Resume Writing – Main Article
An important tool
A resume is one of the most import marketing tools you will use in your job search. It will sell you to a prospective employer in much the same way that an advertisement sells a car. You are the product, the hiring manager is the consumer. Your resume is the first impression most employers will have of you; they will use it to decide whether or not they want to talk to you.
A resume is not an autobiography or a full history of your experiences. These things may be needed at some point in your life but not when you are applying for a job. When you are job-searching what you need is something fairly short and to the point. You need something that summarizes your experience, draws attention to the points that are relevant to your current career goals and highlights your achievements.
As a marketing tool, your resume should show the hiring manager what you can do for her, how you will be an asset to the firm. Don’t write your resume so it shows only the specific tasks you’ve done; exhibit your experience to show that you have the transferable skills that will make you a valuable member of any team.
A reflection of you
There is no right or wrong way to write a resume. Each job seeker should have a unique resume, not one copied from a book. Your resume should reflect your style and personality as well as your experience and skills. Writing your resume is a good time to do some self-assessment. Take the time to figure out your strengths and interests, knowledge and achievements.
Your resume is not set in stone. This is a flexible document that will change as you acquire more experience or change focus. Many job seekers alter their resume slightly for every job they apply for, highlighting the skills and experiences that match the employer’s needs.
There are two basic types of resumes: chronological and functional. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages.
The traditional type of resume is chronological. It is a summary of your experience in reverse date-order, starting with the most recent job and going back to your first job.
Chronological resumes work best for job-seekers with a strong work history related to the target job. Immediately, an employer will see that you have followed a specific career path and have had steady growth in responsibility.
Many employers prefer a chronological resume because nothing is hidden. However, a chronological resume does not work well for people who have changed jobs a lot or have gaps in their work history.
Since it is assumed that most people will have as many as eight different careers (not jobs, careers) in their lifetime, a functional resume is often the style of choice.
The functional resume works particularly well in these situations:
- a job from several years back exhibits the skills required for the job you are applying for
- you wish to change careers and you have transferable skills but not related experience
- you are not successful in your current job and do not wish to repeat the experience (list the job under Employment History but do not refer to it in any other way)
- you are re-entering the workforce after being a stay-at-home parent or care-giver (if you are listing volunteer activity and/or parenting change the title “Employment History” to “Work Experience” and list this experience there)
- you wish to emphasize skills acquired in non-work settings such as volunteer activities
Four sample resumes are included here; two chronological and two functional. All belong to the same foreign-trained professional. Piedro Rivarus trained as a computer engineer. In Peru, he worked as a computer engineer but also worked as a manager. Although he is willing to work as a computer engineer in Toronto, he would rather put his experience as a manager to work. He started with his two chronological resumes but now uses the two functional resumes because they exhibit his skills more effectively.
Please note: Distribuidora Piedro is a family-owned business that Piedro managed while working full-time at his other two jobs.
The resumes are presented in the following order: