There are as many opinions on the subject of resumes as there are job seekers! Some of the more popular opinions are centered on the use of objectives, summaries, profiles, title headings.
Also there are different ideas for using keywords, reference statements, personal interests, salary history, dates, graphics, fonts, and of course, the length of the resume.
Then there is the question of format. Should the style of a resume be chronological, functional or combination? One thing is certain – the resume should sell a candidate’s strengths and qualifications, and answer a hiring manager’s question, “How can you solve my problem?” It should also have full contact information, be organized, and provide specific information that a hiring manager needs to decide whether or not a candidate is well suited for a position. At the very least, it should list relevant experience and achievements.
PURPOSE OF A RESUME
A resume is a personal marketing document that communicates your career objective and value to a hiring company. A strong resume is carefully planned and developed (not quickly typed up) in an appropriate format (style) designed to showcase your experience and accomplishments in direct relation to a specific position.
BASIC RESUME WRITING TIPs – FORMATTING RULES
To help you understand the main differences between various resume styles, the following illustrates the same resume in chronological, functional, and combination formats. Also provided below is a comprehensive list of common mistakes to avoid and useful tips to help your resume to compete in today’s competitive workplace:
This is the most commonly used resume format. It is straightforward, and easily traces a candidate’s career path and progression in a given field. Experience and accomplishments are listed in reverse chronological order, with the most recent job positioned first. Because it leaves little to the imagination and makes it difficult to hide employment gaps, the chronological resume is the most preferred format of employers and recruiters.
Chronological Format Example:
Wireless, Inc., Brooklyn, NY 1998 – Present
Anderson Doors, Bronx, NY 1993 – 1998
Business Development Manager
This is a skills-based, achievement-oriented format. Experience and accomplishments are listed in sections with specific headings that extract and showcase ONLY what is directly applicable to the targeted position. Because it is somewhat vague sometimes omits dates, it is the least preferred resume format of employers and recruiters.
Functional Format Example:
This format combines the chronological and functional formats into one! As with the functional format, it lists experience and accomplishments in sections with specific headings directly applicable to the targeted position. However, it lists employment information under a SEPARATE category (only title, company, location, and dates). Since it easily tells the reader how a candidate is qualified for a position while also providing an employment history, it has fast become a favorite resume format amongst many employers and recruiters.
Combination Format Example:
Wireless, Inc., Bay Shore, NY 1998 – Present
Anderson Doors, East Islip, NY 1993 – 1998
Business Development Manager
SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS
Use any one or a combination of these headings to communicate the type of position you are applying for, and the value you will bring to the hiring company at a glance. Remember, a reader spends a brief moment on each resume. Your resume must grab their attention, and hold it!
SAMPLE PROFILE STATEMENT
Accomplished sales professional known for delivering strong revenue and profit gains in highly competitive markets, seeking a Regional Sales Manager position. Bring 15 years of solid experience and select strengths that encompasses sales territory management and key account development. Equally effective at relationship building, program development, and team leadership.
Notice that the actual title “Objective” was omitted, yet mentioned! If you prefer to use the actual “Objective” title, do not use the outdated colon after the category.
SAMPLE PROFILE STATEMENT/KEYWORDS
Accomplished sales professional known for delivering strong profit gains in highly competitive markets, seeking a Regional Sales Manager position. Strengths encompass:
Capital Sales & Marketing | Team Building/Leadership
Key Account Development | Client/Vendor Relations
Financial Analysis & Reporting | Program Development
SAMPLE TITLE HEADING/PROFILE STATEMENT
REGIONAL SALES MANAGER
Known for delivering strong and sustainable revenue and profit gains in highly competitive markets. Bring 15 years of solid experience and select strengths that encompasses sales territory management, key account development, staff training, team leadership, presentations, and closings.
(Bold, italicize, or underline the Title Heading so it stands out.)
SAMPLE SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS
Accomplished sales professional known for delivering strong and sustainable revenue and profit gains in highly competitive markets. Seeking a Regional Sales Manager position with a leading pharmaceutical company. Select strengths encompass:
RESUME WRITING TIPS – COMMON MISTAKES, DO’S & DON’TS
Written by Ann Baehr, a Certified Professional Resume Writer and President of Best Resumes. Ann is a career expert specializing in resume and cover letter writing for cross-industry clients ranging from college graduates to senior executives. Her work has been published in twenty resume and cover letter books by McGraw-Hill, Jist Publishers, and Adams Media. You can visit her site at Best Resumes of New York