"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Resumes: The Art of Packaging of What Ya Got. Whether you’re fresh out of school or have a work history as long as my leg, writing a great resume is vital. Writing a great resume can also be daunting. How does one package their career, part of their life’s history, into something compelling enough to make a manager feel you might be the right fit for his or her team? While ultimately your voice needs to come through your resume, we’ll go over some basic resume formats.

So, Vanna, if you please . . .

Basic Information:

Regardless of format every resume needs your contact information. Make sure the address listed is where you can most easily pick up your mail in case any paperwork needs to be mailed to you. Your phone number and professional e-mail should also be listed. Even if you don’t have Internet at home you should still have an e-mail set up. More and more companies are contacting applicants online, and application confirmations are also being sent electronically. Another thing to remember is to make sure your outgoing ring and voicemail message are professional sounding. No hiring manager is going to want to hear Justin Bieber’s newest smash hit or you yelling, “LEAVE ME A MESSAGE, YO!!”

Whether you center your contact message or left justify it, each bit of information should get its own line and your name should be bolded and one to two font sizes bigger than the rest of your resume. Getting your name stuck in their heads’ is important.

Lindsay Haugen

XXX Awesome Street

Anywhere, MN 56549

Types of Resumes:

Chronological. Pretty self-explanatory but this format lists all of your work and leadership experience in the order of most recent until your very first position. This is the most common and most preferred. It’s the easiest way to scan through someone’s work history to see how long they’ve been at each position or if there are any employment gaps.

Functional. This focuses more on skills and experience rather than listing a chronological work history. This is usually used by job seekers who are doing a career change or have significant employment gaps due to such things as going back to school or staying at home to raise a family.

Targeted. This is where you list key skills and experience geared towards a specific job posting before listing a chronological work history. This can be time-consuming because you have to really have to take a close eye to what a job posting is asking for to pull out key components of your past that will fit the bill.

Format Side Note:

Regardless of what format you use any collegiate experience should be listed. If you’re just out of high school and need a resume for either college or a job you’re applying to, you should list that. Otherwise, even if that is your highest degree earned, your high school graduation is probably not needed. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I feel that most hiring managers are going to assume a person has a high school diploma or GED.  Either way that information can be explained on an application.

Long story longer: Education can be listed at the beginning or end of a resume. If you’re fairly new out of school, I would list it at the beginning of your resume. Once a person hits right around the five year mark of being out school, education can move towards the end of your resume. Your graduation date can come off as well. In all candor, graduation dates are simple math gateways to how old a person is.

If you are still in college and starting to apply to jobs to get a jump on starting your career or if you’re near the end of obtaining an advanced degree, simply put “Expected graduation date May 2012”. Never list a degree until you have it in your hand.

True story: At a former job there was a situation where a person listed a degree thinking they had everything needed to graduate done only to find out a credit wasn’t completed, which actually caused their diploma to be pending until the issue was resolved. Talk about an awkward conversation AFTER the resume was submitted with a degree listed.

Whew! That was a mouthful! Hang in there. Once you get your information laid out, polishing it up will be a piece of cake. German chocolate . . . with that weird coconut frosting.

Next time we’ll cover some basic do’s and don’ts of resume writing.

Positive Thought of the Day:
“It takes more than just a good looking body. You’ve got to have the heart and soul to go with it.” – Epictetus

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