Thinking about updating your resume? Are you confused as to what
your resume should look like? Why are there so many hard core, steadfast
rules to follow?
As a professional recruiter and career coach for the past 14 years,
I have reviewed, edited and created thousands of resumes. One thing
I've learned over the years is that everyone has an opinion as to
what your resume should look like.
I believe a lot of the decisions you will make will be dependent
on what you want your resume to do for you. Do you want to change
careers? Are you looking for a new opportunity in the same industry?
Do you want to move into management with a new employer? Once you
determine the goal for your resume, I suggest the following options
for resume formats.
The Chronological Resume
This is the traditional resume that starts with your most recent
(or current) position and works backward listing your entry level
or early work experience.
Employers only care about the last 15 years. After that, they figure
you can't remember much about past positions or the people you worked
with will no longer be at the organization.
This style is the most popular and works great if you plan to stay
in your industry or career because it shows the depth of your experience.
The Functional Resume
This type of resume highlights three or four of your strengths/talents
that act as functional headers.
Your experience will be written as accomplishment statements highlighted
with a bullet point below the appropriate header (see last week's
article for examples). Chronological work experience (name of employer,
title and dates) will be at the end of the resume or most likely
on the second page, which forces the reader to focus on what skills
you bring to the table.
This style is great if you plan to switch careers or industries
because the emphasis is on what you can do, not where you have been.
Warning: Not all human resource (HR) professionals like to read
this style; they think you're trying to hide something.
The Combination Resume
This resume is a combination of both the chronological and functional
Each employer experience (job you've held) is listed chronologically.
You then put three or four functional headers with the accomplishment
statements (bullet points) under the appropriate header.
This resume style works great if you have had long-term employment
(five or more years) with your current and/or last employer.
Resume length is another bone of contention. I believe one page
is appropriate for new graduates, those with fewer than five years
experience or if someone has worked for only one employer. Two page
resumes are fine for people with more than five years experience
or anyone in management positions.
One and a half page resumes are not a good idea since it looks
incomplete. In this situation it is best to cut it down to one page.
Three or more pages are never advised except for curriculum vitaes
(CVs) needed for academic positions where a list of publications
If you require a two-page resume, make sure you put a header at
the top of the second page that has your name and page number. I
have seen hundreds of unidentifiable second pages floating among
piles of resumes on someone's desk, with no idea who the second
page belongs to. It should look like this example:
Sarah T. Michel             Page
It is never advised to staple the pages of your resume together,
however, using a paper clip is acceptable. Also, use an easy to
read font like Times Roman, and keep the type size no smaller than
10 points. The resume will be easy to read and will stay intact
if e-mailed (next week's article will be on the do's and don'ts
of e-mailing resumes and finding a job on the Internet).
Always have someone proof read your resume. Misspelled words and
grammatical errors are unacceptable, and will ensure your resume
is tossed aside.
Print it on a high-count (resume quality) paper; do not use regular
copy paper. I recommend using ivory, cream or white paper. Stay
away from colored or fancy printed paper. It does not copy well
and looks unprofessional.
You should always snail mail a hardcopy to the prospective employer,
even if you plan to e-mail your resume.
Remember, your resume is what most people look at first to decide
whether or not to grant you an interview. Make sure it represents
you well and accomplishes the career goal that you set out to meet.
Want to know more? Visit Sarah Michel's website -- PerfectingConnecting.com
Copyright 2005 Sarah Michel.