Thinking about updating your resume? Are you confused as to what your resume should look like? Why are there so many hard core, steadfast rules to follow? As a professional recruiter and career coach for the past 14 years, I have reviewed, edited and created thousands of resumes. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that everyone has an opinion as to what your resume should look like.
I believe a lot of the decisions you will make will be dependent on what you want your resume to do for you. Do you want to change careers? Are you looking for a new opportunity in the same industry? Do you want to move into management with a new employer? Once you determine the goal for your resume, I suggest the following options for resume formats.
The Chronological Resume
This is the traditional resume that starts with your most recent (or current) position and works backward listing your entry level or early work experience. Employers only care about the last 15 years. After that, they figure you can’t remember much about past positions or the people you worked with will no longer be at the organization. This style is the most popular and works great if you plan to stay in your industry or career because it shows the depth of your experience.
The Functional Resume
This type of resume highlights three or four of your strengths/talents that act as functional headers. Your experience will be written as accomplishment statements highlighted with a bullet point below the appropriate header (see last week’s article for examples). Chronological work experience (name of employer, title and dates) will be at the end of the resume or most likely on the second page, which forces the reader to focus on what skills you bring to the table. This style is great if you plan to switch careers or industries because the emphasis is on what you can do, not where you have been. Warning: Not all human resource (HR) professionals like to read this style; they think you’re trying to hide something.