Monday, 10 October 2011

Types of Resumes

You can choose to create your resume in any of three styles and pick from two alternative formats for their presentation. The three types of resumes are chronological, functional, and hybrid.(Chapter 3 helps you determine which type is best for you.) The two alternative formats are electronic and Internet.

The chronological resume
A chronological resume describes your work experience as history. It is structured around dates, employers, and titles, beginning with your most recent job and working backward to your first position in the workplace. This format enables you to demonstrate a steady progression of your work skills and responsibilities. On the other hand, this resume type also focuses the reader's attention on what you have done, rather than on what you can do. Indeed, the chronological resume is often described as the "obituary resume" because it's the perfect format for writing a worklife summary.

Chronological resumes are the most prevalent type of resume in circulation today - for many reasons. First, this account of a person's employment past is easier to write than either a functional or hybrid resume. It has a logical structure and requires information that the writer is likely to have readily at hand. Second, the chronological resume also makes the recruiter's job easier. It formats experience so that it can be quickly and accurately compared to the requirements for an open position and provides a reasonable structure for a follow-up interview.

The functional resume
A functional resume is a description of what you can do, arranged according to how well you can do it. Its organizing principle is your capabilities, not a chronology of your experience. In effect, a functional resume leads with your strength by focusing on your skills and abilities, regardless of when you applied them in your career. The details of your employment history are included only to the extent that they illustrate your functional expertise.

Functional resumes are not as popular as chronological resumes. They are more difficult to write and are not as easily used by recruiters. They require that you organize the presentation of your career information by the contribution you can make to a future employer rather than by what you did for an employer in the past. And they can be more difficult for recruiters to evaluate because they don't present your career in a traditional linear format. But functional resumes can be particularly effective in describing your qualifications if you don't have a long track record of work experience or if there are gaps in your work history - for child rearing, education, or to take time off - and therefore can't demonstrate an unbroken record of employment experience.

The hybrid resume
The hybrid resume, also called the "combination resume," attempts to combine the best elements of both the chronological and functional formats. It includes a brief history of your work record and a detailed description of your functional qualifications. Typically, you position the work history section after the presentation of your qualifications so that recruiters can quickly scan and evaluate your skills and experience.

Hybrid resumes are as difficult to write as functional resumes. Moreover, the addition of a work history section consumes space on your resume and can force you to cut information in order to keep the document at an acceptable length. Further, including two experience sections can cause overlap and redundancy in the information that you present. Nevertheless, this format provides almost everything a recruiter needs to evaluate your credentials: a summary of your past work record, plus a detailed description of the skills and abilities you can offer to a future employer.

The electronic resume
The electronic resume is a special format designed for the high-tech environment prevalent in human resource departments today. Many employers now rely on computer-based resume management systems to store and organize the resumes they receive from candidates. These systems require that your paper resume be converted into information that a computer can accept and use. The conversion is accomplished with a device called a scanner. Scanners are very sensitive, however, and can't process many of the standard features used in word-processed documents. Therefore, the only way you can ensure that your resume will be included in such systems is to reconfigure it to make the document "computer-friendly."

Electronic resumes involve adjustments to both the format and content of your resume. To help scanners "read" your resume, you have to eliminate all the underlining, italics, graphics, and other conventions you ordinarily use to structure and highlight your information. In addition, to help the computer find your resume in its database, you have to augment your resume's content with keywords that describe your background and skills. Finally, take precautions in producing your resume to avoid other problems that can affect its accurate processing into a resume management system.

The Internet resume
A growing number of employers are also using the Internet to acquire resumes from candidates. They post their open positions at their own Web sites and at commercial recruitment sites and even ask that responses to print advertisements be sent to a designated e-mail address. When you use the Internet to apply for these openings or to transmit your resume, you gain the advantage of speed. Your credentials arrive at the employer's human resource department where they can be processed and evaluated while the resumes of other job seekers are still working their way through the mail.

When you send your resume over the Internet, it usually travels in the body of an e-mail message. As with resume management systems, the software programs used to send e-mail don't transmit traditional printed documents well. The journey through cyberspace may garble their contents, rendering them unintelligible. To use the Internet effectively, you must configure your resume for online transmission. You have to convert it to plain unformatted text and narrow the margins of the document to a maximum of 65 characters. In addition, you must eliminate all Greek, mathematical, and business symbols from the body of your resume.
Don't send your resume as an attachment to an e-mail message. Many computer viruses are transmitted as attachments, so most human resource departments are now reluctant to open them.

Great Resume Examples

A great resume has four distinguishing features. Each of these features contributes to a positive first impression - in written form - and all of them are necessary if you want to make that impression linger.

A great resume sells your successes
A great resume promotes you as an employment candidate by highlighting your capabilities and accomplishments. It focuses on the successes you have enjoyed at work and the contributions you have made to other employers. Your resume is not the place to volunteer negative information; if asked, of course, you should provide a complete and accurate accounting of your employment record. A great resume describes the tasks you performed, the actions you took, and the benefits you delivered, all of which reaches beyond dull- sounding responsibility statements, such as "I was responsible for doing this or that." In short, a well-crafted presentation portrays you as a person who gets the job done, rather than someone who simply had a job description.

Some people are uncomfortable with proactively selling themselves. Pointing out your finest qualities is, however, the best way to differentiate yourself and your record. Selling your successes tells an employer that you understand what he or she is looking for and explains how, if hired, you are likely to perform on the job. Although you may feel like you're boasting, you're not. As the old saying notes, "It ain't braggin' if ya' done it."

A great resume tells the truth
A great resume is accurate and truthful. It portrays your employment record in the best possible light, but never by making misleading statements, fudging the facts, or exaggerating your role or accomplishments. Employers know that many resumes contain false information. As a result, they are now much more vigilant about checking employment dates, positions held, activities performed, and other details presented on resumes. And nothing will end your candidacy for that dream job more quickly than to be caught in a lie. So, don't risk it; rely on just the facts - without embellishment.

A great resume is error-free
A great resume has no spelling, grammatical, or typographical errors. It is neat, well written, and carefully edited. This type of resume gives employers two ways of looking at you: First, it provides the information they need to evaluate your employment record; and second, it affords them an insight into what you are like as a worker. An error-free resume demonstrates that you are a careful person who is attentive to detail and takes pride in your work.

A great resume is clear and complete, but also concise
A great resume or resume samples provides everything an employer needs to evaluate your qualifications for a position opening. Being complete, however, doesn't mean overstepping "enough, already." A great resume is never more than two pages long. Leave out any irrelevant information and facts that do not substantially enhance your employment credentials. In addition, present your information in short, hard-hitting statements that are easy to read and understand. Avoid flowery or pretentious language, run-on sentences, and long-winded paragraphs. 

First Step to Great Resume

The first step in writing an effective resume is to determine your employment objective: the specific goal you would like to achieve in your next job.
Setting your sights
Great resumes have a clear and distinct theme. Every detail included in the resume supports that theme and reinforces its impact on the reader. This theme is your objective; it has two elements:
  1. The attributes and circumstances you want in your next job
  2. A clear and positive relationship to your career and its advancement
In other words, your objective has both a near-term and a mid-to-longer-term purpose. The message you're conveying focuses on your immediate goal in the job market - to make very clear the kind of job, work, and employer you're seeking. Your objective also connects your past, current, and future jobs into an integrated strategy and direction for your career.

Determining your objective requires that you know what professional interests you have and what potential positions may allow you to express those interests. In addition, you need a realistic sense of your current skill level and expertise in your chosen field. You then can figure the level and scope of position for which you are competitive. Achieving such understanding involves both introspection and research. You must know yourself and the workplace and continually update that knowledge as you grow and develop and the workplace changes.

Taking stock of your interests and making sure that they are aligned with your work is necessary whether you're a first- time job seeker, a seasoned worker at mid-career, or a highly paid expert in your field. To help you with the process of self- exploration, use one or both of the following exercises.

The lottery. Imagine that you won a huge jackpot in the lottery. Suddenly, finances are no longer an issue. The mortgage is paid, money is put away for the kids' educations, and your retirement program is generously funded. Now, you can do whatever you want to do with your life's work. What would that be? What activity would get you up in the morning and give you the most satisfaction at the end of the day? Describe it in a few lines - either on paper or in an electronic document that you can refer to.

Your tombstone. You spend much of your life at work. Aside from your family, faith, and friends, your career is probably the most important aspect of your life. If you suddenly learned that you were terminally ill, how would you like to be remembered? What would you be most proud of having accomplished at work? What would give you the greatest satisfaction? Write your thoughts down.

If you're a first-time job seeker, you may have to research which occupations and specific jobs provide the opportunity to express these interests and abilities. If you are a seasoned workplace veteran who is in transition or seeking greater satisfaction in your work, you may need to explore alternative career fields. Whatever your situation, you can find such information at college and university career centers, state employment security offices, public libraries, and on the Internet. For example, America's Job Bank offers a Career InfoNet that can help you identify career paths and opportunities.

Getting help
If you need help pinpointing your career interests, you can find several assessment exercises available through professional career counselors and centers. These include the following:
  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
  • The Keirsey Temperament Test
  • The Self-Directed Search (SDS)
  • The Unisex Edition of the ACT Interest Inventory (UNIACT)
  • The Vocational Interest Inventory (VII)
  • The Career Occupational Preference System Interest Inventory (COPS)