Tiffany J. Franklin, M.S. Ed.
Resumes are the building block of all job searches, so the format you choose is critical for the success of your search. Here are the three styles and when to use them.
1. Reverse Chronological
This is the most common and lists your most recent experience first. It includes bullet points under each job describing your duties and most importantly, your accomplishments. It’s best to use this style when applying for jobs related to your most recent positions and it’s great for showing how you’ve grown in your career.
2. Skills Based (Functional)
This type lists skill areas related to a job and bullet points under each that demonstrate when you have utilized that skill. At the bottom, there is a listing of your positions and companies without details under each. This one can be disorienting for a recruiter (like being lost without Google maps) because it does not provide context under each job. I’ve heard recruiting colleagues wonder if candidates using this style were trying to hide job hopping or a negative experience with their last employer.
This is a combination of the two above and uses the best of each. After the Career Summary, add a section called Key Skills and choose 3 skills that you can tell are most important from the target job description. For each skill, write a few bullets starting with strong action verbs that demonstrate your past success with that skill and quantify (if possible) to show the scope of your impact. These bullets can be pulled from any job you have had and mention the company and job title in the bullet. The resume proceeds like the reverse chronological one after this section, but with abbreviated descriptions under each job. This format is great for people with broad experience who want to highlight a few key areas. It’s also useful for those making a career transition and often preferred by the executive clients I’ve coached. If you have had many jobs or a bad experience at your last one, this can be helpful as well.
There are many choices when it comes to formatting your resume. Which of these will help you most effectively tell your story?
Tiffany Franklin is an executive career coach who works with clients of all levels with resume overhauls, cover letters, LinkedIn updates, mock interviews, and career exploration.
Be sure to check out Tiffany’s other career site for Radiologic Technologists: www.radiologytechniciancareers.com.
Photo credit: peepo/iStockphoto.com
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