5 Common Resume Questions, Answered

Here’s the thing about a “dream job:” There’s a good chance it’s 100 other people’s dream job too. And when it’s time to apply for that golden opportunity, one of the first things that will get you noticed is your resume.

There’s no doubt that possessing a solid resume is an essential step toward landing a much-coveted gig. But when it comes to crafting the ideal document, the Internet is a vast sea of advice, pro tips, and do’s and don’ts. To help sort through it all, Sherri Tantleff and Paul Mauceri, advisors in Full Sail’s Career Development department, answered some of the web’s most popular résumé questions.

What’s one thing that should absolutely be on a resume?

Well, it’s a few things. “Start with correct and easy-to-read contact info at the top,” says Tantleff. “Include a professional email address and a working link to your portfolio.”

Use keywords, says Mauceri, meaning the same words in the job description should be in your resume too. “By including these keywords, you’ll increase the chances of it being seen by an actual recruiter. Many companies use applicant-tracking systems to weed out resumes that don’t contain enough keywords. Jobscan is a great resource for seeing how well your resume matches a job description.”

Finally, misspelled words are a deal-breaker: “Your resume indicates your level of commitment and attention to detail,” says Tantleff. “Get someone to look it over. You can read it a thousand times and miss the same typo. Don’t rely on spell-check.”

Should I include a photo of myself?

Both Mauceri and Tantleff say no, unless you’re applying for an acting or modeling position. That said, many employers head to your LinkedIn profile after reviewing your resume, and that’s where your photo should be. “Make sure it’s a professional headshot,” advises Tantleff. “Not one of you surfing.”

What’s the ideal resume length?

One page for recent grads, or two if you have a lot of experience. “People have short attention spans,” says Tantleff. “Bullet point what you’ve done. If you need more space because you’re writing in paragraphs, or listing endless gear, start editing.”

Do I need a different resume for every job I’m applying to?

You don’t need to start from scratch every time, but it’s important your resume is perfect for the job. “When you apply for a job, you’re trying to fulfill an employer’s needs,” Tantleff says. “Make sure you are addressing every single requirement and objective on the job description. Make yourself the obvious match for that position.”

“If you’re interested in more than one area in your field, have different resumes for each area, and then make minor edits needed for each specific job,” Mauceri adds. “Save a copy of every version of your resume, in case you can use it again for a similar position.”

What’s going to get a resume to really stand out?

A presentable, clean resume can go a long way: “It doesn’t have to be some dazzling visual display; make sure your fonts and sizes are consistent, your bullet points line up, and your text doesn’t hug the margins too tight,” Mauceri says.

Think beyond the resume, too: “If you ever have a chance to include a cover letter that’s how you’ll stand out, by putting in that extra work and sharing your story,” says Tantleff. “We’re in such a digital world, it’s really about your professional presence everywhere. Your online portfolio, your LinkedIn profile, and your cover letter are all part of the package. Resumes are so much more than a piece of paper these days.”