What Kind of Resume is Right for You?
You’ve been working for a while now, and you’ve submitted countless resumes, but things are changing. We spoke to our recruiters about the best ways to create a resume that quickly grabs a hiring manager’s attention and clearly represents your experience, and you as an individual.
Let’s start with the basics: What is a resume?
A resume is meant to be a snapshot of your experience. It’s a document that lists your skills and qualifications for a potential job. It’s a short document used to summarize a job seeker’s experience and qualifications for a prospective employer. Think of it as a non-verbal sales pitch to a potential employer. Here’s a quick overview of three common resume types:
- Chronological Resume
- Functional Resume
- Combination Resume
It’s really a reverse chronological resume (for those that want to get technical). Just as the name suggests, start with your most recent position and work backward listing both dates and responsibilities. It’s a listing of everything you’ve done up to this point in your career, starting with most recent work. This type of resume is ideal for those with a solid, gap-free work history in line with the type of job you are applying for. The “Work History” or “Professional Experience” sections of a chronological resume are the most pronounced. Our team agrees that this is the most beneficial style and considered the global standard. Focus on all relevant job experience, but it’s not necessary to include roles that don’t match with the work you are doing today.
Suppose you are changing careers or graduating from college and your work history relating to the job you want may not be as robust as you might like; you will want to consider writing a functional resume. Functional resumes allow you to highlight skills and then their application relating to the job description, as opposed to where and when you were previously employed doing the type of work you are applying. It’s a helpful way to highlight how you could use them in a future position. It can also help you insert a little bit more of who you are.
Just as the name suggests, this resume type is a combination of both chronological and functional. Typically, this means that both a robust work history and a built-out skills section are listed within the resume. Creating a combination resume is easier with significant work and education experience. You can write out a robust professional summary and skills section, then include a chronological work history. Toward the bottom of the resume, you can include your education and skills training.
A Quick Checklist:
Regardless of the type of resume you are working with, be sure to use the below as a checklist before submitting:
- Use a summary statement, not an objective – this is a key way to show the value you bring
- Focus on accomplishments, not just tasks – share numbers and percentages where you can
- Use standard 1” margins
- Keep it simple
- Select font styles that are easy to read – use fonts consistently and only vary size, bold type and capital letters for various sections
- Double…no triple check for spelling and grammatical errors
- Keep a clear list of skills and certifications along with plenty of white space
- Accurately reflect your work and work history
- Use relevant keywords that match the job description
- Update after each project to keep information fresh and accurate
Don’t forget to target your resume!
Expanding on the above for using keywords – always target your resume. Use information that highlights the specific skills that match the position whenever possible. This will help you really put your best foot forward and stand out in a crowded market. Work History, Skills, and Education sections should be carefully constructed to emphasize the job requirements using exact keyword matching from the description. This will help you overcome or rank higher in the applicant tracking systems used by companies today.
All information submitted to Oxford goes directly into the hands of one of our recruiters, but if you are exploring other opportunities on your own it is increasingly important to target your resume and adjust for with each submission to use the most relevant keywords to get past an applicant tracking system and get the hiring manager’s attention.
It’s also great to research the company’s mission statement, vision, or values as well to show in the resume (and even more importantly during the interview) the ones you genuinely share.
When you’re working with Oxford, your recruiter will offer the insight that you need to best target your experience. Our job is to help qualify and prepare you for the right role with our clients. You should expect that from any recruiter you work with. And, when you are going after jobs independently online, these tips will help ensure all your great work shines through your resume.