Resume is a very important tool which talks on behalf of you when you are not present. First impression is the best impression resume is your first entry into the organization and is a platform which should highlight every achievement and relevant strength of yours. There are as many opinions on the subject of resumes preparation. Some of the more popular opinions are centered on the use of Resume titles like Career objectives, Resume Summary, Keywords, Reference Statements, Personal Interests, Employment Dates, Graphics, Fonts and of course the length of the resume.
Then there is the question of format. Should the style of a resume be Chronological, Functional or combination? One thing is certain – the resume should sell a candidate’s strengths, qualifications and answer a HR manager’s question. It should also have full information be organized and provide specific information that a HR manager needs to decide whether a candidate is well suited for a position.
Purpose of a Resume
A resume is a personal document that communicates your career objective and value to a company. A strong resume is carefully planned and developed in an appropriate designed to showcase your experience and accomplishments in direct relation to a specific position.
Good Resume Writing Tip’s
- Highlight you name – Bold and Enlarge at the top.
- Keep the sections lined up and consistent.
- Use proper writing style.
- Font size shouldn’t be smaller than 11pt or larger than 12pt, except for your Name and Headings.
- Do not include pronouns such as “I,” company street addresses, salary, or reasons for leaving.
- Two-page resume: be sure to fill the second page at least halfway down the page.
- Place “Continued” at the bottom of page one, and your name and “Page 2” at the top of page two.
- Use graphics sparingly unless you are in a creative field. It is safe to use a border and shading.
- Leave out personal data, photos, and unrelated hobbies, unless you are an actor/actress or model.
To help you understand the main differences between various resume styles, the following illustrates the same resume in chronological, functional, and combination formats. Also provided below is a comprehensive list of common mistakes to avoid and useful tips to help your resume to compete in today’s competitive workplace.
Chronological Resume Style
This is the most commonly used resume format. It is straightforward and easily traces a candidate’s career path, progression in a given field. Experience and accomplishments are listed in reverse chronological order with the most recent job positioned first. Because it leaves little to the imagination and makes it difficult to hide employment gaps, the chronological resume is the most preferred format of employers and recruiters.
Functional Resume Style
This is a skills-based achievement-oriented format. Experience and accomplishments are listed in sections with specific headings that extract and showcase ONLY what is directly applicable to the targeted position. Because it is somewhat vague sometimes omits dates, it is the least preferred resume format of employers and recruiters.
Combination Resume Style
This format combines the chronological and functional formats into one. As with the functional format, it lists experience and accomplishments in sections with specific headings directly applicable to the targeted position. However it lists employment information under a SEPARATE category (only title, company, location, and dates). Since it easily tells the reader how a candidate is qualified for a position while also providing an employment history, it has fast become a favorite resume format amongst many employers and recruiters.
Common Mistakes – Do’s and don’ts in the Resume
- Name, address – too small or too big (Headings, Name should be at least font size 14-16, Address 11- 12)
- Font size for entire resume is too small or too big or all in caps (not counting the headings, text size should be not be smaller than 11, not larger than 12)
- Needs an Objective or Title Heading (Make it clear to the reader what position you are seeking. If you are unsure than opt for career counseling or purchase a book on career choices)
- You could use a Summary or Profile Statement (Show your career overview)
- Objective is weak, unclear or vague (State what you can do for the employer)
- Resume should support career Objective (Be sure to make a connection)
- Lacks accomplishments or Career achievements (Sell it, don’t tell it!)
- Don’t lacks industry-specific terminology or Keywords (“speak” the reader’s language)
- Sentences are too choppy-five words per bullet (expand make it interesting)
- Wording is weak – Statements are too simple (Use action verbs and a thesaurus)
- Same information repeated too many times (Use a functional or combination format)
- Too many typing and grammatical errors (read it backwards – have a friend proof-read it!)
- Unrelated jobs go back too far in years (Keep it to 7-10 years in most cases)
- Includes too much unrelated information (Stay on track – Keep the position in mind)
- Does not include enough related information (Show how well rounded you are)
- Uses pronouns – “I, He, She, His, Her” (not necessary)
- Style is outdated looking (headings are underlined and followed by colons “:”, the word “duties” is used, and uses “responsibilities:” as subheadings)
- Second page is too short – only a third down or less (condense or combine)
- Second page does not include your name (what if the second page is misplaced?)
- Too much or not enough white space (Looks empty, inexperienced)
- Uses the full address for employers (List only the Town and State)
- Uses full employment dates such as 25/11/09 (list only the month and year)
- Reason for leaving or explains situation (Keep it for the interview discussion)
- Includes a Professional References “Available Up on Request” statement at the bottom of the resume (not wrong, but not necessary. Remember, this is not an option. If the employer wants references, they will ask for them)
- Includes a cover letter (Use separate sheet)
- Includes unrelated personal interests and hobbies such as “enjoy reading, long walks, music, travel, knitting, and puzzles” (include interests ONLY if it is related to your career Objective)
- Includes personal information such as homeowner, two children (Leave off it is unrelated to the position and risks possible discrimination)
Use your resume to obtain an interview, not a job. Most prospective employers decide whether or not they want to interview you after reading the first few lines.