Your resume is your brand and it is important that your resume effectively communicates the most relevant information possible related to the position you are applying for. Your resume is a living and breathing document and it should change for each position you apply for as well as every time you learn a new skill, take on additional responsibilities, or complete a major project.
There are three types of resumes:
- Chronological – This is the most common type of resume and focuses on your work history. It is used to emphasize continuous employment as well as highlight the major duties and accomplishments for each job. You should use this format if you are applying for a job in your current field or if your experiences and skills are intimately linked.
- Functional – The least common format, yet it does have its purpose, especially if you are transitioning careers or have long gaps in your employment history. This format emphasizes the skills and knowledge you learned throughout our education/work/volunteering, including job/field specific skills (software) and soft/transferable skills (communication, problem solving). Use this format if the profession or job cares more about your skill set rather than strictly work experience.
- Hybrid – A more popular format, it allows you to combine the best elements of your skill set and work history, allowing you to showcase how your skills were used in your job duties/responsibilities. Additionally, you can include any professional experience such as coursework and volunteering within a Professional Experience section, focusing on relevant experience rather than just all of your past employment. This format allows for much more flexibility and customization which can be useful when applying to multiple jobs, especially across different fields.
Once you have your general resume written, it is important to tailor it to each specific job you apply for. It is recommended to go through the job description and highlight keywords, skills, and other important requirements, including numerical qualifiers – years of experience, number of people supervised, etc. Once you have finished this, go back to your resume and see how much of your resume matches what is in the job description. The more overlap you have, the more likely your resume will pass through the Application Tracking System many organizations use to filter out electronic applications. You may need to rewrite major portions of your resume, especially your job duties and responsibilities, to better reflect what is stated in the job description, but the extra will pay off with a more professional and better targeted resume that will impress.
Some other general tips include:
- Keep your resume to 1 page, 2 at most if everything is related to the requirements of the job
- Use san serif fonts, such as Courier, Times New Roman, or Helvitica – these fonts are easier on the eyes and allow Applicant Tracking Systems to more accurately pull information from your resume
- Keep font sizes between 10 – 12, except for major headings which can be up to 14
- Adjust your margins as needed to fit all of your information on 1 page, but be aware that some programs will not print out anything beyond the standard .5 inch margins
- While graphic resumes are eye-catching and allow you to express yourself in bold and impressive ways, there is a higher chance that they will be unreadable or significantly altered if opened in a different software program or uploaded to an Applicant Tracking System.
You can download a copy of the presentation at https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Resume.pdf. You can download a copy of the handouts at https://www.njstatelib.org/assets/ResumeHandouts.pdf.