The Top 5 Resume Questions Answered

Resume writing is one of the hardest, yet most important things that college students need to do. It serves as your initial contact with employees and is the most critical item in determining whether or not you will obtain an interview. And the worst part is, employees typically spend less than 45 seconds reviewing your resume. So how can you ensure your resume contains everything a recruiter wants to see? Here are the top 5 resume questions students have with answers to master resume writing.

Do I need to include an objective?

While an objective statement is optional, including an objective can be an effective way to briefly express the specific purpose of your resume. You may tailor your objective toward a specific position within a targeted organization, or you may create a more general objective that is widely applicable to your desired career field of interest. The latter is especially effective if you plan to distribute larger quantities of your resume to multiple organizations.

How important is it for me to include my GPA?

Many organizations and graduate schools use GPA as a criterion for identifying viable candidates to continue through the application process. If your cumulative GPA is a 3.0 or above, it is beneficial to list it. Remember to verify that it accurately reflects the GPA that an employer would find on your official University transcript.

What if I have no paid/internship experience yet?

If you have not yet gained paid work experience, consider alternative experiences that can demonstrate your knowledge base and other qualifying attributes. Community involvement, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities are all prime examples of experiences that may be included in detail on a resume. As with summer or part-time work experiences, you can highlight your transferable skill sets as they pertain to opportunities of interest to you.

Do you have to use a bullet points to describe your experiences?

Elaborating on experiences using bulleted points is strongly recommended when building a resume. Each bullet should be no more than 1-2 lines long, and you may use up to 5-6 bullets to describe each listed experience. It is important to use bulleted points to not only describe duties involved in various positions, but it is an opportunity to highlight skills and qualities that you have developed or enhanced. When evaluating resumes, employers look for ways to determine the most qualified candidates. By adding detail to your experiences, you can more effectively demonstrate the value you can bring to an organization.

Is it necessary to include a skills section?

A skills section is not required, but it can be an opportunity to effectively display additional skills that could set you apart from the applicant pool. Technology-based or computer skills, foreign language knowledge, and other field-specific skill sets and certifications are appropriate to include. It is important to objectively indicate your level of knowledge or aptitude in the skill sets you choose to highlight. Using qualifiers such as “Proficient in...” or “Fluent in...” are acceptable as long as they accurately reflect your degree of knowledge. You may also list skills and languages with which you are familiar or have basic knowledge—just be sure to describe that level accurately.

For additional help with resume descriptions check out this helpful action words resource: https://careerconnections.smeal.psu.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/15/2015/10/Action-Words1.pdf