Putting together a resume is a stressful experience for some people looking for a job. One reason for this stress is not knowing what kind of resume will stand out to a potential employer. Ultimately, you won’t know for certain what kind of resume your employer wants to see, but what you can do is use some strategy to produce a resume that will most likely get the best results. Here are three ways you can structure your resume to have the best chance at landing an interview.
Reverse Chronological. One of the best formats to use if you have a solid work history is the reverse chronological version. In this format, you list your past employment, highlighting your most recent job first. You should aim to only go back 15 years. It’s tempting to point out other work if it goes back farther and is valid for the work you currently want, so in cases like these, you could consider listing this employment in a separate section titled “Related Skills” or something similar.
Hybrid. The hybrid format is a great option for applicants with less than ideal work histories. In the hybrid version, you first start out with a list of attributes or accomplishments that would stand out for an employer. You could list technical skills if you’re in the computer industry or publications you’ve written if you’re in academics or publishing. Under that section, you would include a more brief listing of past work experiences, and you could list your education as well.
Simple Text. It would likely serve you to go ahead and have a simple text version of your resume ready to go. To do this, copy your resume into Notepad or any other basic text editor. Change any bullet points to asterisks because if you have to submit your resume digitally, you could have trouble with special characters. When you use plain text, you also lose any specific formatting, so capitalize your headings to make them stand out. Format one of these ahead of time so you can get it to an employer quickly if they request it.
There are multiple ways you can format your resume. You have to think about what kind of job you’re going for and what you work history is like to produce the best one. It’s also important to tailor your resume to specific jobs as much as possible. Freshen up your resume with each job you apply for and change the format when an old one is no longer serving you.
For more tips on which resume format works for you, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.