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5.21: Resume

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    A résumé\(^{138}\) is a summary of your educational background, employment experience, and skills. It is a way to communicate your qualifications for a desired position to an employer. Your résumé is your tool to market yourself and the key to getting an interview. Essentially, you are creating your résumé as a pitching, selling, and branding tool of yourself to potential employers.

    There is no "best way" to write a résumé. However, there are some general guidelines, such as clarity, accuracy and neatness, that should be followed. It is important to choose a résumé style and format that will work best for you and the job you are applying for. How do you decide what approach will be the best? Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help with the decision:

    • What are the employer's needs and interests for the position for which I am applying?
    • What are my strengths for the job and how can I emphasize them?
    • How can I format and organize the content and graphics of my résumé to show what I have to offer?

    Types of Résumés

    There are three main types of résumés: Experiential/chronological, skills/functional, and a combination of the two. What format to use is up to you and your situation. Each type emphasizes a different component of the résumé. Experiential résumés emphasize work experience, skills résumés emphasize skills and abilities, and combination résumés seek to find a balance between the two. When deciding what type of résumés to create, choose one that is common to your industry. Every industry uses different types of résumés according to what the industry standard is.

    Experiential Résumés

    Experiential résumés list information in reverse chronological order. Most college students will choose to list education first, because students have limited work experience. The most recent degrees are listed first followed by previous degrees. The same format is followed under each heading. Skills gained from each job are listed under each job title, along with accomplishments and responsibilities. Experiential résumés are useful for establishing a work history and for showcasing accomplishments made at each career position. Experiential résumés are the most common type of résumé and are a simple way to detail responsibilities held at different jobs.

    Screenshot of a example resume by a person of color.

    Skills Résumés

    A skills (or functional) résumé organizes information around types of skills and abilities. Headings may include “Computer Skills,” “Foreign Languages,” and “Leadership Experience.” A skills résumé will list the skill and then explain when and how that particular skill was used. Skills résumés are useful for several reasons: they avoid repeating the same information under each job title; they emphasize skills and abilities (a college graduate’s work history may be from only part-time work, and a skills résumé will merely mention these positions); lastly, they hide gaps in an applicant's work history

    Anytime attention should be focused away from work experience – due to a gap in experience, etc. – a skills résumé is recommended.

    A screenshot of a sample resume by a person of color.
    Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\): Images of both “Ethel” and “Rodger” were found via Unsplash/

    Combination Résumés

    A combination résumé lists skills and abilities first, but also lists accomplishments and responsibilities under specific job titles and experiences. A combination résumé allows an applicant to highlight specific skills that may be desired by the employer while also emphasizing job experience. Combination résumés are useful for applicants with an extensive job history in a highly specialized field. For example, applicants in computer programming may want to highlight their computer language skills before detailing their computer programming experience.

    Creative / Visual Resume

    Ultra-creative resumes are rare; however, they will definitely set you apart from other applicants. The following example took Ethel’s information from the chronological resume first showcased in this chapter and made it much more VISUALLY pleasing.

    A creative resume screenshot.
    Figure \(\PageIndex{3}\): This creative resume was put together using the web site Canva.

    The Pieces of a Résumé

    When writing your résumé, you must make decisions about such things as what to say, how to organize etc. Think about your readers. What will they be looking for? The following sections provide your general style when writing your résumé:

    When writing your résumé, you must make decisions about such things as what to say, how to organize etc. Think about your readers. What will they be looking for? The following sections provide your general style when writing your résumé:

    • Personal Information: Include your name, address, and professional email address. Many employers like to see a home or cell phone number on the résumé as well.
    • Career Objective - Optional: Many people believe that they need to have an objective listed underneath their contact information; however, the truth is that maybe objectives should not part of your résumé because they are limiting.
    • Education: Education should be included immediately after your identifying information unless you have had significant work experiences in the field for which you are applying. In that case, education should be placed at the end of the résumé.
    • Work Experience: Include information about your employment history within your résumé. For each job, include the company name, location, and specific dates employed. In addition, employment should be listed in reverse chronological order. You should also list some of the knowledge you gained from your work experience and some of the responsibilities you were given.
      • When speaking of past tasks, you held at a previous job, verbs should be in the past tense form. If you are speaking of job tasks you currently preform, use the present tense. Use action verbs! Use a thesaurus as a resource in order to not repeat verbs.
        • Use Accomplishment Statements
          • Increase productivity and quality... Increased sales...
          • Improve communications and information flow...
          • Streamlined operations...
          • Developed new administrative procedure that...
          • Implemented a new program in...
          • Reduced cost of...
    • Achievements: Awards, recognitions, or other special circumstances should be included if they are outstanding and directly related to the job for which you are applying.
    • Volunteer Experience.
    • Skills: Be sure to include any special skills that you have, such as being fluent in another language or being an expert in Microsoft applications.
    • References: When choosing a reference or references, make sure that you can trust them to answer honestly. Be sure to ask them if they are willing to be a reference before giving their information to a potential employer. Shy away from putting “references upon request” because that’s one extra step an employer has to take; make it easy for them to hire you.

    Résumé Design Tips

    • Simplicity: Do not clutter the page with unnecessary information. Use bulleted statements to make achievements quick and easy to read.
    • Eye Catching: See creative resume in this chapter.
    • Format: Typically, résumés should not be no longer than one page, unless stated otherwise. However, there are many different opinions on this, however.
    • Consistency: Use the same formatting for similar sections on your résumé. Use line breaks, indents, and font variations to organize relevant information into sections.
    • Font: Be sure to use fonts that are easy to read.

    \(^{138}\)"Professional and Technical Writing/Career/Resumes." Wikibooks, The Free Textbook Project. 16 Aug 2019, 12:37 UTC. 10 Oct 2019, 17:09 < 57>. Licensed CC-BY-SA.

    This page titled 5.21: Resume is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Sybil Priebe (Independent Published) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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