Resume Tips by Gap Inc.'s Eva Sage-Gavin

Q: What is the first thing you notice on a resume?

A:The "summary" or "profile" which gives insight into the candidate's critical skills and career objective. A candidate can have a wide variety of job experiences on their resume, so the summary helps the hiring manager understand what skills the candidate can bring to the organization.

Q: What are some common mistakes you see on resumes?

A:1) The resume lists activities as opposed to results. Hiring managers like to know what impact your work had on the company or organization you worked for (i.e., improved productivity, quality, reduced expenses, etc.).
2) The candidate lists every award they've received, class they've taken, or organizations they're members of, etc. Not everything a person has done or been involved in is important to a hiring manager. Only list those things that you believe would be relevant to a hiring manager.
3) The resume is too long. Keep a resume to 1-2 pages at most. A candidate should be able to highlight their critical skills, experiences and accomplishments in less than two pages.
4) Misspellings or other grammatical errors. This is a big red flag that suggests the candidate may not pay enough attention to detail or the quality of the work product.

Q: Name five things to keep in mind when writing your resume.

A:1) Invest your time in creating a succinct, meaningful summary or profile of critical skills. It is the first thing (and, in some cases, the only thing) a hiring manager will review. At the end of the day, a hiring manager will look to the summary to quickly assess your fit for open positions.
2) More is not necessarily better. Keep it to two pages or less.
3) Results count, especially if they are quantifiable (i.e., decreased shrinkage by 10%, improved customer satisfaction every quarter, etc.). Be bold about your results — and be prepared to talk about how you accomplished them during an interview.
4) Beyond the summary, education and experiences, be very selective about additional information you include. Ask yourself: "Is it relevant to the company and to the position for which I'm applying?" Awards, memberships, volunteerism, etc. may or may not be important to the company or the role.
5) The format should be clean and easy to read. Too much bold, italics, underlining, indentations, multiple fonts and color can be distracting.

Q: What older rules no longer apply to resume writing?

A: The one-page rule is obsolete. Listing hobbies, interests and references is optional.

Q: Does the layout/design of your resume have any effect on an employer?

A:1) Understand that many applicants will be asked to apply online and their resume may just be an outline of interests and key experience.
2) Think of the industry you are applying to and adapt the resume appropriately. For creative industries the resume can be more unique.

Eva Sage-Gavin is the EVP for Gap Inc. Human Resources, Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility. In her role as Chief People Officer, Eva sets the strategy for the company's communications and human resources operations worldwide, including staffing, diversity, rewards, recognition, employee benefits, learning and development, strategic change, and internal and external communications. Eva also oversees the company’s social responsibility and environmental efforts, focused on lessening Gap Inc.’s impact on the environment and improving conditions in garment factories and the communities in which they operate. • Visit the Gap Inc. Career Section

go back for more career advice >>