A Career College and Job-Search Advice Column
Dr. Randall Hansen a nationally recognized career expert is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home of The Career Doctor.
If you have any college career or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Hansen writes this column on a biweekly basis.
In This Issue (03/28/03):
- Figuring out when to use chronological vs. functional resume
- Dealing with multiple gaps in employment history
- Writing powerful and effective resume job objectives
- Tackling the development of a curriculum vitae (CV)
|Q:||Janet writes: When should you use a chronological resume? When should you use a functional resume?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: You’re not going to like this answer: It depends. The resume format most in favor these days is the standard chronological resume which is organized around a straightforward employment history. Job-seekers with a solid employment history who are looking for advancement within their career field typically use a chronological resume. Employers and headhunters prefer the chronological resume because it’s easy to assess issues such as employment history qualifications and career advancement by a simple glance at the resume. Functional resumes downplay employment history in favor of functional skills clusters and are most used by new college grads career changers and job-seekers with employment gaps.
The answer I am giving to all my clients and students is this: In today’s job market it is critical to have resumes for all job-search situations. Thus I recommend developing both a functional and chronological resume for job-seekers in situations where a functional is typically the preferred. I also recommend having a least one electronic version of a resume as more and more of job searching moves to computer-based resume databases. The traditional print resume is not dead but it is losing ground daily to its electronic counterparts.
Remember that a resume is a statement of facts designed to sell your unique mix of education experience accomplishments and skills to a prospective employer. On the other hand remember that a resume is a marketing document so do not be modest; be clear about successes and accomplishments — and quantify whenever possible.
So what are the most important things to remember about resumes?
Read more in my latest article published on Quintessential Careers: What Resume Format is Best For You?
You should also consider reading this article about e-resumes written by my partner Katharine Hansen: The Top 10 Things You Need to Know about E-Resumes and Posting Your Resume Online.
|Q:|| SEH writes: How do you build a ‘Good Resume’ if you have LOTS of gaps in your job history?
I know that in order to get in to explain to someone face to face you need a way to get your foot in the door and trust me with my resume I’m not going anywhere!
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Employment gaps are always a challenge when developing a resume. Small gaps are not that unusual anymore as the employment landscape has changed over the last decade or so. If you have a large gap — or multiple gaps — however you are going to need to be a bit creative in dealing with the issue.
The ideal situation is when you can show you were doing something productive during your employment gap — getting additional training education certifications or working part-time freelancing consulting or volunteering.
If you were ill or dealing with a family emergency or simply out of the workforce by choice your best bet may be to develop a functional resume. A functional resume is organized around three or four skills areas (such as communications leadership customer service project management etc.). You then list key accomplishments from all your experiences within each skills cluster (such as directed marketing campaign that doubled annual sales over a three-year period while industry growth remained stagnant).
Be forewarned as mentioned in my response to the first question that employers and recruiters look suspiciously at functional resumes. However for some job-seekers a functional resume is really the only choice; thus the key is then developing a superior resume that wins over even the most diehard skeptic.
For more tips and advice read this article from Quintessential Careers: How to Handle a Gap in Your Job History.
|Q:||Mario writes: I was wondering how to put together a good objective for my resume…. the one I’m using currently says this: “My goal and objective is to finish technical school get a career in my major. After working that career for at least a year I will return to the university and get my Bachelor’s degree in C.I.S and Marketing.” I’m personally am not satisfied with this objective. Please revise it for me or tell me what you think it should be like.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I’m one of those career experts who feel that job objectives are often a waste of space on a job-seeker’s resume. Why? Three reasons. First the job-seeker’s objective should be evident both from the cover letter (that should always accompany a resume) and the resume itself. Second the majority of all job objectives I have ever seen have been horrible. Third there are often more important elements that need to be included on a resume.
Most job-seekers write overly wordy (too long) and vague job objectives that focus less on what they can offer employers and more on what they desire expect or want from employers.
Job objectives should be concise and strengthen the focus of your resume. Furthermore your job objective should be tailored to each job each employer.
To be brutally honest your job objective is bad. If you are using this job objective to find a job what employer cares about you finishing tech school; and worse that you only plan to stay a year before returning to school to get a bachelor’s degree. This objective would be sort of okay if you were using it on the resume you submitted with your application to technical school because it would show the admissions counselors that you have a career strategy.
Since I can’t even tell what type of job you are seeking let me give you a decent example of a job objective for someone seeking a help desk position: To provide unsurpassed technical support using my unique mix of experience skills and education.
Learn more tips get suggestions and see other examples in this article published on Quintessential Careers: Should You Use a Career Objective on Your Resume?
You’ll also find an amazing array of resume-writing resources in the Resume Resources section of Quintessential Careers.
|Q:||Diane writes: I am currently preparing an educational CV. I see your outline on the website. Do I label each area and then add my personal data? I’m really confused on how the layout should be and my CV is due this Friday. I appreciate any help you may render.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: In the U.S. the curriculum vitae — often called a CV or vita — tends to be used more for scientific and teaching positions than a resume. In other parts of the world a CV is more common than a resume.
The key thing to remember are the similarities between a resume and a CV — both have similar purposes — as marketing documents that provide key information about your skills experiences education and personal qualities that show you as the ideal candidate. Where a resume and a curriculum vitae differ is their use format and length. CVs typically have additional categories and are not limited to a certain number of pages.
The typical academic vita has most of these categories/headings:
As with resumes do not include personal information (age marital status etc.) photos salary information and the like.
And as with all job-search documents it’s best not only to carefully edit and proofread your CV but because vitas vary by profession and discipline I would also ask a trusted colleague or mentor to review and critique it for you.
Read more – and see some samples — in my article Preparing a Curriculum Vitae (CV) published on Quintessential Careers.