Ideally, your resume should be written to help you be considered for a specific job title. Here is a resume building process for you to follow, written by Jean Ellingsen, a longtime Job Forum panelist.
What is a resume?
A resume is a “sales brochure” about you. It describes your abilities, your experience (paid and/or unpaid) and your education, all of which should support your job objective.
What should a good resume accomplish?
It should get you an interview – it will not get you the job!
What are the essential parts of a resume?
- Your name
- Your address (local)
- Your telephone number (day and evening)
- Your email address (not at your current job)
- Your job objective Work experience which supports the job objective
- Educational background
What is a job objective and why is it important?
On the resume, the job objective is a statement of what you want to do and the level at which you want to do it. This statement should be clear and concise. Search the Internet (or the newspaper) for job titles and job descriptions in the company or industry you are targeting. Use this specific language to describe your job objective. The closer you can get to the “job title” of the job you wish to occupy, the better your success in finding it will be.
What should NOT be included in a resume?
Personal data such as height, weight, age, marital status, hobbies, or your photograph.
Exceptions: Mention hobbies if they relate to the job you are seeking. If you are young and seeking a trainee position, mentioning your age may be to your advantage.
Is there more than one kind of resume?
Yes. The two most commonly used types of resumes are the Chronological and the Functional.
What is a Chronological resume?
It is a listing of positions you have held, by dates held, beginning with your most recent position and working backwards. The Experience section in a Chronological resume will include the starting and ending dates of your employment (generally, month and year), title of position held, name of organization, and a brief description of your job responsibilities (try to include only activities that support your job objective.
What is a Functional resume?
A Functional resume lists the data that supports your job objective by major tasks performed or skills used. Managing, leading, administering, organizing, promoting, coordinating, and supervising are some tasks around which people build Functional resumes. Many of these same terms may be discussed as skills, e.g., Supervisory Skills, or Marketing Skills. People with extensive work histories may find this type of resume more appropriate to their needs because similar tasks have been performed in a variety of jobs.
Is one resume good for all jobs?
Generally, no. A resume should be slanted to the job you are seeking or to the company to which you are submitting your resume.
How do I decide which type to use?
It is really a matter of preference. The Functional resume is considered by some as more descriptive of a person’s experience when seeking a professional job. You may also use a combination of the Functional and the Chronological resumes.
What else do I need to know about resumes?
- Resumes often get less than one minute of an employer’s time – make that time count for you.
- Keep to the essentials.
- Be clear, concise, accurate, and readable.
- The length should be one page – two pages at most.
- Use good quality paper. An off-white or buff-colored paper is desirable.
- Check for typing accuracy, spelling errors and grammar usage.
- If mailing a resume, include a cover letter.
- Do not use “jargon” unique to your field but incomprehensible to others (unless you are staying in your field).
How do I build a resume?
- Set up a worksheet. Divide a page into seven columns. The following are suggested column headings:
Starting / ending job dates
Name of Organization
- When you have done this for each job, a pattern may begin to emerge that will help you develop a job objective.
- Develop a clear and concise job objective that states exactly what it is you wish to be employed doing and at what level. The following (stated as job titles) are examples:
Product Marketing Manager
Advertising Account Executive
Design Engineer for hydraulic presses and equipment
Circuit Design Engineer
- Proceed now to either the Chronological or Functional resume guidelines to develop the support information for your job objective and the rest of your resume.
- Translate language to fit target industry. When changing industries or fields, it is necessary to translate your background and experience for the mindset of your audience who will read it. Therefore rephrase or reformat what you did so that it communicates the relevant experience for what you want to do. Remember, the resume reflects you and your abilities! It is not an autobiography – it should include only information that supports your job objective.