If you're aiming to please a hiring manager in your job search (and who isn't?), then format your resume chronologically.
In a recent Accountemps survey, 75% of hiring managers prefer a chronological resume that lists the most recent work experience first. The respondents preferred this type of resume to one that is organized by job function and skills, according to the financial staffing firm.
The firm also reported that the managers' responses were little changed from 10 years ago when the question was asked.
"Chronological resumes allow job seekers to present their career progression to prospective employers in a straightforward, easy-to-follow way," says Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of "Job Hunting for Dummies."
"Functional resumes, which emphasize skill sets rather than jobs held, are popular among professionals in career transition or who have had lengthy gaps in employment, but they are not the favorite of employers," he adds. "It is often better to address a career challenge directly than try to write around it."
Using the chronological model for your resume solves a major question about format, but there is still room for creativity and variation. Style questions you'll need to answer include: Bullet points or paragraphs? Open with an objective statement or "summary of qualifications," or neither?
Whichever style elements you choose, you'll want to heed these reminders from Accountemps about common resume hurdles:
1. Employment gaps. Offer a brief explanation of employment gaps in your cover letter. In this economic environment, hiring managers understand people could be out of work through no fault of their own.
2. Limited work history. Bolster your work experience through internships, part-time work or temporary assignments obtained through a reputable staffing firm. Don’t forget to include relevant volunteer activities in the work experience section of your resume.
3. Appearing overqualified. Provide a summary of pertinent skills and strengths at the top of your resume, in addition to a chronological listing of your work experience. Emphasize and quantify how you’ve contributed to bottom-line success in previous jobs and how that experience would apply to a prospective employer’s needs.
For more, check out the great tips in these resume-related articles:
- 'Accomplishments' to Leave off Your Resume
- 5 Easy Resume Boosters
- Great Resume Beginnings: Objective or Summary?