In previous columns, I’ve touched on the subject of resume format, but I’ve never addressed it directly. I know that the tried-and-true chronological format is preferred by many, and is alive and well on many a resume. This is not to say that this format is not a good way to go….I would simply like to suggest a different way of choosing your resume format.
Many of my clients are people who have been in the job market for more than a few years, who have often worked in a variety of settings, and who have a wealth of experience. For them, I usually suggest what is called a “combination” resume – that is, it is a combination of the standard chronological resume and a functional resume. The latter emphasizes skill sets and functional abilities while the “chron” resume highlights employment history.
I like to use a combo of the two, putting skills, functional abilities and accomplishments in the forefront, and then using the reverse chronological past job listing to reinforce these first sections. By placing relevant skills and abilities (and education, too, if it fits) upfront, you’re giving a prospective employer your best points first, and then backing them up with your history. An earlier column, “Put the Good Stuff Up Front”, encouraged resume writers to do just that, to get their very best material in front of the reader right away. This prevents that prospective new boss from wading through your work history looking for relevant skills. Most hiring managers or HR directors do not want to have to work to find a candidate’s good points. It makes sense to make their jobs easier, right?
This combination format also works well in concert with the position description – you can list your skills, abilities, talents, accomplishments, and education as they relate to the job itself. You can also move these pieces around to suit your needs and to address an individual position description – if the job needs technical skills, move them up on your list, etc.
Make sure to write your resume edges and features your strongest points, and meets the needs described in the job outline. To do that may mean changing the format, but, change is good sometimes.
Article Written By Bettie Biehn, President and Founder of Career Change Central, LLC, an excellent source for customized, well-written and attractive resumes and cover letters. You can reach Bettie @ www.careerchangecentralllc.com.