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Resume dos and don’ts

There is no single way to prepare a resumé. In fact, there are three common resumé formats – chronological, functional, and combination – and they don’t work equally well for all job-seekers.

Do you need to work on your resumé?

The answer is “yes” if any of the following are true for you:

1. You have never prepared a resumé but now want to apply for positions that require one

2. You have recent achievements or experiences that haven’t yet been added to your resumé

3. You have been sending out resumés without getting called for interviews

There is no single way to prepare a resumé. In fact, there are three common resumé formats – chronological, functional, and combination – and they don’t work equally well for all job-seekers.

The chronological resumé is the most commonly used format. It lists work experience in reverse order, starting with the most recent. A 2005 HotJobs.com survey found that 84 percent of recruiters prefer chronological resumés so it’s a good choice for those with a solid work history.

However, it is not a good format to use if you are changing careers. That’s because the reason employers prefer these resumés is the format makes it easy for them to quickly weed out candidates whose experience doesn’t precisely match what they’re looking for. So if you’re changing careers, a functional or combination resumé will be a better choice.

Instead of listing your experience chronologically, in a functional resumé you create headings for each skill you want to demonstrate, then summarize your previous experiences and accomplishments using those skills. The summary can include experience acquired through volunteer work, educational programs, or paid employment.

However, because this format is often used by applicants who have gaps or weaknesses in their work history, some employers view functional resumés with suspicion.

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