Transition Guidance

Success during your transition is the result of an honest self-assessment, developing sound financial and career planning objectives, aggressively pursuing your job search strategies and a little hard work!

Title:Resume Writing Tips & Formats

Author:Robert Lindsey. All rights reserved.

Resumes are designed for one thing, to get you an invitation for an interview! The average employer spends just 20-30 seconds reviewing a resume! Your resume must stand out above the rest to get you an interview. Your resume should be a concise, preferably one page (certainly not more than 2-3 pages), factual and positive listing of your education, employment history and accomplishments. The information in your resume should be relevant and should support your job or career objective directly and your character in general.

Revising Your Resume:

If you already have a resume - even if it's a few years old - scan it for less than ten seconds and consider it based on the following criteria: What kind of impression does it make? Does it appeal to your eye? Look at your resume's details. Critique its content. The biggest weakness of most resumes is lack-luster or unclear job skill descriptions. Now, based on your review, re-design you resume's layout and format. Use dynamic terms and clarify your skill descriptions.

Some Resume Suggestions:

  • Choose a specific resume format, e.g., functional, chronological, CV, etc.
  • Keep the resume visually neat and easy to scan.
  • Keep the resume easy to read (no complicated jargon or acronyms).
  • Keep the resume short so it will be read.
  • Relate your objective to the position for which you're applying.
  • Keep the vocabulary oriented to the targeted audience.
  • Stress your responsibilities and accomplishments.
  • State all information in a factual and positive manner.
  • Keep all material relevant to your abilities and objective.
  • Be concise by carefully weighing your choice of words.
  • Have the resume critiqued by several observant people with experience in the specific career field.
  • Accept positive criticism to improve your resume.
  • Make certain that there are NO mistakes or typos.
  • Keep a list of references to made available upon request.
  • Send a personal cover letter with every resume (unless it is specifically requested not to).
  • Remember, your resume is one of your key tools getting you in the door for an interview!

Resume Formats:

While there are many different ways to designing a resume (e.g., chronological, functional, combination, analytical, targeted, curriculum vitae, etc.), there is no universally accepted format. However, of the many different resume formats, two types are more used and recommended than the rest. These are the Chronological and Functional resume formats. In both types of formats, you should use a career Objective statement to target a particular type of work, job or industry. Use a Professional Profile section to highlight your strongest personal responsibilities, achievements and skills.

Chronological Resumes:

Use a chronological resume format, if:

  • You've worked for employers likely to be known to the people who will be reviewing your resume.
  • You're applying for a job in a conservative field such as banking, accounting, or law.
  • You have a strong, continuing work history directly related to the career direction you now wish to pursue.

Many people choose the chronological format because it is easier to write and employers find it easy to read and interpret. Arrange your work experience starting with your current or most recent job (or degree, if you're a student or recent graduate) and work back from there, ultimately listing your first job last. Job titles, past employers' names and dates of employment should stand out. Be conscious of the continuity of your employment history, don't leave a large gap of unaccountable time. If you have such a gap, you may want to use the functional format instead.

Sample Chronological Resume Format:

  • Contact Info
    • Street Address
    • City, State, Zip Code
    • Home, Office, Mobile, and Email Address
    • A short description of your job or career objective.
    • Personal skills, responsibilities and/or accomplishments.
    • Date(s) of Employment, Job Title(s), Place(s) of Employment.
    • Job skills, responsibilities and/or accomplishments.
    • Type of degree(s), date(s) of graduation, name of school(s).
  • ACTIVITIES: (Optional)
    • Member or Officer, Name of Organization(s), Membership Date(s).
    • Description of activity(s), role(s), accomplishment(s).

Functional Resumes:

A functional format is best if:

  • Your background is a patchwork of education, work, volunteer and/or military experiences and breaks of employment.
  • You're hopeful to change careers and need to transfer skills learned in one profession to a new one.
  • You have little experience but have proven your competence in military, school, volunteer, home or internship situations.

To emphasize your areas of expertise, use a functional resume format, selective wording and action verbs. Headline the main paragraphs by type of function performed and include under these headings all the accomplishments associated with it. Present functional paragraphs in the order of, importance to your future goals, not chronologically. Identify the job functions in which you excel, so employers can identify whether your skills match their job requirements.

Sample Functional Resume Format:

  • Contact Info
    • Street Address
    • City, State, Zip Code
    • Home, Office, Mobile, and Email Address
  • OBJECTIVE: (Optional)
    • A short description of your job or career objective.
    • Personal skills, responsibilities and/or accomplishments.
    • Category of Experience(s):
    • Description of skill(s), responsibility(s), and/or accomplishment(s).
    • Date(s) of Employment, Job title(s), Place(s) of employment.
    • Type(s) of degree, Year(s) of graduation, and Name(s) of educational institution.
  • INTERESTS: (Optional)
    • Name/Type of activity(s).

Targeting Your Resume:

In theory, you should address each individual employer with a custom resume targeted to meet that specific employer's needs. You can do this by writing different variations of your objective statement and professional profile, and by writing the skills to match those different objectives. Depending on the targeted company, you can customize your resume by choosing whether you want the skills, or even the entire job, to appear in your current resume, (i.e., marketing skills for an advertising company or operations skills for a manufacturing one).

Resume Job Skills:

When describing your job skills and accomplishments - be concise. Weigh your choice of words carefully. Use phrases and/or bullets rather than complete sentences. If you don't have a definite purpose for something, leave it out. Select strong action verbs, concrete nouns and positive modifiers for emphasis e.g., "Designed, implemented and managed a new cost effectiveness program saving the agency $15,000.00."

Featured Employers all