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3 Things to Consider When Crafting Your Resume

Closeup of a resume partially under a keyboard with a fountain pen.

3 Things to Consider When Crafting Your Resume

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Abstract

Resume writing is one of the most important skills a professional can have. A resume has the power to make or break your chances of landing an interview. In this article, we share some essential things to consider when crafting your resume.  

Resumes play an important role in our professional lives. Having a high-quality resume can help in getting an interview for a job, membership to an organization, or a professional fellowship that can help advance a career. Below are some key things to consider when crafting an attention grabbing resume. 

Resume Concept - looking at the word "resume" through a magnifying glass. With text: A summary of a person's experience and qualifications.

1. Best Formatting Practices

When it comes to resumes, there are certain best practices to keep in mind when writing your resume. First, choosing a pre-formatted resume template can seem like a great way to build a resume. Proceed with caution when deciding to use a template. Some templates are formatted in ways that prevent Automated Tracking Systems or ATS, from capturing all of the information on your resume. 

Most companies utilize some variation of an ATS when applicants send in their resume. Generally, it is best to format your resume as follows:

  • 1-inch margins on top, bottom, and sides.
  • 11- or 12-point font size. (Generally, between 10 – 14 is OK)
  • While using Bold text is generally okay, avoid using italics or underlining.
  • If a font is not specified, use a basic font such as Arial, Cambria, Times New Roman, or Calibri font types.
  • Bullet points are fine, but only use solid circles, open circles, or solid squares
  • Avoid graphics, logos, charts, tables, and columns – this could disrupt the ATS’ ability to read text
  • Spellcheck. Proofread. Spellcheck again. 
  • Lines and borders may be used as long as they do not touch any text
  • For your name and contact information, avoid extra spaces and special characters
  • For dates, use standard format MM/DD/YYYY or Month, YYYY; avoid abbreviations, such as ’19.

Following these general formatting rules gives you better odds that a ATS will accurately scan your resume and that it will look pleasant when it reaches the desk of the person scheduling interviews. 

2. Understanding Different Styles of Resume

Closeup of a hand on a keyboard and a resume on the laptop screen.

Depending on where you are in your career, the type of job you are applying for, and the requirements the job has, there are three main styles of resume that professionals can utilize.

Chronological Resume Style

This is probably the most common type of resume job seekers tend to construct. In the Chronological style of resume, the focus is on steady employment history where there is 10+ years of work history. The Chronological resume style is not generally used by people early in their career.

Functional Resume Style

The Functional style differs from the Chronological by focusing on the job seekers job skills. There are generally multiple sections dedicated to summarizing a specific skill or ability. Functional resumes often highlight non-traditional experience, such as volunteering or self-employment. The Functional style can be useful for people who have had an employment gap, are changing careers, or when there is a short work history. 

Functional resumes can be useful with the following scenarios:

  • You have the skills necessary for a job, but your skills were acquired from training or secondary activities rather than job duties and experience.
  • Making a change in the type of work you are seeking to do.
  • Starting a career. 
  • Employment Gaps.

Combination Resume Style

The Combination resume style features both a chronological work history, but also highlights a short set of skills by the job seeker. One of the benefits of the Combination style resume is that it lets the job seeker provide more information on their experience and skills. A negative aspect is that the Combination resume can be lengthy and redundant. The combination resume has plenty of benefits, especially if you’re a recent graduate or an entry level job seeker looking to develop their career.

3. Know Your Focal Point

Closeup of a resume peeping from an orange folder.

Knowing what to focus on can be helpful when choosing a resume style. Asking yourself, “What do I want to focus on,” can give you the insight needed to craft a resume in the right format. 

  • Both Functional and Combination styles mention skills. The deciding factor is work history. If job duties and achievements are relevant to the job being applied for, use a Combination format. If a radical career change is taking place, a functional format might work better.
  • Combination and Chronological resumes showcase work experience and time at each position. However, the Combination has a strong emphasis on the acquired skills. By assessing similarities in your work history, you may find it necessary to focus on your skills to avoid redundancy on the resume. On the other hand, if there are remarkable achievements, Chronological is the better format for describing them.
  • A functional resume emphasizes skills and accomplishments. Do your skills or previous positions strengthen your resume? What will recruiters find most interesting about you?

When it comes to resumes, there is no one size fits all approach. This can make resume writing feel daunting and stressful. Following the steps listed in this article should help to alleviate some of the challenges when writing your next resume. 

Finally, one last bit of advice. Ask other people to read your resume and ask them if it makes sense. Most programs have an option to have a document read aloud. Use this or another dictation feature to have your resume read aloud to you. This simple, extra step is one of the most effective methods this writer knows for effective proofreading. Taking the time to craft a strong resume in the format that best suits your situation can go a long way towards landing an interview. 

By: Ken Meeker CPC

Prior Career Content by Ken Meeker

About The Author:

A professional waist shot of Ken a white man with arms folded across his chest. He has short dark hair and eyeglasses.  
Ken Meeker

Ken Meeker is a Certified Professional Coach, owner of Vitality Career Coaching LLC, and member of the NCDA. He specializes in executive and career coaching with a special emphasis on differently-abled individuals who want to return to work. He is a DEI consultant, Public Speaker, and advocates for inclusivity of marginalized groups. Ken is a 2021-2022 AFB Blind Leadership Development Program Fellow and will serve as a Mentor for the 2022-2023 program. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.com/in/kenmeekeraz, kenmeekeraz@gmail.com or visit www.vitalitycareercoaching.com

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Image Descriptions:
  • Closeup of a resume partially under a keyboard with a fountain pen.
  • Resume Concept – looking at the word “resume” through a magnifying glass. With text: A summary of a person’s experience and qualifications.
  • Closeup of a hand on a keyboard and a resume on the laptop screen.
  • Closeup of a resume peeping from an orange folder.
  • Author photo: A professional waist shot of Ken a white man with arms folded across his chest. He has short dark hair and eyeglasses.  
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