One of the basic principles of successful resume writing is to target your application to the specific needs of the job you’re seeking …
This means that you should consider adapting your resume to match each job application you make. That needn’t be such a tall order if you maintain the same trouble free format for a resume for your application.
Here’s how you could easily produce a focussed resume that responds to particular job requirements every time.
Choose the resume format that best suits your profile
Many recruiters prefer the chronological format for a resume (usually starting with most recent details) as it usually offers a clear picture of your career history and the range of your experience. There are occasions, however, when a functional format is preferable: for example, if you’ve had breaks in your career or wish to focus on your skills and competences rather than an orthodox employment history.
Prepare the sections of your resume
- contact details
- give your education or training history
- list the jobs you have held (this can include unpaid, volunteer or part-time work where appropriate)
- devise action statements which identify your achievements and key skills
- summarize the previous section to create your objective statement or skills profile
Implementing the basic format
As you decide on the order of the sections of your resume, keep in mind that you have to capture the attention of your reader in just a few seconds, so your resume should be easy to read and clearly focussed:
- name and contact information
- objective (think about redrafting this section for every different job application you make: match your abilities and experience to the needs of the position)
- education and job history: allow the reader’s likely interest to dictate the order of these elements. If you are you a seasoned professional whose experience is your most marketable asset, place it before your educational details; on the other hand, a new entrant to the job market might focus more on training and any part-time work history.
Think about how you can emphasize the most important data in your resume formatting by sensible use of font styles and capitals. Your layout style can also play down less important details; for example, you can list employment dates in the right hand margin rather than on the left.
And if you decide that you prefer to focus on your skills by using the functional resume format, you can still include a summary of employment dates at the end. Just remember that important information needs to come first.
When you have established a basic format for your resume that best illustrates your abilities and career potential, it’s a quick job to modify it to reflect the needs of different applications.