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Resume > Help / FAQ

Basic Resume Writing

Q.It is my first time writing a professional resume...?
Q.How do I create a resume objective?
Q.Should I include a professional career summary with my resume? Is it necessary?
Q.What should I include when including my previous work experience?
Q.How should I list my education?
Q.I am writing my own resume. Do you have a free step-by-step tutorial on what I should do?
Q.I have finished my resume, what do I do next?
Q.I want to include a cover letter with my resume. Can you help me?
Q.Where can I find sample cover letters?

Basic Resume Writing

Q.Emailing Resume format: Attachment or copy and paste?
Q.Adding a personal picture to a resume?
Q.How to best present a partially completed college degree on a resume?
Q.How long should my resume be? What size font should I use?
Q.Should you staple a 2-page resume?
Q.How can a career changer with employment gaps best present his or her skills?
Q.How do I submit my resume online?
Q."Application" vs. "Resume" - What is the Difference?
Q.What is a curriculum vitae (or CV)?
Q.What is Resume Scanning?
Q.Mailing Address vs. Home Address on Resume?
Q.I'm unsure of month/year of employment?
Q.Several kinds of experience on a resume without looking flighty?
Q.How to write a letter of recommendation for yourself or others?
Q.How Do I Follow Up After Submitting a Resume?
Q.What is a Resume Branding Statement?
Q.When Should I Include My GPA On My Resume?
Q.How Do I Explain a Demotion in a Resume?

Basic FAQ

  • It is my first time writing a professional resume. What should I do?

  • A.OneBuckResume provides a great resume writing course free, with video tutorials and step-by-step instructions right here.

  • How do I create a resume objective?

  • A.See the tutorial page on writing an objective statement for your resume. You can also see one of the many samples in our free directory, simply choose a sample in your career/market niche.

  • Should I include a professional career summary with my resume? Is it necessary?

  • A.Follow the tutorial video on whether or not your should include a career summary, and how to professional construct it.

  • What should I include when including my previous work experience? How many should I list?

  • A.See the tutorial page on how to correctly outline your job history section, or view/download a free resume template in the job sector you are interested in.

  • How should I list my education?

  • A.See the Do's and Dont's to consider when listing your education, and be sure to check out examples for references.

  • I am writing my own resume. Do you have a free step-by-step tutorial on what I should do?

  • A.Of course! See the tutorial video on resume writing here.

  • I have finished my resume, what do I do next?

  • A.Read the experts guide to sending your resume successfully.

  • I want to include a cover letter with my resume. Can you help me?

  • A.Sure. See full instructions on cover letter writing here. We also provide a blank template for a cover letter that you can use.

  • Where can I find sample cover letters?

  • A.You can find generic examples of cover letters here.

Advanced FAQ

  • Emailing Resume format - attachment or copy and paste?

  • A.Either is fine, but most common and preferred, is your cover letter/greeting in the body of the email and the resume attached. If possible, the best option is to create a .pdf of your resume to send as an attachment. By using a .pdf it is compatible with all computers and cannot be changed depending on the version of Microsoft Word that the end user is viewing the resume with. Our $1 Professional resume building services will include a .pdf as part of the package.

  • Adding a personal picture to a resume?

  • A.Not a good idea, unless you're an entertainer (actor, dancer, model, etc.). Many hiring managers will immediately discard resumes that contain photos because of possible discrimination lawsuits (hiring candidates based on appearance rather than qualifications). Video resumes are an exception to this and allow you to provide an alternate format to the traditional resume.

  • How to best present a partially completed college degree on a resume?

  • A.Examples:
    If you are currently enrolled in a program, list as is:
    ABC COLLEGE (City, ST)
    Enrolled in Bachelor of Arts program, major in < >, degree expected 5/16
    If you partially completed a program and don't intend to complete:
    DEF COLLEGE (City, ST)
    Earned XX credits towards a Bachelor of Arts, 9/04 to 5/07

  • How long should my resume be? What size font should I use?

  • A.The font size should be no smaller than 10 point, standard serif or sans serif fonts. Don't use intricate fonts that are hard to read. Keeping your fonts standard will help combat conversion issues from PC to MAC and from one program version to another. The length of your resume should be 1-2 pages. Yes, you read correctly; you can use more than one page. But remember, keep it concise. It's ok to use two pages for your resume, however it is not necessary.

  • Should you staple a 2-page resume?

  • A.Do not staple the resume, even if 2 (or more) pages. Without a staple, the two pages can be placed side-by-side to view the whole resume at once. That said, if you have a 2nd page, put your name on top of page 2 (header). By doing this, if the 2 pages are separated they can be easily put back together.

  • How can a career changer with employment gaps best present his or her skills?

  • A.Create a resume using a functional resume format (standard or classic, as listed in our $1 resume builder) that focuses on transferable skills related to current career objectives. The functional resume layout is a good format as it focuses less on employment dates and job history and more on job skills. Typically a candidate changing careers does not have a solid employment history needed to make a strong first impression with a resume or cover letter. Transferable skills that are relevant to your current career objectives need to be presented in your resume to show an employer what skills you are able to contribute to the organization. Transferable skills are the ones you have acquired from past experiences that are transferable to a different type of job, industry, or environment. These skills may have been developed in many different areas - from past work experience, academic endeavors, volunteer activities, or in various settings which may include hobbies, clubs, community organizations, associations, etc.

  • How do I submit my resume online?

  • A.Once your resume is written, you need to get it in front of the right people - i.e., your future employer. With OneBuckResume's distribution service, just one simple form makes your resume and job requirements instantly available to employers and recruiters on up to 86 of the very best career web sites. Our resume distribution service gives you massive exposure while saving you over 60 hours of research and data entry. You can Begin Resume Distribution here.

  • "Application" vs. "Resume" - What is the Difference?

  • A.Companies keep the applications on file. The applications are legal documents that require the applicant's signature. For example, the application will ask if you have served any jail time in the past. This is something that is not on your resume, however will need to be entered onto a job application. The job application obtains information that you may have left off of your resume intentionally however is required, sometimes for legal reasons.

  • What is a curriculum vitae (or CV)?

  • A.A CV is a Latin expression meaning "course of life" in other words, a resume. It is a special type of resume traditionally used within the academic community. Earned degrees, teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, and related activities are featured. Unlike a resume, a CV tends to be longer and more informational than promotional in tone.

  • What is Resume Scanning?

  • A.Resume scanning is a process where employers convert hardcopy resumes into electronic resumes. Basically instead of a human reading the resume, the resume is first input into the company's computer database via a scanner. Scanning has some inherent problems due to the non-human element and is therefore not used extensively. If done at all, it is mainly done at Fortune 100 and possibly Fortune 500 companies. Wondering if the job you are applying to scans resumes? Call the Human Resources department and ask. As the job of HR is to find candidates, they will be welcome to the question and outline the process that their company employs for resume screening.

  • Mailing Address vs. Home Address on Resume?

  • A.When writing your resume, put the relocation address in the cover letter. By doing so, employers will know you will be available for interviews. In addition, they will know that they do not need to worry about relocation expenses if they choose to hire you. While companies sometimes pay for this expense, it may exclude you from some positions where the company is unwilling to cover the cost of your relocation.

  • I'm unsure of month/year of employment?

  • A.First of all, you always want to include all previous employment on your resume. To narrow down the dates, we would recommend that you first find out the date of hire at your current employer (month & year). Your HR department (or manager) can provide this. If you're worried about asking as it would cause red flags; it shouldn't. You need dates of hire to apply for credit cards, apartment rental applications, taxes, etc. Therefore, there are numerous reasons why you would need dates of employment. With this information, come up with a timeline for employment at the other companies. Were you there for a year, or a month? Guess-timate the months of employment for the other companies. It's job experience, therefore I would include it, as a hole in dates on your resume is far worse than being off by a month or two on dates of employment on the resume. And bottom line, it was eight years ago, therefore your potential employer will be less concerned with checking dates and references. If you're really struggling to figure out dates of hire and employment, dig up your tax returns, as you must have reported wages if employed. With this info, you should be able to piece together a good estimate. For example, if 90% of your wages in 1995 came from company X, chances are that you started in January/February.

  • Several kinds of experience on a resume without looking flighty?

  • A.Identify the tasks that you performed in each position. Then, on your resume highlight the tasks that have prepared you for the desk job (typing, phone communication, etc). The best option is to use a Combination (classic or standard) resume as this format focuses less on employment and more on skills. Also, you can cover the desire for a career change in the cover letter. Try using the free resume tips and letter examples as a guide to get started. If you are still stuck, you may consider using a professional resume service or resume builder to better position your specific qualifications. If you need help composing your cover letter and positioning your past work experience, view our cover letter writing tips section for additional help.

  • How to write a letter of recommendation for yourself or others?

  • A.A letter of recommendation may be requested by an employer during the application process or by a college or university when applying for acceptance. The letter is written by an employer, coworker or friend, and basically serves as a reference for your past accomplishments and on the job performance. The letter of recommendation is a powerful tool if your letter can be written by a previous boss or someone higher up in the company for which you are employed or previously worked. Now the question is, why would your current boss write a letter of recommendation so you can gain employment elsewhere? The most common occurrence for this is during company layoffs, where your on the job performance was good, however layoffs were needed for company downsizing, etc. In addition, if you are in the process of leaving a job, you may ask for a letter of recommendation from your boss or co-workers on your way out to keep on file for future use. This obviously depends on your relationship with your boss or co-workers, however is definitely worth asking for as it will prove as a valuable asset in your future career advances. To begin the process, you must first choose who will write the letter, then ask their wiliness to write a letter of recommendation for you. Once you have identified who is willing, you should give the person writing the letter guidance for the format. Below is a sample outline of what to ask for:
    1.) To begin, have the person start with where they know you from and what the relationship was (your boss, co-worker, etc). If the person is or was a coworker or boss, have them indicate your term of employment, the responsibilities of your position, and any significant projects undertaken by you while on the job. You may also have them include a brief outline regarding the nature of the business of your company (core business, number of employees, etc).
    2.) Secondly, have them dive into a detailed evaluation of you as an employee and co-worker. Specifically, have them outline your performance, and if possible, any assignments and noteworthy accomplishments. Have them highlight you strengths and possibly shortcomings in the workplace. Why shortcomings, this makes the evaluation honest. And, everyone has flaws; therefore these are items that you can state you are focused at working on improving. Remember, a common job interview question is to state three of your best attributes, and yes, three of your weakness. (for more on interviewing, visit our interview tips).
    3.) Have them state your attributes - were you responsible, motivated, etc? Lastly, have the individual state if they would recommend you for a position - bottom line, if given the opportunity, would they hire you if they were in the shoes of the hiring manager.

  • How Do I Follow Up After Submitting a Resume?

  • A.If you don't hear back from within two weeks, it may be beneficial to follow-up. Employers and recruiters may prefer follow-up by email. If no email address is listed, try sending a note or calling. If neither email, address or a phone number are listed, or the posting says not to contact the employer, following the instructions and don't follow up. Questions to ask:
    1. What are the next steps in the recruiting process? Will all candidates be contacted?
    2. Do you need any additional information about my candidacy? (Or briefly share new info that adds to your candidacy.)
    3. If you plan to visit the company's location, mention the timeframe and your eagerness to meet - ask if it's possible to arrange an interview during your visit.

  • What is a Resume Branding Statement?

  • A.A branding statement is a short, catchy statement that highlights your most relevant expertise in about 15 words or fewer. If you include a branding statement, you can elaborate further on your key qualifications through a longer professional summary statement.
    What's In a Good Branding Statement
    Share your skills. A strong branding statement conveys exceptional qualities, skills, experiences or areas of knowledge which distinguish you from the average candidate. Your statement should express how you add value and produce results which impact the bottom line in your target sector. Branding statements should be tailored toward a particular job and show how you have the right stuff to excel in that position.
    Take an inventory. Start by taking inventory of your accomplishments in your most relevant roles. Make note of the personal assets which you drew upon to generate those successes. Analyze the requirements of your target job and look for the overlap with your chief assets.
    Describe your strengths. Select three or four adjectives which describe your key strengths. Weave together the adjectives with your desired job title or role and tie to the value added.

  • When Should I Include My GPA On My Resume?

  • A.When to Include Your GPA on Your Resume:
    There is no specific rule about whether to keep or remove your GPA from your resume after college. However, the general guideline is that, during the first year or two after college, feel free to keep your GPA in your resume. This is particularly true if you have a very high GPA - about a 3.8 or above. As a recent college graduate with limited work experience, your GPA can be a key reflection of your skills and work ethic.
    When Not to Include Your GPA on Your Resume:
    Once you have 2-3 years of work experience, however, it is time to remove your GPA from your resume. At this point in life, your work experience speaks more to your skills than your old GP

    A.Let go of your past academic success, and use that extra space on your resume to provide an example of a more recent accomplishment.

  • How Do I Explain a Demotion in a Resume?

  • A.How to List a Demotion on a Resume:
    In some cases, the job title of your new position - if you have been demoted - will clearly indicate a lower level of responsibility. For example, if you were demoted from sales manager to salesperson or from customer service director to customer service associate.
    Don't use any negative language like "demoted" on your resume when you list the change. You should simply list the positions separately, and describe the skills and accomplishments associated with each job.
    How to Explain a Demotion in a Cover Letter:
    How you address the transition in your cover letter will depend on whether you are targeting positions comparable to the higher level or lower level job.
    In the case of the sales job, for example, if you now prefer sales over management your letter should frame the transition as a move to a role more appropriate for your strengths and interests.
    If you would like to return to a higher level position with a new organization, then you have tougher case to make. The best thing to do is emphasize the positive impact that you have had historically in that role. You can also mention what you have learned in your reduced role which would be of value in the higher level position. As with your resume, don't mention the terms "demotion" or "demoted" in your letters.