Not All Resumes are Created Equal!

Most job applicants seeking career path employment will be required to submit a resume that highlights their skills, accomplishments, and backgrounds. Unfortunately, many applicants select resume formats that do not portray them well and, in fact, do damage. Still others choose well among available resume templates, but they end up looking like the hundreds of other applicants competing for the position. Sometimes, even the best resume writers experience some difficulties in resume or CV writing. If you want to have a resume that gives you an edge on the competition, then you must do two things – select the best format for your background and employment history and be certain that it is organized and worded in a fully compelling way.

First, to the resume formats. Even a cursory bit of the Internet research will reveal several types of resume designs and examples, so that you may select that which best suits your situation. Among the most popular are the following three:

  1. Chronological:  An individual looking for a position within his/her current career field will generally use this format, especially if s/he is currently employed. If, for example, you are a CPA and have worked for two CPA firms, thus far, you may be excited about an opening in another firm that offers more leadership and supervisory responsibilities, along with a significant “bump” in pay.  Your resume will, thus, follow reverse chronological order, relative to your educational background and training, your certifications, and your employment. Under each of the two positions you have held, you will list your major task responsibilities and accomplishments. Following the employment sections, most chronological resumes will include a section that highlights pertinent strengths and qualities. In the CPA field, for example, a strong sense of business ethics and the ability to persevere no matter how difficult and complex the task is.  If these can be supported with specific examples, all the better!
  2. Functional:  If you are seeking a position that is outside of your current career, if you have a ‘bumpy” employment history with gaps, or if you have had numerous positions with similar task responsibilities, you should write a resume of the functional variety. This type of resume highlights skills rather than employment. If you have had too many employers or “holes” in employment, these will not be so apparent if you focus on skill sets. If you are a personnel specialist, for example, who has had an accumulated several years of unemployment or underemployment, you will want to set up a section for each specific skill, responsibility or accomplishment throughout your personnel career, using action words to define and describe them, and then provide a listing of companies and/or employers under whom you developed these skills or accomplished these important tasks.
  3. Combination: Applicants who are uncomfortable with a complete functional resume can certainly use this format, and there are lots of resume templates of this type to emulate. Essentially, this type may be appropriate for those who have gaps or too many similar positions but are concerned that some chronology may be necessary. The best method is to make the first page a functional one and then provide a brief breakdown of companies and/or employers, perhaps by years.

Of course, you want to produce a stellar resume.  Format is not the only consideration, however. A bit of research on the company to which you apply will perhaps yield some important “buzz” words or terms that can be incorporated into your self-presentation.