Today the arguments about resume formats are as bitter as arguments between owners of MacOS computers and owners of Microsoft devices. The bottom line of each holy war is that each device – or resume format – is suitable for different careers and goals. It is not that one is bad, and another one is good. It is that they work differently and can both be useful in different situations.
Most discussed formats are chronological order resume and functional resume. The main difference between them is that a chronological order resume puts the highlight on working experience and positions occupied. Skills come in additional sections far from the spot where HRs can see them immediately. A functional resume highlights skills that an applicant can bring to the company, and then comes a list of jobs an applicant held.
So if the experience is a key, go for a chronological order resume. If you have little to no experience, opt for functional resume instead. But before focusing on such intricate differences, it is necessary to review what basic parts each resume should have. It turns out that people often miss out some of 5 main parts of a good resume, and so their efforts go down the drain. So when you know exactly what goes into a proper resume, it is easier for you to shuffle these parts to build this or that format, or even to combine both.
So, main 5 parts of each proper resume are:
- Contact information;
- Experience (positions held);
The rest of the sections like interests or certificates and courses are optional. But the list shown above is a must, and a resume without any part is incomplete.
Resume Section: Contact Information
Contact information is the most obvious part (if you want to be contacted by an employer, provide your name and phone or email at least). But the reality is different – some people do not include this info on their resume, probably thinking that they will be mailed back to the address from which they sent a resume. This is not the case. Include in this section:
- Your full name;
- Cellphone number;
- Mailing/residence address has become an optional part, put it here if you look for a job in the vicinity of your home;
- Links to LinkedIn profile (professional channel);
- You may want to provide your messenger’s info (but it has not become a norm yet).
Resume Section: Summary and Objective
This is basically who you are and why you want this job in a nutshell. Rather than list what you have done, say how you have done it – accomplished, increased, built up, and add figures to support your claim. For example:
Senior Marketing Manager
An experienced performer who plans campaigns and delivers promised results. Designed and launched marketing campaigns in retail that boosted sales by 25%. Proficient in interpersonal and written communication and negotiations with customers. Will leverage the work of a good marketing team due to own experience and innovations.
As you see, instead of writing ‘Summary’ or ‘Objective,’ it is better to write your job title. It is informative and professional, so go for it. The length of this section is 3-5 sentences, and it is put in the header, right next (or below) the contact information. So an HR sees all at once: a so-and-so is this and this and did that and that job. That’s an abstract of your resume, so to say.
Resume Section: Skills and Technologies
Now it is time to elaborate and what you can do in your new workplace. Skills that go first (before experience) indicate that this is a functional resume, FYI. But no matter where you place them, keep in mind the following: there hard and soft skills, and today most employers use software to skim resumes and detect skills keywords they need. So look carefully on a job description you apply for, and match skills you put on the resume to skills an employer wants.
Hard skills are skills related to the technical part of the work. They are like this:
- programming skills (Java, HTML, python, frontend, backend, applications development);
- architectural skills (software, engineering, construction codes);
- marketing skills;
- computer design skills;
- SEO skills.
Soft skills are skills that are necessary for going along with people – team, management, customers, as well as for organizing your own work. Look at some of them:
- Time management;
- Emotional intelligence;
- Communication skills;
- And so on.
Pick the ones you really have, and that match the job requirements. Then you will never miss the mark.
Resume Section: Professional Experience
Usually, your previous jobs are listed in reversed order (from the current or the last job to older ones). When listing them, mention not just what you did, but what you have accomplished (add figures if possible).
Company, LTD – New York, NY
2012 – 2018 Senior marketing manager
- Designed a retail campaign in the fashion market that boosted sales by 25%;
- Devised a branding solution that increased brand awareness by 16%;
- Devised and implemented social media solutions for boosting the eco-fashion brand (brand awareness grew by 30%.
Company, Inc. – Jacksonville, CA
2010-2012 Marketing assistant
Assisting in information gathering, analysis and its implementation for branding;
Implementing parts of marketing projects in conjunction with other teams (with 100% success of projects);
Devising concepts of marketing campaigns (two of them were taken as foundations of actual campaigns).
Resume Section: Education
With ample experience and a cool list of skills, it is easy to believe that education is of little relevance. However, it is not true. Include your formal credentials of a specialist in the form of college/university, fields of study, and major. For example:
2006-2010 University of Jacksonville, CA
Major: Branding and Product Placement
If you have no experience at all and look for the first job, the education section is key. Write not only what you studied, but also what courseworks you completed and maybe what internships you had.
Some Optional Resume Sections
Along with listed 5 obligatory sections, there may be additional ones if you feel you need to provide information that does not fit into sections listed above.
It may be certificates and courses section, especially if you work not in the field that you studied at college. If you switched from accounting to graphic design, say what training you have and what credential you can provide.
Interests. If you are in a creative industry, your interests may tell more about your skills than your workplaces. So if you apply for a position in journalism and have an interest in modern sociological research – say it. Maybe this scholarly background will land you in a job faster than any other qualification.
Awards and Diplomas. If you have won some prestigious or at least recognized awards in your working field, mention them obligatory. If you had some school diploma for not missing classes – better skip it.
So basically, that’s all to it. These are 5 obligatory sections that you should double check you have in your resume. The rest is optional and depends on the job you want and the things you have to say. Anyway, look at what you have and put first the most impressive information. Good luck with your job hunt!