Your resume needs to be concise, polished and professional because if you don’t have a professional resume, your application materials probably won’t get a second glance from a hiring manager. Your resume cannot have any spelling or grammar mistakes, so make sure that you have a friend check it for you. Also, research the type of job that you are interested in and include the relevant keywords.
But what type of resume style should you use? That depends on a few factors: Are you changing jobs within the same profession? Do you have a gap in your work history or are you changing professions? What follows is a list of three resume styles and how to decide which one will work best for your situation.
The reverse chronological resume style is the traditional framework for a resume. The Experience section is the focus of the resume; each job (or the last several jobs) is described in some detail, and there is no significant section of skills or accomplishments at the beginning of the resume. This framework is primarily used when you are remaining in the same profession, doing the same type of tasks, particularly in very conservative fields. It is also used in specific areas like law, policing, and academic circles. It is recommended that the reverse chronological resume have an executive summary or summary of qualifications to focus the reader’s attention.
The advantages: Appeals to older, more traditional readers and is best in ultra-conservative fields. This style and layout make it simple to understand the tasks you did in each position. If the employer is well known, the employer will stand out and impress. To see an example of a
The disadvantage is that it is challenging to highlight what you do best and your most significant accomplishments. This format is rarely appropriate for someone making a career change.
A reverse chronological resume begins by listing your career history, with the most recent position listed first. Your past jobs are listed in reverse chronological order with your current or most recent employment first. Employers typically favour a reverse chronological resume because it’s easy to see what jobs you have held and when you have worked at them.
This type of resume works excellent for job seekers with a full and stable work history.
The functional resume highlights your significant expertise and your accomplishments from the start of your career. It helps the reader see clearly what you can do for them, rather than having to read through the job descriptions to find out. It helps target the resume into a new direction or field by lifting from all past jobs the critical skills and qualifications to prove you have the skill to succeed in a new field or position. Company names and positions are in a secondary position, without descriptions.
The functional resume is best for career changers, while still appropriate for generalists, those with spotty or divergent careers, those with a wide range of abilities in their field, for students, for military officers, for returning homemakers, and for those who want to make slight shifts in their career direction.
A functional resume focuses on your job experience and skills, rather than on your chronological work history. It is used most often by people who are changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history.
Advantages: It will help you most in trying for a new goal or direction. It is a beneficial resume style and is strongly commended.
The disadvantages are that it is difficult to know what the potential employee did in which job, and it may appear that the candidate is trying to hide something and negatively affect some conservative interviewers.
A combination resume style contains critical elements of both the chronological and functional layouts. There are a few formats: a short chronology of job descriptions preceded by a short “Skills and Accomplishments” section (or with a more extended Summary of Qualifications or Executive Summary including core competencies or a list of “qualifications”), or it may be a standard functional resume with the accomplishments under headings of different jobs held. A combination resume format lists your skills and experience first and grabs the attention of the reader. Your employment history is then recorded. A combination resume highlights the skills you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for and also provides the chronological work history that employers prefer.
There are significant advantages to the combined approach. It maximizes the benefits of both kinds of resumes, avoiding potential “turn-off” of either type. One disadvantage is that they are apt to be longer in length and can lose the attention of the reader. They can become repetitious as accomplishments and skills may be repeated in the “functional” section and the “chronological” job descriptions.