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Are you feeling stuck in your current position, seeking a new one, or contemplating a career change? In this interview, author and career coach Valerie Sutton answers common questions about career development. For those thinking about a new career, she offers advice on assessing your passions and your personality, knowing when you need more education to get the job you want, and researching hiring trends in the industries that interest you. For those actively searching for jobs or getting back into the job market after an absence, she discusses how to write resumes and cover letters that speak to your talents, impress potential employers, and help you land an interview.
Jeff Layton: How long should a resume be? Valerie Sutton: Good question. It's subjective. It's really depends on the industry that you're in. For most businesses, I would recommend a one-page resume; however, there are industries like mine, higher education, that is absolutely a two-page resume. If you're applying to the federal government, then maybe a five-page resume. So you really have to understand the industry that you're applying to and then determine what the standard is for that industry. Jeff: When is it time to take something off my resume? Valerie: What I recommend is that you have what I call a "brain dump" resume where you include everything, so it's just a rolling list of every project, every skill that you have ever done, and then you actually look at the position that you're applying to and say, what is important to the position I'm applying to, and then select things from that brain dump resume.
Jeff: So you're going to actually tailor your resume to the particular job you're applying for? Valerie Sutton: You absolutely always want to tailor your resume to the job that you're applying to. Jeff: What if I've been out of work for quite a while? I find a job, I'm overqualified for it, but I just wanted to get back to work. Is it OK to take things off my resume so I don't appear overqualified and that I'm actually in the running? Valerie Sutton: I would say yes. I will say that you should be committed to the position and be ready to stay in that position for several years, and if you are and you're excited about the position, then I would tailor your resume, which may take things off. So let's give an example of if I had a PhD and the position only requires a bachelors degree.
Employer don't necessarily need to know that you have a PhD, it's not relevant to their position, so you don't need to put in on your resume.
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