Perfect your Résumé
August 4, 2009
In today's job market, having the right qualifications may not be enough to land a position. Crafting an effective résumé significantly increases the odds of getting your foot in the door. A résumé is arguably the most important part of a job application, offering a direct statement of a candidate's skills, experience and career trajectory. But a résumé is far more than a list of accomplishments, as it also represents an applicant's professionalism and showcases commitment. Crafting a well-worded, polished and engaging résumé is therefore the best way to impress an employer and, hopefully, secure the desired job. Having a stand-out résumé is more important now than ever, as today's job market is yielding stiff competition among applicants. According to a CareerBuilder.com
- Chronological A chronological résumé is the most common form, listing the most recent positions first, along with pertinent responsibilities and achievements. It is simple and easy to read, allowing hiring managers to form a quick impression of a candidate's suitability. However, as ComputerWorld warns, "This format also could put you at a disadvantage if you have sizable gaps in your work history, or if you have short stints at several employers."
- Functional A functional résumé avoids job titles and employer names in favor of specific skills and attributes that might not be clearly conveyed in a chronological format. It is helpful if a candidate's employment history does not directly match the job's requirements, but "[keep in mind that many hiring managers view functional résumés with suspicion because there is limited information about a candidate's specific work experience." Needless to say, a cover letter
- Combination A combination résumé incorporates some aspects from both functional and chronological styles, highlighting specific skills while providing an abridged employment history. "The combination format may be the best choice if your employment history is impressive but doesn't obviously relate to the position you're seeking."
- Is the résumé inviting to read, with clear sections and ample white space?
- Does the design look professional rather than like a simple typing job?
- Are there design elements such as bullets, bolding and lines to guide readers' eyes through the document and highlight important content?
- Are design elements like spacing and font size used consistently throughout the document?
- Are sections placed in the best order to highlight the applicant's strongest credentials?
- Is the résumé targeted to a specific career goal and not trying to be a one-size-fits-all document?
- Are accomplishments quantified by using numbers, percentages, dollar amounts or other concrete measures of success?
- Is the information relevant to hiring managers' needs?
- Is the résumé as perfect as possible, with no careless typos or spelling, grammar or syntax errors?