5 Steps to a Great Resume – Formats – Lesson 2

Great Resumes

Several years ago a friend of mine was out of work due to a bankruptcy. He had tons of experience, had successfully looked for a job before and felt he was well placed to quickly land another job. One of the things that he was particularly proud was his resume. He thought that he had the best format, amazing content, all of the “hot” keywords and the ideal number of pages to get the attention of the right people. And you know what? he was wrong. Working with an executive recruiter who helped him redraft his resume over a very painful 4 days, my friend wound up with an amazing resume. Important lesson to be learned – have an open mind and listen to the people who are out there every day.

If you diligently followed Lesson 1 (5 Steps to a Great Resume – Gathering Your Information), you’ve collected all of the information needed to put your resume together. Now’s the time to think about the format, and that’s what Lesson 2 is all about.

Formats – Don’t worry about structure yet, we will get to that in future lessons. Lots of stuff to think about, so let’s get to it.

  • Sections – Regardless of the format (see the next section below), all resumes have sections. These include:
    • Contact Information – Pretty obvious – Your name, address, telephone number and email address
    • Your Headline – Take a look at – How to Write a Resume Headline – Tips for Adding a Title to Your Resume
    • Objective -Your career goal and what you want out of a job – Tailor Your Resume Objective
    • Skills – What are you good at and why should someone hire you? You should list the skills that will help market your strengths. Top Skills You Need On Your Resume
    • Work History / Experience – This is where you will list the work history you collected from Lesson 1. Take a look at some formats – Resume Experience Section Example
    • Education – How you present your education depends on how long you’ve been out of school.  If you are a recent graduate (within the last two years), your education will be placed at the top of your resume (otherwise on the bottom). In terms of what you will list –
      • Degree (BS, BA, AA, MBA, etc.)
      • Major (Finance, Economics, History, etc.)
      • Year graduated (or expected graduation date)
      • Name of the School
      • Location
      • GPA (depends on how well you did and when you graduated)
      • Honors (Dean’s List, Honor Society, etc.)
  • Content Formats – There are tons of resume formats. The most popular are:
    • Chronological – This format is exactly what the name suggests – basically listing your experience and history in reverse chronological order – Sample Chronological Resume
    • Functional – This format highlights your skills and experience – Sample Functional Resume
    • Hybrid – Sometimes called a combination resume, this format lists your skills and experience followed by your work history – Sample Combination Resume
    • Targeted Resume – This format is generally used when you are applying for a specific job or role – Targeted Resume Sample
  • Font & Type – You don’t want to use any font or type that will make your resume look particularly unusual (unless you are in advertising or marketing). The most popular font is Times New Roman (Arial and Century are popular as well) with a 10 to 12pt type. The following infographic is worth a read – WHAT IS THE BEST RESUME FONT, SIZE AND FORMAT?
  • Spacing & Margins – Generally speaking, margins of 1/2 inch to 1 inch is fine. Use single spacing with a blank line between sections.

Take some time to absorb everything in this lesson. We will cover Organization in Lesson 3.

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Good luck in your search,

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