by Aisha Taylor
As a career consultant and professional resume writer, I get tons of questions from job seekers, movers and shakers, and those who are on the grind to reach their career goals. Some are off-the-wall questions unique to their particular situation and those require a TAYLORed (pun intended) response. However, there are some very common questions that I get all the time. These common, and sometimes controversial questions have become hot topics amongst today’s job seekers. Here are the top 3 most commonly asked questions and answers that I hope will help you along your professional journey.
- Does my resume have to be one page?
In short, the answer is no. Your resume does not HAVE to be one page. There really is no rule of thumb to the length of resumes. However, the length of your resume should be comparable to the amount of experience and professional accomplishments being represented. Entry-to-mid level professionals should always try to stick to one page. Mid-to-senior level candidates are more likely to have a 2-page resume. The key is to focus on quality over quantity. A two-page resume that doesn’t adequately display your skills and strengths is a waste of paper. I do suggest that all job-seekers, regardless of the experience level, do not go beyond two pages. Once your resume hits the 3rd page, you’re likely including outdated information that isn’t necessary or your format is working against you.
- I had an interview but I haven’t heard back from the employer. Is it ok for me to contact them? If so, how long should I wait?
This is always a tough spot to be in. You want to know if you’re still being considered for the position, but you don’t want be perceived as a stalker. It’s important to ask the right questions when you are in the interview. Before you leave, be sure to ask how long they expect it to be before a decision is made, are there any other steps in the process, and will they be contacting all candidates either way. This way, you won’t have to play the guessing game. Most job-seekers leave the interview with no clue of what to expect next and as a result are left wondering what to do. If you didn’t ask these key questions, it is ok to follow up. I always recommend the 3 strikes rule. Make a call. Send an email. Lastly, follow-up with one more attempt via phone, email, or LinkedIn. If you haven’t heard back after 3 attempts, allowing for at least one week in between each attempt, then charge this experience to the game and continue to pursue your career goals with other organizations.
- When is the best time to ask about salary?
Though salary is very important to job seekers, it is usually one of the last things discussed during the hiring process. There are rare instances when salary is discussed early on, or may even be part of the job posting. However, the norm is for employers to learn more about your skills and qualifications before even bothering to discuss your salary. Always try to avoid making the big mistake of bringing up salary too soon. As a rule of thumb, never discuss salary during a first interview unless the interviewer brings it up first. The topic of salary becomes more acceptable during subsequent interviews, but should still be addressed with caution. If the employer asks you about your salary requirements, it’s certainly ok to give a range or a minimum. Just be sure not to push the issue too soon. This is a guaranteed way to turn an employer off.
About the Author, Aisha Taylor
Aisha Taylor (@realTAYLORmade) is co-owner and chief consultant at TAYLORmade Professional Career Consulting, a Web-based, full-service career consulting company committed to “equipping, preparing, and empowering today’s professional” globally.