How to Write a Resume for Job #2
A resume reflecting work experience looks different than a resume prepared in college. College resumes typically focus on academic information – expected degrees, majors, minors, coursework, honors, campus activities, and internships. These items are used in place of relevant work experience to help employers understand new graduates’ work capabilities. Now that you have work experience, your academic credentials become less important. To help you write a good resume that markets your work experience, this article covers the following topics:
- Design your resume
- Select your resume format
- Write your resume
- What to leave out when writing your resume
- General resume tips
Hiring managers may only spend half a minute looking at your resume so it’s crucial that you select a resume design that is well organized and readable. Use a basic font, such as Georgia, make sure font size is no smaller than nine or ten, and have margins of at least one inch on all four sides of your resume. Use a consistent approach when formatting text; for example, italicize all job titles and bold all headings. Line up sections vertically so that any indentations you make are uniform. Check out more resume design guidelines at LifeClever.com.
Three different types of resumes commonly used are chronological, functional, and hybrid. Here's a description of each:
- Chronological resume – Highlights work experience via an applicant’s employment history beginning with the most recent job. Use a chronological resume if you’re applying for a job that’s similar to what you currently do.
- Functional resume –Lists an applicant’s skill sets but doesn’t typically showcase an entire employment history. Create a functional resume if you have gaps in your employment history or want to work in a new industry where you don’t have experience.
- Hybrid resume – Includes the best of both worlds – your relevant skill sets and a comprehensive view of your job history. The hybrid resume can be the most effective way to organize your resume regardless of your specific situation.
The following list contains sections that are standard in resumes of college graduates with work experience. When using the hybrid format, remember to identify your experience, skills, and credentials that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for. Use all of the sections, but organize your resume by listing the most relevant information first. For example, it’s fine to switch the order of the Skills Summary and Work Experience sections, depending on which is most relevant to the position.
You can easily adapt the following list to the chronological and functional formats. If you choose the chronological format, leave out the Skills Summary section. If you prepare a functional resume, highlight information about your previous jobs in the skills section, but don’t include the Work Experience section. Remember that you'll have both sections in the hybrid resume.
A description of each section follows:
- Resume Heading – Include your name, mailing address, phone number, and email address.
- Objective Statement – This is one sentence that states what type of career or job you’re seeking. Be concise and specific. Use keywords that will stand out to an employer.
- Career Profile/Summary – Although this section is optional, consider including it if you’re trying to change careers or industries. Your career profile is a summary of your most marketable credentials, skills, and work experiences that enable you to excel in the position you’re applying for. Limit this section to a few sentences.
- Skills Summary –Select two to four relevant skills that will help you excel in the job you’re applying for; these will serve as subheadings in the section. Beneath each subheading, list supporting evidence for each skill, such as special achievements, awards, promotions, and special projects. Save your daily responsibilities for the Work Experience section. Leave out this section when writing a chronological resume. Here are some examples of skills subheadings:
- Sales/Business Development
- Client Service
- Account Management
- Organizational/People Management
- Presentation Skills
- Computer Skills
- Work Experience – Except for recent college graduates, work experience typically trumps academic credentials. List any jobs you’ve had since college, starting with the most recent. Provide the most detail for recent jobs and don’t go back more than ten years. In this section, list more than your daily responsibilities. Strengthen your resume with tangible outcomes you achieved. For example, explain that you managed a one million dollar client account or increased revenue by 20 percent (or $500,000) in one year. Omit this section when writing a functional resume.
- Academic History and Honors – Dial down academic information now that you have work experience under your belt. Include graduate programs first and then your undergraduate school and degree. Here are more guidelines:
- Listing your GPA is optional.
- You may add any academic honors in this section, such as graduating cum laude. Leave out honors that aren’t prestigious.
- Only list individual courses that are specific to the job you’re applying for.
- Certifications, Licenses, Publications, Memberships, Workshops, and Seminars – These items are optional. Your rule of thumb – once again – is to be relevant! If you have a membership or license that isn’t related, leave it out.
Steer clear of the following:
- Reasons for leaving your current job
- Salary history or requirements
- Sensitive information: age, gender, marital status, religion, race, or sexual orientation
- Anything related to what you did in high school
- College extracurricular activities or internships unless extremely prestigious
- Arrogance and negativity – list your credentials and experience in a factual manner and write in a positive tone to ensure professionalism
Here are final tips for creating a great resume:
- Before writing your resume, read through the job description several times. Use keywords from the description throughout your resume where applicable, but don’t overdo it.
- There’s no need to snail mail resumes or cover letters unless you’re asked to do so.
- Keep a detailed list of all resumes you submit, including the company name, a company contact if you have one, and the name of the job for which you’re applying. It might take weeks or months before a potential employer contacts you.
- If you have less than five years of work experience, make sure your resume fits on one page. Keep deleting less relevant information until it does.
- Don’t rely solely on a spell checker program. Send your resume to at least two people and ask them to proofread it for you and confirm that the layout looks good on their computers.
- Finally, brush up on how to write a cover letter after your resume is complete.
Good luck in your job search!
By: Gale Bowman
After graduating from Notre Dame, Gale realized that young professionals need a source of reliable information as they face “real world” challenges. Gale manages WhatCollegeForgot.com and is pursuing an MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.