Resume WorkShop -- Organizing Format


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There are some fundamental rules for writing a résumé:

Keep it brief. Your résumé is your primary piece of marketing collateral, like a brochure or a flyer. You must present your career honestly, clearly and completely in one, or if necessary, no more than two, pages.

Use sound marketing design principles when creating your résumé. According to many authorities, presentation of the content in your résumé is as important as that content itself. Use formatting options to highlight key features and benefits of your product (your experience and your skills) to generate interest on the part of the employer. Make use of such conventions as:

Bolding text
Varying font size
Using white space

Presenting data in bullet lists as opposed to paragraph format Organize your content logically, so your target audience (the prospective employer) can immediately see why you deserve as much of his or her time as a job interview will require.

On the point of organizing the content of your résumé, there are a few different formats that are widely used: chronological, functional, achievement, hybrid chronological, and hybrid functional résumés


Exactly as its name would suggest, the chronological format offers your professional experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your current or most recent position, and progressing back over the last ten years, or to your first career position, whichever comes first. This is the most basic résumé format, and is ideal for people who have had a steady run of employment within the same industry.


Functional résumés are unique in the fact that they prominently feature job titles in order of importance or impact. According to Literacy Education Online (Saint Cloud University, St. Cloud Minnesota), here are some sound reasons to choose a functional format:
You're interested in emphasizing positions and accomplishments rather than job time spans, skills, and employers
Your background fits one of the following three categories:
You've had impressive job titles and duties.
You can't list work experience in chronological order without gaps. You've held a variety of jobs or assignments not directly related to your intended career but have performed functions directly related to your career objective.

…And a good reason NOT to choose the functional format: you've had little paid or volunteer experience since this approach depends on actual job titles for its effectiveness.

Again, according to authorities, a functional résumé is also effective for someone beginning a career in a different industry than that in which he or she has spent the last few years

The achievement format is very similar to the functional format, but emphasizes achievements, accomplishments and contributions rather than job titles and descriptions of duties. Using headings that reflect the various areas in which you worked, as opposed to job titles (i. e. Marketing, Production, Sales, etc. ), highlight your accomplishments in the same bullet list format that you would the descriptions of your duties in either the chronological or functional formats.

There are some experts who feel that the functional and achievement formats are difficult for employers to follow, and do not recommend using anything but the chronological format. There are others who stand by the effectiveness of both functional and achievement formats, and view the chronological format as both outdated and inappropriate for people who have experience in more than one career industry.

Hybrid Chronological:
The hybrid chronological format combines both the chronological and achievement formats. In the professional experience section, as opposed to listing job duties and skills, present your achievements, accomplishments and outstanding contributions in a bullet list format.

Hybrid functional:
The hybrid functional format combines the best of achievement and functional formats. As opposed to listing skills and duties under specific job titles, you present your achievements, accomplishments and outstanding contributions in the same bullet list format.

At this point, I’d like to address the Many Uses of Your Résumé. I know I’ve said this before, but your résumé is your chance to make a lasting first impression on a prospective boss. It serves as your introduction. It will set the employer’s expectations.

Your résumé is a marketing document. In the right hands, it will excite interest in your skills and experience. In the right place, it can open doors for you, career-wise, prompting contact from Employers, Human Resource professionals, Headhunters, and Staffing professionals.

But the bottom line, as far as any use of your résumé is concerned, is that your résumé has only one bona fide purpose. And that purpose is not to get you a job. That purpose is to get you an interview. Beyond opening that door and getting you in to see the boss, actually getting the job is up to you, personally.

Now that we’ve explored some of the basic considerations of creating a résumé, let me say that the most effective résumés all have one thing in common… they Start Out with a Bang.

Good Luck With Your Job Search

Mark Baber has 20 years experience as an Executive Search recruiter, with placement background in many industries, including: Retail, Manufacturing, Sales, Accounting/Finance, MIS/IT, and many others. Mark is Recruit Consultant to where Jobseekers access 2 Million job transactions monthly, and can submit their Resumes Free and have them distributed freely to Employers they choose by industry, vocation, City or Region. Further JobNewsRADIO offers FREE Job Seeker resources like career and personality assessments, free Trade magazines, free Job Search tutorials that help increase your odds of finding a career job position, and many other valuable resources. Or visit Mark's recruitment web site at


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