Well-written, effective resumes open doors and help you land more job interviews.
However, a subpar resume will encourage employers and recruiters to pursue other candidates. That’s why it’s important for every jobseeker to learn how to write a resume according to best practices. Here is what a resume should accomplish:
- A resume should accurately and concisely detail your professional history and identify what you, as an employee, can bring to the table for a future employer.
- It should cover your top skills, best achievements, and educational history—and it should truly sell your abilities and the unique value you can bring to an organization.
- The information in your resume should paint a picture of the type of employee you are and show employers what you are capable of accomplishing.
Behind Every Great Resume is a Great Resume TemplateThey say, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but they also say, “looks matter”. So it’s safe to assume that employers and recruiters will judge you and your professional endeavors (at least a little bit) based on the appearance of your resume. Read our advice below on selecting a resume template that helps rather than hurts your quest for the job.
An organized layout suggests that you are an organized person.
When you learn how to write a resume well, the way you present yourself on paper provides insight into your professional identity. A cluttered, lengthy resume won’t show off your best talents and achievements. If you aren’t able to showcase your experience, employers will wonder if you are capable of organizing your work assignments.It doesn’t matter if you are the most qualified worker in the history of employment; if your resume doesn’t convey this, employers won’t see this side of you.
A great resume format is easy to scan.
Most employers and recruiters don’t take time to read your resume. As previously mentioned, an ATS will process your resume first and discard it if it’s difficult to scan and it doesn’t include the correct keywords. Even after your resume makes it into human hands, it’s unlikely that they’ll spend more than six seconds looking at it.This means that you must structure your resume neatly; additionally, you must place your most marketable experiences in prominent positions on the page. Test your resume: Set a timer on your phone for six seconds, then scan your resume. Did you see everything that you want an employer to see? If not, then edit your resume again.
Your resume is a great opportunity to brand yourself.
Professional branding is important for experienced jobseekers. Why? This is a way to control how employers perceive you. If you work in a creative industry, then you might want to consider adding some subtle style to your resume to show your innovative side.But, a financial applicant should stick to a bare bones layout to show their straightforward thinking. No matter what you pick, just remember to go easy on resume style. A colored bar beneath your contact information shows creative style, but a picture of flowers just confuses machines and hiring managers alike.
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What’s the Best Resume Format: Functional vs. Chronological?
Chronological Resume FormatThe chronological resume style is the standard format that is most widely accepted by employers and recruiters. Even if you think a functional resume would better suit your needs, it’s smart to learn how to write a resume this way as well since it’s the standard.This format allows little room for confusion; it lists where you’ve worked and the dates you worked there. Your relevant talents are highlighted in the skills section. This is the format to use for jobseekers with work experience and no significant career gaps.
Why use this format:
- The chronological format is a classic format that is familiar to your readers. Unlike the functional resume, the chronological format allows for easy skimming and fewer questions from your readers.
- This format paints a clear picture of your professional history. Employers and recruiters will be able to quickly understand your career progression.
Don’t use this format if:
- You should avoid this format if you want to downplay a significant employment gap
- This format won’t help you if you are changing industries.
- You might want to skip the chronological format if you’ve worked in relatively similar positions for your entire career or held the same job for a very long period of time.
Functional Resume FormatThe functional format is great for candidates who don’t quite fit the mold of typical applicants. Maybe you took a few years off of work to raise a family or care for an ailing loved one, or perhaps you’ve switched industries during the course of your career.Also, the function resume format is great for applicants with little to no work experience because the functional format is focused on skills, rather than work experience and accomplishments.
Why use this format:
- Consider using this format if including dates on your resume might bring unwanted attention to a large gap in employment
- You’re an older worker who doesn’t want to invite bias based on age
- You don’t have a lot of work experience or you have many years of experience in the same job.
Don’t use this format if:
- Remember that this format is not the norm. If you don’t feel comfortable trying something different, then don’t.
- Does your work experience follow a typical pattern of growth and advancement? If so, then skip the functional format. You’re better off utilizing the chronological style.
- If the job description explicitly states that the employer will only accept a chronological resume, then honor its needs.