You Need Multiple Versions of Your Resume


This posting is a guest entry from the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD: Janet writes: When should you use a chronological resume? When should you use a functional resume?
The Career Doctor responds: You’re not going to like this answer: It depends. The resume format most in favor these days is the standard chronological resume, which is organized around a straightforward employment history. Job-seekers with a solid employment history who are looking for advancement within their career field typically use a chronological resume. Employers and headhunters prefer the chronological resume because it’s easy to assess issues such as employment history, qualifications, and career advancement by a simple glance at the resume. Functional resumes (and I advise not a purely functional resume but a chrono-functional resume) downplay employment history in favor of functional skills clusters, and are most used by new college grads, career changers, and job-seekers with employment gaps. The answer I am giving to all my clients and students is this: In today’s job market, it is critical to have resumes for all job-search situations. Thus, I recommend developing both a chrono-functional and chronological resume for job-seekers in situations where a functional is typically the preferred. I also recommend having a least one electronic version of a resume as more and more of job searching moves to computer-based resume databases. The traditional print resume is not dead, but it is losing ground daily to its electronic counterparts. Remember that a resume is a statement of facts designed to sell your unique mix of education, experience, accomplishments, and skills to a prospective employer. On the other hand, remember that a resume is a marketing document, so do not be modest; be clear about successes and accomplishments — and quantify whenever possible. So, what are the most important things to remember about resumes?
  • The function of a resume is to get you a job interview, not the job.
  • A resume is a statement of facts, so do not fudge dates, titles, accomplishments.
  • Focus is critical; each resume should be tailored to a specific job, a specific employer.
  • With employment history, focus on (quantifiable) accomplishments rather than duties and responsibilities.
  • Appearances matter, so make sure your printed resume uses conventional (for your profession) fonts, colors, margin widths, etc.
  • Avoid mistakes. Typos and misspellings will end the chances of even the most qualified job-seekers.
  • Provide detailed contact information. Include your home phone, cell phone, and email.
Read more in my article, published on Quintessential Careers: What Resume Format is Best For You? You should also consider reading this article about e-resumes written by my partner, Katharine Hansen: The Top 10 Things You Need to Know about E-Resumes and Posting Your Resume Online.