Choosing The Correct Resume Format For Your Needs

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Choosing The Correct Resume Format For Your Needs
Everyone has different needs when writing a resume due to their education, skills, and work experience. That means not everyone will have the exact same resume format. You need to find a format that will work to make you look the best to your potential employers. If you have no clue what format to pick, don’t worry. That is what this post is for. To help you pick the resume format that will be the best for you.

  • For (almost) anyone: For the most part, anyone can use a chronological resume format. This is the traditional format that will list your most recent employment first and go in reverse chronological order to your very first job (if you have the space to go back that far). This is fairly simple and most anyone can make it work.
  • For someone with no work experience or a large gap in their work history: A functional resume format is a good idea for people like this. It focuses on your skills rather than your work experience. If you go this route make sure to put detail into your description of your skills.
  • For someone with some but not a lot of work experience: A combination format would be best in this case. You would list some of your skills (like in a functional resume) first then follow with your work history (like a chronological resume). This will show employers you have the skills they want while also providing them the work history they are used to and, probably, prefer.
  • For someone applying to only one job: In this instance you would want to have a targeted resume. A targeted resume is tailored to fit with the company and job position you are applying for. Your objective will be specific to the company. The work experience you choose to put down will be similar to the job you are applying for.

Hopefully, you will be able to find that one of these formats works for you and makes you look the best on paper so you can get an interview and maybe even get the job.

Resume formats may be similar from country to country, but the acceptable content can vary depending on where you live. If you are a foreign citizen looking to work in the United States, check out the resume differences before you send a resume to a US company. What you put on your resume may inadvertently cost you a job because employers may make negative inferences about some of the information that does not need to be on there.
For example, putting a picture of yourself on the first page of your resume may be done in several European countries, but it is not the norm here. Even if you are an actor or a singer, a professional headshot usually accompanies the resume instead of being placed on the resume. Decisions about you as a candidate should be made based on your skills, not your degree of attractiveness.
Leave off your marital status and the number of children you have. It is illegal in the US to ask if you are married or if you have children. This information could imply that you may have competing needs between work and family. For example, you may need to call in sick because one of your kids is sick and you must stay home with him. Or you may need to leave work early on a regular basis to pick up your daughter from daycare.
Religious and political affiliations do not belong on a resume unless they directly relate to the job for which you are applying. For example, stating your religious affiliation on your resume if you are looking for church organist jobs may help you. Or, showing that you’re a Democrat on your resume would be appropriate if you are looking for a position on a Democratic campaign.
Hobbies and interests used to be sections on a resume used especially when a resume was pretty short and needed filling out or when the hobby or interest directly related to the position. They are not used as much now on American resumes. Be careful if you do use these sections. The information you share can damage your chances of getting a position. For example, if you belong to Insulin Pumpers Group 75 of Detroit because your child uses an insulin pump, a potential employer may think you have diabetes. This could be used to discriminate against you, even though discriminating against someone with a chronic illness is illegal in the US.