Showcase Your Experience
Knowing if and when to use a chronological
resume can give you an edge over your job competition.
So you want to know everything there
is to know about a chronological resume? Before you tackle
that specific type of resume, it will help if you do a very brief review
of the basics.
A resume is a marketing brochure
for your product -- you. You want to use it to convince a potential
employer to offer you an interview so that they can take a closer look
If you don't get the interview, you
don't have a chance to close the sale (get the job). So you need
to make your resume appealing. That means it is absolutely necessary
that you choose the right type of resume.
There are four key things that a
resume does, says Martin Yate, author of the best-selling book Resumes
That Knock 'Em Dead.
The first thing is, "To package and
sell yourself into that job as a commodity," says Yate. "Because that's
what you are in the world of work -- you're selling yourself like Coca-Cola
You have to think of your qualifications
-- your skills and experience -- as the features of your product.
The type of resume you choose will either showcase you or emphasize
your negative features.
The second thing a resume does is open the door to a company. Most companies require a resume.
Third, a resume provides a road map
for the interviewer. It's a starting point for questions that look
more deeply into what you can offer the company. The type of resume
you present must focus the interviewer on your strong points.
Finally, "[it] is a reminder to the
interviewer after the interview as to who you are and what you have to
offer," says Yate. "Which means your resume is your most powerful
spokesperson after the interviewing is done and you're long gone."
Make sure the type of resume you choose makes you memorable for the right reasons.
A chronological resume is one
that puts the focus on your job experience. The other popular
type, called a functional resume, puts the focus on your skills.
A chronological resume has three essential sections:
1. Identification -- Provide your name, address, phone number and e-mail address.
2. Work experience or relevant experience -- Starting with the most recent,
list the jobs you've had.
3. Education -- If you haven't graduated from high school yet,
mention your expected date of graduation.
In addition, there are some optional
sections that you can include in your chronological resume --that is, if
they are appropriate to help you sell yourself.
Many experts suggest including a
section listing your affiliations or interests. "It gives the
employer a full view of who you are as a person, as well as skills that
might not be work experience but that might translate into a job you're
looking for," says Ritskes.
Have you earned some awards or been
recognized for special achievements? Then you might consider adding
a section called accomplishments or honors.
"If you've done something that stands
out, put it there," Yate says. "If you've got enough to have a section named
after it, hey, rock on. Go for it. If you've been an honors
student for six of the last eight years, put it in there."
One last optional area that might
be included is job objective or career objective. "I highly recommend
an objective," says Eric Ritskes. He is an employment officer
with Human Resources Development Canada. "It's not necessary, but it shows
that you're goal-oriented."
Look at the advantages of a chronological resume.
It highlights experience. So for
someone whose best selling point is lots of experience, the chronological
resume is an advantage. It gives you the opportunity to show
actual employment experience, with the additional advantage of showcasing
volunteer work and other experience relevant to the job being applied for.
So what are its disadvantages?
The chronological resume does have
its disadvantages. The main one is the reverse of its biggest advantage.
Since it does highlight experience, if you haven't had many jobs, it
will simply highlight your lack of experience. That's just the
opposite of the effect you are shooting for.
When should you use a chronological resume?
Penny Debrowski is a student employment
coordinator with the University of Manitoba. "I usually recommend
it to students in situations where they've got relevant experience for
the job they're applying for."
If you've got relevant, recent experience
for the job you're applying for, go with a chronological resume.
If you have little or no work experience, or your work experience doesn't
relate to the job you're applying for, it's probably best to go with a
Ritskes says most high school students don't -- and shouldn't -- use a chronological resume.
"I would say 80 to 90 percent of them don't," Ritskes says.
"You'll find with some high school
students, by the time they hit Grade 12, they've already had three or four
jobs, and a chronological resume might work perfectly for them."
Look at your options and choose the
best type of resume for you. Remember that you are trying to sell
a product: yourself. Choose the resume that will showcase your
product to its best advantage. You want to highlight your product's
features, to get a potential employer to give you an interview. Then
use that interview to get the job.
After you have created your first
chronological resume, plan to add to that chronological resume for the
rest of your working life.
"When you create a resume, it's a
pain in the neck to do," Yate admits. "And if you really don't like
doing it, tough noogies, because you've got 50 years of doing it ahead
of you. So you might as well do it right the first time and build