Putting together a resume is very serious business. Often it is the first impression you will make on a prospective employer. Hopefully, after looking over your resume, the employer will grant you the opportunity to make a second impression.
If we look at the job search as a marketing campaign, we can then look at the resume as a print advertisement or a marketing brochure. If you take a look through a magazine you will see many ads. Try to find one that tells you to buy a product because the company needs to increase its profits. You will be hard pressed to find such a beast. The ads you see tell you what the manufacturer's product can do for you — make your smile bright, your hair shiny, or simply make your life better.
When putting together your resume, evaluate the needs of the employer and then determine how you can fill those needs. If you have access to a computer (which you do if you are reading this article) and a quality printer, you can design a targeted resume for every job for which you apply. If you have to mass produce your resume, you will have to do a little guesswork to come up with one that will impress everyone.
Choosing a Resume Format
Next you must determine what type of resume format to use. There are three basic types: chronological, functional, and a combination of the two. The following sections will explain what each of these types are and when to choose one type over another. Chronological Resume
The chronological resume is probably the one with which most people are familiar. On it, work experience is listed in reverse chronological order (most recent job first). The period of time during which you were employed is listed first, followed by the name of the employer and then the employer's location. A description for each job is also included. Following work history is a section on education. If you are trying to show career growth, a chronological resume may be the way to go. If your most recent job is store manager, while the one before that is department manager, and the one before that is sales clerk, you can show a history of promotion. However, if your work history has been spotty or if it has been stagnant you shouldn't use a chronological resume. If you are changing careers, a chronological resume is not for you either. Functional Resume
A functional resume categorizes skills by function, emphasizing your abilities. This is useful if you are changing careers and want to show how you can transfer your skills. As stated previously, it is important to show prospective employers what you can offer them. A functional resume does just that. A functional job objective is given first, followed by several paragraphs, each discussing a different job function. Examples of functions are: Supervision and Management, Accounting, and Writing and Editing. Begin with the one you want to emphasize most. If you are customizing your resume for different employers, you can change your functional job objective as well as the order in which you list the functions. However, if you don't list your previous jobs, the person reviewing your resume may be suspicious. Combination Resume
A combination resume is exactly what it sounds like — it combines a functional resume with a chronological one. An objective is listed at the top, after your name and address, of course. Following that are paragraphs describing job functions. A section titled "Employment Experience" comes next. That is where the chronological part of the resume comes in. List employers and dates in this section. Do not offer further descriptions here as you have already described your abilities in the functional part of this resume. This is a useful format if you are changing careers but have a solid employment history. I also find it useful if your job duties on a single job were very diverse and you want to stress your various abilities. If you spent a long time at one job but moved up through the company, you might want to use a combination resume.