Whether you’re writing your first resume or your hundredth, the issue of resume formatting can present itself. Here is some helpful advice about how to format your resume and how to present your experience and skills in a way that lets you stand out as a stellar job candidate.
How to Start Your Resume
There should be no confusion about how to format your resume at the start; every resume should begin with your basic contact information, including your name, email address, city of residence and phone number. Make sure your email address sounds professional. It’s helpful to create a separate email account for job hunting if you expect to be sending and receiving many messages.
Chronological or Functional: How to format your resume Experience Section
The next section details your work experience, and this is where you may become puzzled about how to format your resume. There are two formats commonly used today, and which you should use depends on your work background and level of experience.
A chronological resume outlines your work experience in the order it was acquired, starting with your most recent job and going backwards. It’s a perfect choice if you have progressed within an industry, especially in a professional related to the job you’re applying to.
A functional resume, on the other hand, places the most helpful information first, so for example, your most relevant experience would be at the top, followed by less-relevant experiences. This allows you to highlight the jobs that potential employers want to see that might otherwise be buried in your resume. A functional resume is ideal for people who have switched careers and those who have taken time off work as it makes breaks in your work history less obvious, especially if you don’t include dates at all. It can also a benefit a recent graduate with little work experience to describe but whose skills qualify them for the job.
Formatting Employment History
Whichever general format you choose, if you’re providing your work history, list each job by the position title, followed by the name of your employer and the dates you held the job. Under each job entry, include five to eight bullet points that illuminate your accomplishments. Start each point with a verb, and use past tense, like “managed” or “trained,” for duties you have performed in the past and present tense, like “manage” or “train” for positions where you are still currently employed. If your employment history is light, title the section “Experience” and include relevant volunteer work and other experiences to convey your skills.
What to Include in Your Education Section
After listing your work experience, you need an education section. Include information about degrees you have earned or certifications in the field you are applying in. If you are a current student, provide your projected graduation date. List pertinent coursework. If you recently graduated, feel free to include GPA on your resume if it’s a 3.5 or above, and mention honorable distinctions such as magna cum laude.
How to Polish Your Resume
If you have had a lengthy career, it’s tempting to write a lengthy resume, but most recruiters will appreciate brevity. Try to keep your resume down to one page for every 10 years of professional experience.
Information related to professional licenses belongs in your education section. Don’t worry about mentioning hobbies, salary requirements or references unless you are asked about them. These topics may come up during an interview.
When you format your resume in an optimal way, you’ll be able to portray your talents in a way that can secure you the job you want. You’ll discover additional resume tips, including more information about how to format your resume, at LiveCareer.