Resume Writing Tips

Looking for a new role? Resume a little rusty? Maybe it’s the first time. Here are a few pointers to help you get started. It can be difficult because your resume is going to be reviewed by hiring managers and likely even software. (Applicant Tracking Systems)  Review these tips for selecting a format, a font, customizing, using keywords, explaining employment gaps, and more tips for writing a winning resume.

Choose the Right Resume Format

There are several basic types of resumes used to apply for job openings. Depending on your personal circumstances, there are several to choose from.  The most popular are the chronological, functional, combination, and targeted resume.  Each type is useful for different purposes. Therefore, when deciding which type of resume to use, think about your personal situation.  Below is more information on each type of resume, and when to use each.

  • Chronological Resume

A chronological resume starts by listing your work history, with the most recent position listed first. Below your most recent job, you list your other jobs in reverse chronological order. Make sure you list the Company Name, Position Held, Dates, and a brief overview of your role.

Employers typically prefer this type of resume because it’s easy to see what jobs you have held and when you have worked at them. This is the most common resume type.

This type of resume works well for job seekers with a strong, solid work history. If you are just starting your career, or if you are changing career fields, you might consider a different resume type.

  • Functional Resume

A functional resume focuses on your skills and experience, rather than on your chronological work history. Instead of having a “work history” section at the top of your resume, you might have a “professional experience” or “accomplishments” section that lists various skills that you have developed over the years.

A functional resume also sometimes includes a resume summary or headline at the top, which details a person’s skills and achievements.

A functional resume might not include one’s employment history at all, or might have a concise list of work history at the bottom of the resume.

Functional resumes are used most often by people who are changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history.

It is also useful for people who are new to the workforce, have limited work experience, or who have a gap in their employment. By highlighting skills rather than work history, one can emphasize that he or she is qualified for the job.

  • Combination Resume

A combination resume is a mix between a chronological resume and a functional resume. At the top of the resume is a list of one’s skills and qualifications. Below this is one’s chronological work history. However, the work history is not the focus of the resume, and typically does not take up much space on the resume.

With this type of resume, you can highlight the skills you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for, and also provide your chronological work history. Most employers want to see your chronological work history, even if that history is not very extensive.

This kind of resume helps you highlight what makes you the best fit for the job, while still giving the employer all the information he or she wants.

  • Targeted Resume

A targeted resume is a resume that is customized to specifically highlight the experience and skills you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for. It takes more work to write a targeted resume than to just click to apply with your existing resume. However, it’s well worth the effort, especially when applying for jobs that are a perfect match for your qualifications and experience.

Try to write a targeted resume for every job. Employers can easily see when you submit a generic resume, rather than thinking about why you are qualified for that specific job.

  • Mini Resume

A mini resume contains a brief summary of your career highlights qualifications. It only contains the information that is most specific to the job you are applying for, or the industry you are interested in.

A mini resume can be used for networking purposes, or can be shared upon request from a prospective employer or reference writer who may want an overview of your accomplishments, rather than a full-length resume.

A mini resume would allow you to easily share at networking events.

  • Nontraditional Resume

A nontraditional resume is a unique version of your resume that may include photos, graphics, images, graphs and other visuals. It might be an online resume, or a physical resume with infographics. It could also be a video, or a resume on a social networking website.

Nontraditional resumes are ideal for people in creative fields, who want to demonstrate their ability to create visually engaging designs, or to create web pages. It can be great for a candidate to stand out from the crowd in professions like design, web design, journalism, and more.

  • Resume With Profile

A resume with a profile section includes a concise summary of an applicant’s skills, experiences and goals as they relate to a specific position.  This summary (typically no more than a couple sentences long) helps the candidate “sell” themselves to the company to which they are applying.

Adding a profile is helpful for almost any applicant. If you have extensive experience, a profile can concisely explain that experience to the hiring manager right away. If you have minimal work experience, a profile can help you highlight the skills that you do have.

Resume Font

When writing a resume it’s important to use a basic font that is easy to read, both for hiring managers and for applicant management systems.  Choose a Resume Font That’s Simple: font Size Should be 10-12 and should be Arial, Verdana, Calibri, or Times New Roman

Include All Your Contact Information

It’s important to include all your contact information on your resume so employers can easily get in touch with you. Include your full name, street address, city, state, and zip, home phone number, cell phone number, and email address.

Add a Profile or Objective

If you include an objective on your resume, it’s important to tailor it to match the job you are applying for. The more specific you are, the better chance you have of being considered for the job you are interested in, or consider using a resume profile or summary, with or without a headline, instead.

Resume Keywords

Your resume should include the same keywords that appear in position descriptions. That way, you will increase your chances of your resume being a match for available positions and a greater chance of you being selected for an interview. Also include keywords in your cover letter.

Prioritize Your Resume Content

It’s important to prioritize the content of your resume so that your most important and relevant experience is listed first, with key accomplishments listed at the top of each position.

Write a Custom Resume

It definitely takes more time to write a custom resume, but, it’s worth the effort, especially when applying for jobs that are a perfect match for your qualifications and experience.

In a competitive job-seeking environment, job seekers need to make sure that their resume stands out, is selected by talent management systems, and shows, in a professional, no-nonsense way, that the applicant has taken the time and interest to pursue a specific job opening.

There are many different ways to write a resume.  Make sure you pick the one that best fits your style and current job situation.  Good luck!