short time, then a one-page Resume is sufficient.

The fundamental guideline is to keep it short. Summarise everything on Page 1. Most Resumes should be between one to three pages long, depending on the role. The purpose is to show that you have the necessary background, skills, and experience for the job. You do not need to list everything you have accomplished, just the highlights.

Only in extreme cases should your Resume be any longer than three full pages. Document your work experience only for the last 10 or 15 years. Format your Resume so that the last page is at least half full. Make sure that there are no stranded headings left on the bottom of the first page that should be on the second page.

Key Points for determining Resume Length:

  • For entry-level positions, keep to a one-page Resume
  • For the mid-level positions, (requiring 5 -10 years of experience), a two-page Resume is acceptable.
  • For senior-level positions with a long list of accomplishments and experience that is relevant, then three-pages or more is appropriate.
  • For specialist or academic positions, with relevant credentials, licenses, training, patents, or publications, then a longer Resume of 3 – 5 pages is appropriate. These positions may require specific details such as teaching experience, research projects, awards, presentations, and affiliations.
  • Make sure your Resume is readable. No small font.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

– Thomas A. Edison

4. What is the difference between a Resume and a CV?

The primary difference between a Resume and a Curriculum Vitae (CV) is the length. While both are used in job applications, a resume and a CV are different. Americans mostly use a Resume, while British and Europeans use a CV.

  • CV: Longer, covers full career details and does not change for different job applications
    • Mainly used in Britain and Europe
  • Resume: Short summary, flexible format, highly customized to the specific job application
    • Mainly used in America

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A Curriculum Vitæ, which means “the course of your life” in Latin is a detailed career biography containing a high level of detail about achievements, education as well as accomplishments such as publications, awards, honors and so on. A CV tends to be organized chronologically and incremental, not changing for different positions. The only difference between different applications would be in the cover letter.


A resume (or résumé), is a more concise version of a CV. The goal of a resume is to be relevant to the specific job description. Resumes are typically adapted to the relevant position needs as specified. A resume does not have to be chronologically ordered or cover all the career details, only what is relevant is presented.

“Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it.”

– George Lucas

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Quotes About Resumes and CV

“The challenge of life, I have found, is to build a resume that doesn’t simply tell a story about what you want to be, but it’s a story about who you want to be.” – Oprah Winfrey

“My resume showed membership on both the Harvard and Columbia Law Reviews, a credit impressive abroad where it was not generally known that Law Reviews were student-operated publications.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“I’m the type of employer who will hire based on personality, based on potential. If you put the resume before the personality, you’re going to fail.” – Jon Taffer

“Confining a resume to a single page is good advice for anyone.” – Daniel Lyons

“Your LinkedIn profile must include keywords for specific skills that match your desired job.” – Melanie Pinola

I asked all of our recruiters to give me all resumes of prospective employees with their name, gender, place of origin, and age blacked out. This simple change shocked me because I found myself interviewing different-looking candidates – even though I was 100% convinced that I was not being biased in my resume selection process.” – Eric Ries

Inspirational Career Quotes for your Resume and CV Journey

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” – Vince Lombardi

“The future depends on what you do today.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” – Stephen Covey

“It’s not what you achieve, it’s what you overcome. That’s what defines your career.” – Carlton Fisk

“Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” – M. Scott Peck

Resume – FAQs – to be covered with our Next Instalment

  • Should my Resume be written chronologically?
  • What is the best Resume Design?
  • How should I handle employment gaps?
  • What if I have no experience?
  • Should I tailor my Resume?
  • How do I Fine-Tune my Resume?
  • Do I need a Cover Letter?
  • What is a Video Resume?

Books About Resumes and CV

  • Resumes for Dummies, by Joyce Lain Kennedy, 1996
  • Knock ’em Dead Resumes: A Killer Resume Gets MORE Job Interviews!, by Martin Yate, 2014
  • The Resume Writing Guide: A Step-By-Step Workbook for Writing a Winning Resume, by Lisa McGrimmon, 2014
  • Ladders 2019 Resume Guide: Best Practices and Advice from the Leaders in $100K – $500K Jobs, by Marc Cenedella, 2019
  • The Complete Book of Resumes: Simple Steps for Writing a Powerful Resume, by Karen Schaffer, 2005
  • Expert Resumes for Career Changers, by Louise M Kursmark and Wendy S Enelow, 2005
  • The Resume Handbook, by Arthur D. Rosenberg, 5th edition, 2007

Videos about Resumes and CV

We showed real Résumés to an Expert and the Feedback was Brutal

Create Your Resume for Google: Tips and Advice

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

– Stephen King

Image Credit: Image by Oli Lynch from Pixabay