A resume is not something you complete and forget about until there is a new experience or skill to add. Even the best resumes can be improved, and serious job seekers should continually evaluate and rework their resumes. Changes to resume format, even when minor, can make all the difference when it comes to landing an interview. Your goal is to set yourself apart from all the other applicants, so consider a variety of formats to determine the best one.
Different Resume Formats for Different Jobs
Many job seekers have only a single version of their resume. If they plan to apply to only one job, that’s fine, but most will apply to several different jobs. Consider your resume in light of each job you apply for. Does the job description mention specific skills that are required? Align your skills section to this as much as possible, packing in keywords that catch the eye of the employer.
If you don’t have highly relevant experience, consider using a chrono-functional hybrid resume format in which you put your strongest skills up front, using your work experiences and accomplishments to demonstrate those skills.
Have you emphasized previous job responsibilities that will transfer over to the desired position? For example, if you are looking for a job as a sales person, put an emphasis on jobs that show your ability to communicate with customers, even if this means including a job you once held as a cashier. However, it is also important to give the employer an idea of your achievements. If you bumped up profit margins for a previous company, list this and give a percentage. This will show the employer that you might achieve similar results at their company.
Shuffling Sections for Different Jobs
Move the sections within your resume to different places depending on the focus you would like to provide an employer. If you are on a specific career track and wish to convey your experience in the field and increasing levels of responsibility, place your employment history at the top of the resume so your career trajectory will be the first thing the employer observes. The history should be in reverse chronological order, as it is with most traditional resumes.
If you are applying for a job in a new or different field, consider putting a skills/areas of expertise section at the top of your resume under the contact information. You may use a table to list out your skills or areas of expertise. Be sure to prioritize the skills that are the most directly applicable to the job. Making the skills section the first thing a hiring manager sees can work to your advantage if you have gaps in your employment history or a series of short-term jobs, drawing attention away from your irregular work history.
Design Your Own Style
Consider using a font besides the common choices of Times New Roman and Arial; just make sure it’s professional and readable. However, keep each page black or blue and white, especially when applying for a job in a more formal business setting. Taking advantage of bullets, bold, underline, italics and other stylistic elements, create a coherent and visually appealing organizational structure.
The process of customizing a resume format for different jobs is not something everyone finds easy. If you find yourself unable to come up with lots of ideas, LiveCareer has plenty of resources about writing great resumes as well as resume samples and builders.
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