What Type of Résumé Should I Use?

For most jobs, a candidate must submit a resume. In addition to your contact information and goals, a resume gives an overview of your abilities, work experience, education and interests. Depending on your age, experience and skills, ask yourself, 'Which type of resume should I use?'

The three main types of resumes include those that are chronologically formatted, documents that are experience formatted and a combination of both. Regardless of which format you use, try not to use more than two pages, highlighting only the past 10 years of your experience. What you did beyond that time frame might no longer be relevant.

The chronological resume

This is by far the most popular resume, used by online job sites and employment agencies alike. With a chronological resume, list job experience by date, starting with your most recent job. This type of resume makes it easy for a potential employer to see where you've been working and for how long.

If you only had two to three jobs and were with each company for several years, this type of resume will work in your favor. It shows a solid track record, indicating that you have been successful and that you stick with an organization. If you received any promotions along the way, be sure to mention them.

The experience format

If you've had six or seven jobs, each lasting no more than a few months, you might prefer to use the experience format. Having tried several jobs can be an indication of job hopping, which might not instill confidence with a potential employer.

Instead of dates, concentrate on your experience. If you're a dynamic sales representative, highlight the deals you've made. If you excel using computer software, list the programs you've used. If you were involved in marketing, draw attention to the campaigns you've handled. Show the type of professional you are.

Chances are, if you go for an interview, you'll encounter questions about the organizations where you've worked, but by then, you'll have already impressed the interview panel with your abilities. Mentioning dates up front can work against you.

Students often favor this type of resume, as it gives them the chance to draw attention to volunteer work, projects in which they've been involved and any activities on which they've worked as part of a team.

The combination resume

With a combination resume, you start by drawing attention to your qualifications for the job and your experience in the field. Only when you've given all that information do you list organizations for which you worked and the respective dates, in reverse chronological order.

Applicants who have gaps in their employment or those returning to the workforce after an absence of several years favor this format. If a potential employer sees that an applicant hasn't worked in the past three years, he or she might toss the resume aside. For this reason, it's important to impress this individual with your qualifications before he or she finds out the length of time you were inactive.

Temporary employees also favor this format. It gives them a chance to showcase their experience without immediately revealing that they worked for 10 or more organizations. Experts recommend that temporary workers list employment agencies for which they worked versus client organizations that enlisted their help. Listing two or three employment agencies creates a better impression than mentioning a string of different companies.

You should give the question of which type of resume you should use careful thought, and you might also consider discussing it with an employment agency or resume specialist. Get an outside opinion and see what works best for you.

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