Your resume format will really make the grade when you tailor it to the specific requirements of the job you want. Rather than submitting one generic resume for each position, follow a few of these tips to ensure that your resume stands out among the rest.
Selecting the Right Resume Format
Certain formats work better for certain situations. For positions that require a greater amount of experience, choose a chronological resume. This format has you list your work experiences in reverse chronological order, demonstrating how your skills sets have expanded throughout your work history. List each of your prior positions held, your employment dates and details about your job duties. Remember to focus on your career highlights, and emphasize information that shows you took a position of leadership. If you have unique skills or qualifications that may not fit into any traditional section on a resume, such as an Education section or an Experience section, consider creating a separate section entitled “Areas of Expertise.” Generally, this portion of your resume should appear before your Work Experience section.
Applicants who lack the experience to flesh out a solid Work Experience section have traditionally turned to the functional resume, which categorizes the information on your resume on the basis of your relevant skills, rather than as a timeline of your career accomplishments.
An alternative is the combination resume format, which organizes your work experience chronologically and then lists accomplishments or commendations you have received. Many employers are looking for a chronological resume, so this is a good way to take some of the advantages of a functional resume and apply them to a format recruiters are most familiar with.
Reworking an Existing Resume to Match a Different Resume Format
If you wrote a functional resume at one point and you want to take it and turn it into a chronological one, keep in mind that it’s not necessary to simply start fresh. Copy over each of your job titles, and then copy any accomplishments that were written underneath them. Organize the positions in reverse chronological order. With a bit of rewording to make the text fit this new pattern, you should have a brand new resume that suits a traditional work environment. Remember that the resume format you choose can make a difference in your chances of getting the great job you’ve always wanted.
Take a Moment to Consider Computer Formats
You might want to also consider what computer format you’re going to use if you plan on sending your resume via email. Some employers prefer paper resumes, but others expect you to email an attachment to them.
Many employers use a software package called the Applicant Tracking System that allows them to keep track of everyone who sent them a resume. You will want to save a formatted resume as a DOC file if at all possible in order to make it compatible with this system. If your employer requests a plain text resume, then it’s easy enough to make one. Head over to the file menu of your word processing package and use the “Save As” command. Select TXT or plain text format and then hit “save.”
If you’re curious to see templates for these different formats, then take advantage of LiveCareer’s selection of helpful tips and samples. When you learn how to tailor the information on your resume properly, you can be confident that you’ll land a job interview.