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June 27, 2017

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The ABCs of Effective Resume Writing: Part 3 – The All Important Format

Choosing the right format might seem like child’s play to a lot of job seekers. I mean, how many good choices are there really? The answer depends on your own unique situation.

Let’s start with the resume format most loved by human resources: the combination format. It’s basically the format that you see the most and is very effective when it’s used in the right situation.

What is the right situation? Basically if you have the ‘perfect’ job history – no gaps, not a ton of job-hopping – then this will work for you. After your contact information, the executive summary is at the top, followed by some career highlights, then your jobs and positions (along with achievements and responsibilities), followed by awards, professional affiliations and education.

So you’re not perfect…

But what if you have some ‘career baggage’? Maybe you took some time off for family reasons or you’ve been the product of several layoffs. You need to create your resume in the format that doesn’t highlight these so-called black marks. Instead, you want to draw the reader’s attention to all your achievements and proof that you deserve an interview.

Although it is not favored by human resource professionals, the functional format can be used effectively. With this format, you list your strengths and achievements toward the beginning of your resume under subheadings. These subheadings could be Management, Organizational Skills and Leadership. Anything that is essential in your profession and can show why you’re at the top of your game. Your jobs are then listed at the end with your other information. That way the thing that employers see first is not that you haven’t worked in five years or that you’ve had five jobs in the last four years. Make them see the positives first.

Laying it all out

No matter what format you choose, you do not want to go past two pages. I suppose there are always exceptions but even Executives can oftentimes get by with a single page resume. Also keep in mind that if you do go to two pages, make sure that second page is not scarce. You want to fill the page as much as possible. A good rule of thumb is three quarters of the page should be used. You might have to adjust your margins and spacing a bit.

Speaking of spacing, white space overall is important for your resume. You don’t want all the text to be crammed together, making it difficult to read. At the same time, you don’t want it to be too ‘airy’ and have it look like you’re just trying to fill the space. You need a happy medium of both to make an attractive looking resume that employers will want to read.

You’re doing well. You’re well on your way to creating your resume. Just a few more steps until you can really appreciate all that you’ve done. Next time you’ll discover how to make those achievements of yours really stand out.

- Heather Eagar

Recognized as a leading expert in the employment search industry, Heather Eagar is passionate about providing working professionals with current, reliable and effective job search tools and information. If you are considering hiring a professional resume writer service, check out reviews of the top companies in the industry at www.ResumeLines.com

Part One

Part Two

Part Four

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