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Resume Formats ... The Hidden Pitfalls

Deciding on a resume format is the first major decision to be made when creating your resume. The overall look of your resume depends on the resume format, font and outline you choose.

The two main types of format in use are the chronological and functional formats.

When to Use the Chronological Resume Format

A Chronological resume is the easiest to create and it is also the most widely used format.

Chronological resume format allows you to list your job experiences starting with the most recent and moving back in time.

This allows employers to see your progression in the career fieldIf you are staying in your career field, this format will allow employers to see if you are qualified for the job you are applying for. It may not be beneficial for people changing career fields.

When to Use the Functional Resume Format

Functional resume formats are more difficult to create and are not widely used. However, they are suitable in situations where people are changing career fields.

The functional resume format is based more on skill development. The format is non-linear and the emphasis is on development and achievements.

You can list experiences other than paid jobs.

Employers will be able to see your progressive skill developments that qualify you for the job

Some people choose to combine the two resume formats to gain the benefits of each and avoid their shortcomings.

Scannable Resume Format

Another type of resume format you may have to use is the scannable resume. Many employers store resumes in electronic databases nowadays. Resumes are scanned into these databases.

This can lead to some problems, as old scanners can sometimes dramatically change the look of your resume.

It is beneficial to build both a scannable resume and a printed resume which you can bring to your interviews

To overcome this you can create a scannable resume. A scannable resume is a traditional resume, stored preferably as a plain text file and with little formatting.

How Long Should a Resume Be?

Another important decision you have to make about your resume format is the length of your resume. There are no specific rules on how long your resume should be.

Resume length can vary depending on your situation.

The length of your resume will depend on how much space you need to compactly and precisely list your relevant skills and accomplishments.

If you an entry-level candidate, you can have a one page, neatly typed, compact resume. For professionals with a lot of experience, a two or three page resume can greatly impress employers.

Choice of Fonts

Keep the font of your resume simple. Classic fonts such as Times New Roman and Arial are recognized by nearly all computers. If you use other font styles, there will be a risk that the employer's computer does not support the particular font. Also if it is too fancy, it might turn off the employer.

Remember that ...

The most important information will be listed on the top of the resume as it is the first to catch the employer's eye. In the middle is the part which will get briefly scanned. The bottom part of the resume will not get much attention, unless you get the interview.

Your resume structure should take this into account.

If you are having trouble deciding on a resume format, you can consult free resume format sites on the internet. They can provide you with samples so that you can pick out a format that is best for your situation.

Resume format, font, length, etc, collectively will form the overall presentation of the document. The purpose of your resume is to market your services to employers. Resume format and resume style can tell the employer a lot about your communication and organization skills. Therefore the format is very important in preparing a proper presentation of your resume.

Article courtesy of Top Career Resumes, where you can get the answers you need about writing winning resumes, cover letters and more. The author, Roger Clark (BSc) has over 25 years experience in career development & recruitment at a senior level through top management positions he has held with major international companies.

Career Articles - Advice on resumes, career planning, goal / objective setting & aptitude testing.


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