Types of Resumes
The Reverse Chronological
One of the more preferred styles, a reverse chronological resume contains an objective or summary statement and then presents your work history in reverse chronological order beginning with your current or most recent job at the top of the list. Your education, skills and other information are presented after your experience. This type of resume works well if your recent job experience is related to the job you are applying for and you are staying on a similar career path.
A functional resume emphasizes your overall skills and experience and highlights your abilities. This style is, again, used most often by individuals who are re-entering the workforce, transitioning into new careers, have frequently changed jobs, or who have had gaps in their recent employment history. Employment history is summarized and skills and relevant experience are presented at the beginning of the resume. Your skills and experience are organized in a way in which the employer can see how they relate to the position to which you are applying. This style of resume also works well in situations where one has acquired skills or experiences which may be transferable. These experiences may include volunteer work or internships and might include hiring, managing or coaching skills.
The Combination - Reverse Chronological/Functional
Recruiters often prefer a reverse chronological resume, but it is not always the best display for someone who is changing careers or entering the workforce. Here the individual want to describe skills acquired that are transferrable to the positions they now seek.
Using a combination of the two gives the recruiter what they want to see while highlighting transferrable skill categories. You must be careful about the length of your resume when utilizing the combination format.
You can find multiple examples of resumes online by searching each of the formats.
When preparing your resume, keep the following in mind:
Components of a Resume
- Your resume should be concise, succinct and to the point. Check your resume for proper grammar, spelling and punctuation which can be evidence of good communication skills and attention to detail.
- Make your words count – your use of language is important - sell yourself quickly and efficiently, addressing needs with a clearly written, compelling resume. A successful resume not only depends on what you say but also how you say it.
- Avoid using long paragraphs and provide small, digestible pieces of information. Also, use strong, action verbs to emphasize accomplishments, such as “developed,” “managed,” and “designed.” Avoid declarative sentences (“I developed …”) and passive constructions (“was responsible for …”).
- Make the most of your experiences and accomplishments - provide details on what you have accomplished without being vague. Describe things that can be measured objectively.
- Be factually accurate, including dates of employment, education completed, jobs title and skills possessed. A falsified resume can often be spotted by an employer, if not immediately then during the interview process.
- Your resume should be visually appealing. Make sure it is neat, organized, and consistent. Again, your resume the first impression you’ll make to a potential employer.
- Emphasize what you can do for an employer. Be specific and customize accordingly. Your resume and the way it is organized should be relevant to the position you are applying for.
- Eliminate superfluous details - unnecessary details can take up a lot of valuable space on your resume. Don’t mention personal characteristics which employers may not legally solicit from you.
When preparing your resume, consider the following items:
Summary or Career Objective
- Include details of your home address; do not list your work address
- Include an email address
- Include home or cellular phone number
- The “Summary” or “Objective” may be an optional component to your resume. It provides direction and focus and should allow an employer to immediately identify the targeted job or field of employment. You may wish to omit an objective if you aren’t sure of your career direction at this time.
- In a Summary, clearly communicate the type of job you want and what you can offer the employer. You may want to keep your Summary limited to two or three sentences.
- You can prepare an Objective that is broad enough to include related jobs, but not too broad that you appear unfocused or willing to take any job. Keep your Objective limited to one or two sentences.
- Try not to be too vague or restrictive.
- Be concise but try not to over generalize.
- Avoid phrases such as “challenging, rewarding career.”
Related Work Experience
- List degree(s), college(s) attended, location(s), and date(s) of completion.
- Include major(s), minor(s), and areas of concentration.
- Include certifications, honors, special awards, skill-based training, etc.
- If applicable, include experience studying abroad.
- It may not be necessary to include high school information.
- Provide details with respect to position title(s), organization/employer, dates, location(s), etc.
- Provide a brief description of primary responsibilities.
- Be concise and start points using strong, action-oriented verbs in your description; quantify success where possible.
- Provide details with respect to accomplishments and related skills.
- If professional experiences go back 10 to 15 years, you may want to list only title(s), organization(s), dates, and location(s); you may want to hold off on including a description and additional details.
Certification and Licenses
- Provide details regarding any college, community-related activities or professional associations.
- Include the positions held.
- Describe your specific accomplishments, awards and honors.
- Identify leadership roles.
- List presentations, publications, papers, etc.