Choosing the Best Format for Your Resume
In today's highly competitive business climate, there is tremendous pressure to
fashion a resume that can easily be distinguished from the flood of other
resumes that pass over the recruiting office threshold. While one can certainly
be creative in crafting a resume, a job seeker does not want to be overly
imaginative. A resume that resembles a wedding invitation, for instance, would
be considered unprofessional and rather odd.
When formulating a resume, it is important that a job applicant follow standard
business procedures. By doing so, the applicant shows that he or she is
accustomed to working in a professional, success-oriented environment. While you
may be able to add your own personal touch to your resume, it is best if you
present a resume that is in one of the following formats: chronological,
functional, or a combination of the two.
Taking the Chronological Course
By and large, the chronological resume is the simplest to compose and, in fact,
many employers actually prefer it. The advantages of such a resume are that it
indicates clearly up at the top what you've been doing in your most recent
position. As the prospective employer scans down the resume, he or she can see
where you came from and what special skills you've acquired along the way.
And yet, there are some noteworthy drawbacks to such a resume. For instance, if
you've held a number of different jobs in the past few years, such a resume may
suggest instability and a lack of follow-through. A chronological resume can
also be a detriment to your job search if you have accumulated little work
experience, if there are gaping holes in your employment history, if you have
held widely divergent jobs, or if you've held the same job for a long period of time.
When Functional Works Best
If you believe that a chronological resume simply will not fit the bill, you
might be better off with a functional format. Such a format de-emphasizes job
history. Instead, the focus is on your professional achievements, your job
skills, and your education. With this resume, you'll be spotlighting your most
relevant qualifications near the beginning of the resume. You'll also be
confident that you are showcasing your assets in the best possible way.
Yet, there are also some noteworthy disadvantages to a functional resume. To
begin with, it is far from the standard format, so it can make an employer feel
uncomfortable. In addition, an employer might jump to the conclusion that you
are trying to hide important information by failing to list your jobs in
chronological order. In fact, a number of resume-writing experts recommend
avoiding the functional resume if at all possible.