How to write a resume?

Below is a comprehensive note about writing your resume.

What is a Resume?

A resume is a key component or the first step of a job search, and you can not be replace by a digital profile or visual resume such as LinkedIn.

  • A resume is a written compilation of your education, work experience, credentials, and accomplishments that is used to apply for jobs.
  • In many cases, your resume is the first document a hiring manager will look at when reviewing your application, and therefore is a true “first impression.”
  • The resume's primary function is to showcase your talents and skills to an employer—clearly, convincingly and quickly.

Why is a resume so important?

  • A resume tells employers what you have accomplished in the past and what you can do for their company now.
  • The resume is a tool that you can use to get an interview. During an interview, in most cases, a resume operates as a guide for you and the employer.

Three Types of Resumes

Choosing the best resume format is extremely important because there are many factors to take into account. These include the length of your resume and your accomplishments, as well as possible shortcomings. Whichever resume format you choose, make sure to include examples of accomplishments that benefited your previous employers. Three common types of resumes are chronological, functional and combination (skills based). Keep in mind that businesses prefer either a chronological resume or a combination resume.

1. Chronological

Chronological resumes highlight consistency. This format stresses what you accomplished in each of the positions you held. A chronological resume focuses primarily on the history of your work experience and education. It also shows your progress and advancements in your career. This resume format is popular among businesses.

How to Prepare a Chronological Resume

  • List your most recent jobs first
  • Give dates for each job
  • Briefly describe the main duties and accomplishments in each job
  • Emphasize duties and accomplishments that relate to the job you seek

2. Functional

A functional resume focuses on your skills and experience, without including chronological time and job titles. It presents a profile of your experience based on professional strengths or groups of skills. Your employment history usually follows, but in less detail than in a chronological resume. It is used most often by people with gaps in their work history, those who are changing careers and individuals with limited work experience. Employers generally do not prefer to receive functional resumes as they do not show your work history or career progress.

How to Prepare a Functional Resume

  • Use if you; have gaps in your employment, have changed jobs frequently, or are changing careers
  • Highlight your professional strengths
  • Highlight your transferable skills
  • Do not include dates of employment

3. Combination

A combination (or combined) resume combines the best features of the traditional chronological (where the dates are in reverse order) and functional (where skills are listed in the beginning) resumes. A combination resume can also be referred to as a skills based resume. A combination resume works for entry level candidates as well as for those who have many years experience and need a better resume.

How to Prepare a Combination Resume

  • Use when changing careers
  • Highlight your skills and education over experience

Resume selection chart

If you are... then use a...
Chronological Resume Combination Resume Functional Resume
A younger worker and/or have limited work experience
Possible Yes Possible
An older worker with a continuous work history
Yes Yes No
Returning to the workforce after a gap in employment for a variety of reasons
(Example: incarceration, parenting, illness, care giving)
No Yes Possible
Changing careers or your area of focus
No Yes Possible
Someone who has changed jobs frequently or has had a wide variety of jobs
No Yes Possible
Veteran entering a civilian job
Possible Yes Possible