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Choosing the Right Resume
Selecting the best type of resume to fit your purpose is one of the most daunting choices one has to make during the job seeking process. For a good number of applicants, the decision to outline their resume a certain way is made even more complicated because of the wealth of resources found online. While there may be an abundance of various resume-related articles or information pages, there certainly is a lot of conflicting information and there doesn’t seem to be a single definitive resource on which resume styles or templates are the most appropriate. This leaves lot of applicants flustered or even frustrated with the resume writing and the job application process.
If you are going through the same thing, rest assured you are not alone in this predicament! The reason for this seemingly impossible task is that though there may be accepted or recommended standards to resume writing, there isn’t an iron-clad set of rules that comprise this seemingly complex system of rules, standards, and ‘must-dos’.
The secret to choosing the right resume, however, is to stay within best-practice methods of presenting information and Australian National Employment Standards. Only extensive experience in the hiring industry can inform what works and what doesn’t work, something that Melbourne Resume has worked to maintain over the years.
There is an endless array of different formats to choose from, with each one presenting its own set of benefits and advantages. Read along to get a understanding of which resume style suits your particular situation:
In a nutshell, chronological resumes may be some of the most popular and widely used formats as it is straightforward and direct to the point: it shows a steady progression of skills acquired through the years after doing various engagements or jobs in different positions. More ideally called reverse-chronological resumes, they include an objective statement and summary and features the most recent position occupied, with subsequent mentions of previous positions. This format is more typically used if the candidate does not have any gaps in the employment, which is something that must be avoided. Fill any gaps with explanatory notes for circumstances such as going back to school, taking care of family or children, or even extended vacations or trips – anything but a gaping space in between two jobs. As a general rule anything over 3 months would require such an explanation.
On the other hand, a functional resume focus on skills and competencies, and not on the chronology of your employment history. This resume style is often employed to directly address the skills required by the employer. When chronological resumes benefit from having a structured and straightforward work timeline, some applicants may have concurrent positions and a complex system of part-time work, secondments, and other complementary activities that will not be served well by a strictly linear historical account. By zeroing in on the skills and providing an in-depth narrative of how you are able to address these required skills and abilities, you are able to provide a clear picture of how you are able succeed in given tasks. Functional resumes may also include a relevant work history section, then a brief work history section towards the end of the document for any other positions held, but as the name suggests, this truly functional resume format directly responds to the specific skills listed in a job description.
A good halfway point between chronological and functional resumes is a combination resume, which emphasises both work experience and pertinent professional skills and abilities. Since a combination resume is the most flexible format, it is really up to the applicants to highlight certain sections that they think may be more helpful in getting them their desired role. The goal of the combination resume is to take advantage of visual hierarchy in presenting information – if your most viable skills are in plain sight, ATS scanners and HR managers or recruiters may focus on those skills at face value and consider you for the role immediately. Highlighting what is important is key in combination resumes. This works especially well for someone who is adaptable across multiple industries, those who want to shift or transition to a different career path, or, in the case of more complex academic and senior roles, highlight highly transferrable skills that apply to any position.
There are clear pros and cons for each type of resume, but here at Melbourne Resume our practice has always been to strike a perfect balance between chronological and functional resumes. Adopting a combination resume style, we try to bridge the need for a structured narrative of one’s professional history and career progression, whilst also highlight our clients’ skills and ensuring they are front and centre. More importantly, our years of experience and over tens of thousands of clients served has informed us that our standard of resumes proves to be more versatile and successful.
Contact us today so we can help you get started with a resume that is appropriate and targeted for any role.