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Types of Resumes

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  • 0:00 Resume: Definition & Purpose
  • 1:02 Chronological Resume
  • 2:10 Functional Resume
  • 3:56 Entry-Level Resume
  • 4:30 Online and Scannable Resumes
  • 6:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
Savvy job seekers know that a resume is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. In this lesson, you'll learn how to better tailor your job application through the use of different types of resumes.

Resume: Definition & Purpose

Carmen is a few months away from graduating from college, and she is anxious to get started with pursuing her career. Prior to applying for jobs, she decides to stop off at her college's Career Services Department for some advice. Emilio works in the department and is happy to help.

Carmen proudly informs Emilio that she has already composed the 'perfect resume.' She plans on submitting this resume for each position she applies to. Emilio cautions Carmen that good resumes are not formalized documents, but rather customized for each position. Emilio explains that a resume is a short one or two-page document that describes your relevant education, experience, and skills for a particular job. A resume should focus on what is relevant for the position you are seeking and should be formatted based upon how it will be delivered and read, which is particularly important with digital submissions.

Carmen's now a bit confused and asks Emilio to explain a bit more. He's happy to do so.

Chronological Resume

Emilio explains that a common resume format is the chronological resume, which provides a short history of your education and work experience. The resume will list your education and work history in reverse chronological order with the most recent educational achievement and job experience listed first. A chronological resume typically includes the following sections:

  • Contact information
  • Objectives/goals
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Professional memberships and affiliations
  • Licenses and certifications
  • Awards and honors

If written correctly, it is probably the easiest type of resume for an employer to read and follow. Emilio also explains that a good chronological resume will demonstrate the applicant's growth in skills and experience over time.

Emilio cautions Carmen that chronological resumes have negative qualities as well. They make it pretty easy for an employer to guess your age - both young and old applicants can sometimes face age discrimination. Additionally, since the focus of a chronological resume is on history, it's often hard to illustrate your specific qualifications or unique abilities.

Functional Resume

Emilio goes on to explain that a functional resume is an alternative to the traditional chronological resume. Rather than stressing the chronology of Carmen's education and work experience, a functional resume showcases Carmen's strengths and skills relevant to the job, including transferable skills, which are skills that were developed for one type of job, but are transferable to another. Emilio explains that functional resumes are often used when you are changing career fields or when you have significant gaps in your employment history.

Common sections in a functional resume include:

  • Contact information
  • Profile, which is a short description of the individual focusing on relevant experience and skills
  • Skills summary, which is usually a bulleted list of skills relevant to the position
  • Professional experience categorized by skills rather than positions held
  • Employment history, which is often a short listing of positions in reverse chronological order
  • Education, which is usually in reverse chronological order

While a functional resume can be quite useful to stress one's skills and accomplishment as well as somewhat camouflage a spotty employment history or lack of direct work experience in the position, it is not without problems. Unlike the chronological resume, it doesn't clearly show an applicant's education and career development over time. For example, it may not show the fact that an applicant has a series of rapid promotions, which implies competency, drive, and dedication.

Additionally, functional resumes tend to be textually heavy, and having to plow through paragraphs of composition may get your resume filed in the circular file - otherwise known as the garbage can - if the employer is too busy or too lazy to review it. Finally, functional resumes can be a red flag to reviewers who are well aware that they are often used to hide gaps in employment or a lack of direct job-related experience.

Entry-Level Resume

Next, Emilio explains to Carmen that entry-level resumes often present challenges to those new to the workforce. Entry-level employees, like Carmen, often don't have a detailed job history or much 'real-world' experience. Consequently, entry-level resumes tend to be much shorter and skills focused. Experience and skills acquired through volunteering and membership in organizations are often used to supplement a short employment history. On the other hand, most entry-level jobs are just that - entry-level - and the expectations concerning work history and depth of experience is lower.

Building Resumes Online

Emilio moves on to a discussion of how the digital age has transformed the art of composing a resume. Some companies actually provide 'resume builders' that guide an applicant through building a resume online, by having the applicant fill in fields on the computer screen. For example, a typical resume builder will have fields related to contact information, education, work experience, and references. The resulting resume is often called an online resume because it was composed and stored online. If Carmen spends the time composing her resume through the employer's resume builder, it's pretty likely that the resume will cover all the information that the employer wants. On the other hand, some resume builders may not allow applicants to include other relevant information that may set an applicant apart.

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