Resume Writing Tips: Which Resume Format Should You Use?

Resume Writing Tips: Which Resume Format Should You Use?
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 29 November, 2021
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A smart candidate knows that a good resume is the key to an interview invite and ultimately to employment. Aside from a summary of your abilities, work experience and education, a resume should reveal your unique selling points to entice a potential hirer to choose you.

The secret to an irresistible resume is to address the specific needs of the job you’re applying for. A customized resume has infinitely more impact than a generic, “one-size-fits-all” type. To write such a resume, you must first organize the information under specific headings such as education, work experience, achievements, skills and activities. When everything is in place, choose the right resume format to play up your qualities that fit the job’s requirements.

Here are the different types of resume to choose from:

  1. Chronological resume

    • Recommended for candidates with a solid working experience and a progressive job history in a specific field or industry and who would want to continue along the same career path.
    • Presented on an itemized, reverse chronological order, starting with current position and moving backwards. Each position contains a description of relevant responsibilities and accomplishments. Suitable for highlighting career milestones.
  2. Functional Resume

  3. Combination Resume

    • This resume format tries to merge the best features of the chronological and functional type-resumes by incorporating both a chronological work history and a skills and achievements section. Top focus is on skills and accomplishments, followed by work experience.
    • This resume type may have its shortcoming as some employers find this format long, repetitive and confusing.
  4. Electronic Resume

    • A popular format used at electronic resume banks and job portal sites like JobStreet.com.
    • The resume is sent by email and can be viewed on the Internet. Specially formatted for scanning and searching by optical scanning systems.
    • Fast becoming an increasingly popular and acceptable form of job application as it is fast, effective and convenient.
    • Comes in different file formats but the most common are in plain text, rich text and hypertext.

Resume Writing Tips

  1. Know your objective

    1. What job do you want? What are the skills and requirements necessary for this job?
    2. Keep them in mind as you write your resume so that the interviewer reading it will see that you are the person they are looking for.
  2. Compile all your information

    • List down your personal particulars, education history, extracurricular activities including positions held, employment history, seminars attended, achievements, etc.
    • Ensure the dates are correct. Leave out hobbies/interests, parents’ occupations, etc.
    • Sort information under specific headings – Education, Work Experience, Achievements, Skills, Activities.
  3. Start with your name and contact details

    • Write your full name, postal address, house and mobile numbers, email address.
    • Leave out your marital status, sex, race, parents’ names and occupations, birth details, etc.
  4. Write your employment details

    • Starting with your most recent work, list down all the jobs you have had, including the company names, dates of employment and position titles.
    • Using bullet points, write the job description, nature of work and responsibilities held for each position
    • Use key words: responsible for, coordinated, prepared, managed, monitored, presented, accomplished, achieved, analyzed, delegated, etc .
    • Highlight your achievements/job responsibilities.
  5. List education details

    • Lead with your highest education level to the lowest. Earned an impressive GPA during your time in college? Include that too especially if you’re a fresh graduate. State courses or degrees studied, e.g. Psychology, Contract Law, Multimedia.
    • List activities like societies/clubs, position held and accomplishments if they are relevant to the job you are applying to. Otherwise, leave them out.
  6. Include your skills

    • List down your computer skills, language proficiencies in reading and writing, and soft skills (public speaking, presentation, etc).
  7. References

    • Not totally essential but if you need to mention references, choose people who know you personally and can give a good impression of you to the potential employer.
    • Remember to give your references’ contact details.
    • Make sure you inform your referees that they may receive calls from your interviewers so that they can prepare. Send them copies of your resume so that they know who you are and what you did.
  8. Miscellaneous

    1. Be short and concise

      • Resumes are usually read in only 30 seconds or less, so you have to be brief and go straight to the point.
      • Resumes should be a maximum of two pages long. Use size 12 fonts (Sans Serif types or Helvetica) for easy reading. Use three pages only if you have extensive professional experience.
      • Use italic or bold fonts only to indicate important information or section breaks.
      • Use a good printer to avoid stray marks, splotches, uneven or blurred letters.
      • Use high-quality A4-sized white paper. Do not use flashy colours like pink or red.
    2. Be honest

      • Do not inflate your accomplishments. Make sure you can back up what you claim.
    3. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes

      • Make sure your resume is free from spelling or grammar mistakes.
      • Ask someone reliable to check it for you.
      • Do not depend on your word processor’s spell checker.
      • Most importantly, proofread until your resume is perfect.
    4. Use powerful words

      • Action words add “oomph” to your writing and enable your resume to stand out.

Resumes

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Did you know many candidates preparing a resume also research their industry by exploring top search terms?
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