Copyrightę 1997 - 2011, Pam Pohly, All Rights Reserved.
Building a Powerful Resume with a Traditional Format
You have heard about two basic types of resumes - one designed around "skills or job functions" and the other by "chronological employment history". We strongly recommend that you design your resume in the traditional format of "chronological employment history".
The traditional resume should follow a predictable format. First, place your personal information at the top of the first page, with your name, address, telephone numbers, and e-mail address. Second, under the heading of "Qualification Summary", include a very brief one or two sentence description of your ability and experience. Don't state your "Job Objectives" or "Career Goals" here; that is the purpose of your cover letter, not your resume. Following your "Qualification Summary", you should have an "Education" heading. Here, list your most recent degree first, the school attended, the location, and graduation date. If you are currently enrolled, state your anticipated completion date. If you have one or more college degrees, it is not necessary to list your high school graduation, but, be sure and state the accurate dates of your college degrees.
The next heading, hopefully still on the first page, should be "Employment Experience" or "Professional Experience". You will begin by listing your most recent, or current, employment. You will include your title, your dates of employment, your employer, and the location of your employment. You should include a brief paragraph for each job, highlighting your responsibilities and accomplishments. (For more help in writing these paragraphs see our article about compelling resumes)
In the professional world, people who review resumes are adept at determining your skill set by looking at your employment history. They want to know where you worked, what your titles were, and how long you were employed. They want to see your job history in chronological order. Most resume reviewers are suspicious of resumes that are designed instead around job functions or skills because you are simply telling them what you think you can do, rather than what you have actually done and for whom. (See our article about factual resumes) Don't make the mistake of obscuring your job history or relegating it to the back pages of your resume. If job histories are not easy to determine by quickly glancing at your resume, your resume may be overlooked or discarded. So, put it right out front. Give the resume reviewers what they want. Unless your are brand new to your profession or to employment, in general, your "Employment Experience" section should comprise the greatest percentage of your resume. If your employment history is extensive, it can be spread across 2 to 4 pages. However, if your job history is brief, keep your resume brief. (Also see our article about concise resumes)
At the very end of your resume, you can devote a small section to "Licensure, Certifications, Memberships and Associations", if appropriate to your profession. Don't get carried away with this section, though. If you are applying for a hospital CEO job, it is distracting for you to state that you are on the board of directors of the local gun club or that you are a volunteer with the garden club. Lastly, you may have a section for "References", however, we suggest that you simply state "References available upon request." (Also see our article about preparing professional references for your job search)
"It is possible to fail in many ways...while to succeed is possible only in one way." (Aristotle)