Purpose of a Resume
The purpose of a resume is to get an interview. Most people who read your resume will spend an average of about 30 seconds looking at it, so it has to catch their eye immediately. It should include a brief history of your accomplishments, an introduction of yourself to a prospective employer and a first impression of you.
Properties of a Resume
There are four properties that every resume should have. A resume should be Neat, Concise, Organized and Accurate.
It should appear professional and have plenty of white space
It should present the facts in a brief, easy-to-read style and be 1-2 pages in length.
The first page should focus on your skills and experience
The reader should immediately be able to see your strong points
The information that you provide should be error free and completely honest.
Different Types of Resumes
There are three primary types of resumes: Chronological, Functional, and Combination. There are variations on each type of resume but the basics remain the same. The type of resume you create depends on how much experience you have in your desired occupation. Regardless of the type of resume, you will usually give the details of your last 11-15 years of work experience.
A chronological resume typically lists each job you have held in order, beginning with the most recent. This type works well for the person with several years of relevant experience, especially when the job titles you’ve held show an ever increasing amount of responsibility. The modified chronological resume allows for changing the order in which jobs are presented to highlight those most relevant to the position being sought.
Functional resumes are good for people with too little or too much experience. If you do not have years of experience in the hospitality industry, but you have abilities and skills you have learned as a student, volunteer, or through a hobby or sport, the functional resume lets you highlight these strengths and downplay your lack of industry experience.
A functional resume gives you more flexibility in organizing information. It’s very useful if covering your years of experience in a chronological resume would require more than two pages, or if the description of your responsibility in several jobs would be repeating the same information.
Professional resume writers and career counselors often recommend combining the best qualities of the chronological and functional resume. Your work history is presented in chronological order, but it may come after a review of your functional skills and your achievements. Another variation of the Combination Resume lists your jobs in chronological order, but in place of a description of responsibilities and duties, you list achievements and demonstrated skills used or learned. These resumes are useful for those who may have a gap in their work history, are transitioning to another field or who may have been working in a field different than the one they are now pursuing.
Parts of a Resume
There are a number of parts that make up a resume, some are mandatory and some are interchangeable based on the type of resume you chose to use. The following section will list and explain the most common. For more information on how you lay out your resume, feel free to look at our resume templates page by clicking here!
Your name, address, phone/fax number and e-mail address should be the first items on your resume. You should use your full name and address without abbreviations and your phone/fax number should be given beginning with the area code. Your E-mail address should be a professional one. If your E-mail address is NOT professional, take the time to make yourself a new one. Believe it or not, something as simple as an unprofessional E-mail address can cause your resume to be immediately passed over. If you have a LinkedIn page, you can include a link to your page in this section as well.
This is a brief statement that both focuses on and emphasizes the type of position you desire. The tricky part is to keep it short, but not so short that you don’t fully describe the position you desire, or limit yourself from other similar opportunities. If you choose to use a Summary that contains your objective, you do not need to use an Objective.
Highlights of Qualifications
This section should immediately make your resume stand out. It consists of several brief statements highlighting your strong points and qualifications. It aligns directly with what is being identified in the job posting as a need/requirement. A typical group of highlights might include any of the following:
- A previous/current job title that speaks to the position you are applying for
- Years of relevant experience you have
- Summary of outstanding skills and abilities
- Foreign language proficiency including American Sign Language
- A significant accomplishment (briefly stated)
- A reference to yourself (Are you a team player? Goal oriented? etc.)
This section would include skills that are very specific to the job you’re applying for.
- Computer expertise (including specific software or processes)
- Industry specific skills (Welding, heavy machine operation, CAD, etc…)
All experience related to the field of your current objective should receive important treatment and be mentioned. Include the following information:
- Name and location of employer
- What the organization does (if it is not clear)
- Your functional title
- The dates that you worked there
- Your duties and responsibilities
- Your significant achievements and contributions to this position
The names, locations, attendance dates and degrees from colleges, university, trade school, etc. should be listed, starting from the most recent, in chronological order. Specific dates are not necessary unless you’ve achieved relevant accomplishments within the last 5 years. If you have worked in a position for a while, it is not necessary to emphasize education as much due to the fact that you’ve probably gained more education while actually working on the job than you would in a classroom.
Professional Affiliations and Special Honors/Awards
Volunteer and Community Service
May be used to identify skills that are required in the job description but not in your work history. Also provides a way to communicate continued use of skills while not actively employed.
Wait until requested before providing references. This will allow you to provide the most appropriate references for the specific job you are applying for. You may wish to let a potential employer know that you have contacts who will support your employment and have a separate document ready to hand over during an interview.
WRITING YOUR RESUME:
Resumes should be done on high-grade, letter-sized bond paper in a clean standard typeface such as Arial or Tahoma in 11-12 pt. font. Avoid fonts like Brush Script and Broadway and avoid using unnecessary effects like underlining, bulleting and bolding. Paper should be white, cream or light gray and envelopes should match the resume paper.
Avoid use of jargon or outdated skills and proofread your resume for spelling and content. It may be beneficial to have at least two other people proofread your resume so that you can catch any mistakes that you missed or didn’t know existed.
Targeted Resumes should be strategically focused on the specific job for which you are applying. When posting online on career sites such as CareerBuilder, make sure that you are clear on the type of positions you are applying for and how your skills and experience align with the position. Be sure that it is written for a specific company or a specific position. If you have skills that can be utilized for more than one occupation, you need to create separate, targeted resumes for each occupation.