Before you start looking for your next job in Alaska, you want to make sure you have a resume ready.
Rather than dig out a dusty old document and attempt to update it, why not create a new resume, one that will best showcase your skills and experience?
Here’s what you need to know to create a resume that will help open doors to new career opportunities.
Choosing a format
There are three main types of resumes: chronological, functional, and a combination of the two.
1. Straight-forward approach
A chronological resume, the most common type of resume, is just like it sounds; it lists work experience in date order, beginning with your current or most recent position, and continuing with previous jobs in reverse-chronological order.
In addition to work experience, a chronological resume includes an objective or career summary, education, and skills.
The format is generally: objective or summary, experience, education, and skills.
Recent grads or people with limited work experience may want to emphasize education and skills and opt for this format: objective or summary, education, skills, and experience.
Keep in mind that experience may include volunteer work as well as unrelated jobs where you used or developed applicable skills. If including this experience, be sure your position summaries provide appropriate details so a potential employer knows how these jobs qualify you for the position you’re now seeking.
2. Form follows function
A functional resume, by contrast, focuses less on your employment history and more on your skills and accomplishments.
This type of resume typically works best for people with unconventional career paths, job seekers with a spotty employment history, and individuals looking to change careers.
A functional resume also lends itself to creative professions, where it’s less about job titles and the companies you’ve worked for and more about what you know and can do.
If you’re a job seeker who lacks employment experience but is highly skilled and has noteworthy credentials and accomplishments, a functional resume may likewise be a good choice.
3. Best of both
A combination resume allows you to combine elements of both a chronological resume and a functional resume.
This type of resume typically includes: an objective, where you describe the position you’re seeking; a career summary, where you highlight what you have to offer a potential employer; an experience section, where job experience is listed in the same order as in a chronological resume; and an education section.
The main difference between a combination resume and a chronological resume is that a combination resume is more skills focused. In the experience section, instead of detailing responsibilities for each position held, you list skills and accomplishments.
A combination resume is ideal for a job seeker with an impressive track record of accomplishments.
Because it focuses less on employers and job titles, this resume also works well for people looking to change industries or career paths.
For the same reason, it can be a good choice for students, recent college grads, and applicants reentering the job market.
Although there are three basic types of resumes, there are many variations on the themes. It’s helpful to look at samples and templates in order to figure out what works best for you.
CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Training Administration, features several sample resumes at its website. These samples identify resumes by format as well as type of job.
Vault, a provider of career information and solutions, features numerous examples of resumes at its website. Use the drop-down menu to view sample resumes by format type.
Although it may initially seem like a daunting task, it’s easier than you think to write a resume that’s right for you. And once your document is ready, you’re ready for the job search — and an exciting new opportunity.
Paula Santonocito, a business journalist specializing in employment issues, holds a Workforce Career Coach Facilitator (WCCF) certificate and has been awarded the Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) designation.