The ABC’s of Resume Writing | “A” is for ART

A: Resume writing is an Art, not a science.

Surprise! There is not just one way to write a resume. Resume writing has long been considered anĀ art not a science. If resume writing was in fact a science, then there would not be thousands of books on the subject of resume writing and the resume writing profession would not be as prolific. If resume writing was a science, then you could just follow the prescribed steps and be guaranteed positive results.

Resume writing is an art and there are numerous ways to write a resume that highlights your unique career history and defines your personal and professional brand. In fact, if you chose to have your resume professionally written by three different professional resume writers, you would certainly get three different resumes. They would be different in content and maybe even in the choice of format.

Speaking of formats, there are three standard formats that are accepted and used in resume writing today; the chronological resume, the functional resume, and the hybrid resume. Each format handles the display of work experience and skills differently.

The chronological resume, the most widely accepted resume by recruiters and hiring managers, displays experience in reverse chronological order, with accomplishments listed under each position. This format is recommended for persons with a steady, progressive career history and a desire to continue working in their current occupation.

The functional resume, the least accepted resume format by recruiters and hiring managers, does not list accomplishments with each position. Accomplishments are pulled out from each position and are listed under functional headings. This strategy is recommended for career changers, recent college graduates, and people returning back to work after an extensive hiatus.

The hybrid resume incorporates the best elements of both the chronological and functional resumes by listing accomplishments under each position and pulling out key accomplishments and listing them under functional headings prior to work experience.

With each format, comes numerous strategies of just how and why to use each one. If you are writing your resume yourself, it is best to become familiar with each format and choose the one that best fits your career objective. If you plan to enlist the help of a professional resume writer, be prepared to answer detailed questions about your career that will help them choose the best format. Just remember, there is more than one way to right a resume that places your career experience and skills in the best light possible.

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