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Choose your style

Organizing your resume in chronological order is not necessarily the best way to showcase your skills. Many job seekers use this traditional format, and it may be right for you, but if you're changing career paths or re-entering the workforce, a different style may be better. Here are the three most common resume templates and how they can best serve your needs.

Employers find chronological resumes, the old standby, easy to read because it gives them a simple work history and allows them to quickly detect any gaps in employment. Listings appear in reverse chronological order with the most recent job experience first.

For an example ...

Most suitable when:

  • Last few employers and job titles are impressive.
  • Work record is steady.
  • Goals and objectives are clear.
  • Career field is staying the same.
  • Job history shows advancement.

Least suitable when:

  • Emphasizing capabilities not used in recent jobs.
  • Changing careers.
  • Unstable work record.
  • Looking for your first job.
  • Trying to de-emphasize age.
  • Gaps in employment exist.
  • Away from the job market for a period of time

Less common but still effective, functional resumes organize information by skills or job accomplishments instead of chronology. Subheads are often used to emphasize areas of expertise, such as Sales, Technical, or Management Skills.

For an example ...

Most suitable when:

  • Changing career paths.
  • Lack direct experience for job opening.
  • Prefer to focus on accomplishments as opposed to work history.
  • No continuous growth or progression in career.
  • Re-entering the workforce.
  • Held similar positions for a long period of time.
  • Variety of unrelated work experiences.
  • Work has been freelance, consulting or temporary.
  • Playing down employment gaps.
  • Entrepreneur transitioning back into the corporate world.

Least suitable when:

  • Wish to highlight your promotions and career growth.
  • Lack achievements.
  • New to the working world (first job).
  • Specific past employers are prestigious.

These resumes combined chronological and functional approaches, tying work history, career achievements and marketable skills together. Subheadings are used to capture key skills, while work history is mentioned in a separate, usually smaller section. This form is ideal when creating an electronic resume, as you can include a paragraph of keywords or summary of skills.

For an example ...

Most suitable when:

  • Successful work record.
  • Patterns of accomplishments and skills.
  • Changing jobs in a related career field.
  • Worked in the same position for many years.
  • Trying to de-emphasize work history and spotlight transferable skills.

Least suitable when:

  • Lack of established work history.
  • No track record of career achievements.
  • New to the workforce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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