Best Resume Type For Different Occupations

by hwrjoel Thursday, January 31, 2013
There are several kinds of resumes, with three that are the most common: reverse chronological, functional and the hybrid, which is a combination of the other two formatting types. The resume format that will work best for you will depend on the type of occupation and industry that you are looking to get into, the type of experience that you have to offer and your level of education.

It is important to note that the term “format” has a couple of different meanings. A resume format could mean:

•    The way the content of the resume is structured.

•    The technological approach to the resume’s preparation, according to how it will be delivered to its recipient.

The resume that will work for a high school or college graduate may not look right for an upper level executive. What would be right for an academic track position may not work for an entry level position in the manufacturing industry.

Occupations and Industries

There are several different types of occupations and/or industries, and this should be the first factor for deciding which of the resume formats that you use. You should also consider which resume actually looks the best for your personal information. Most jobs or occupations can be separated into different categories including:

  •     Blue collar jobs like manufacturing, factory and others.
  •     Service industry jobs such as witnessing and customer service
  •     Office jobs up to and including lower level management
  •     Executive and professional jobs starting at the upper level of management
  •     Professional or academic careers like doctor, lawyer and more

Before you decide which kind of resume is best for the occupation that you are looking for, it might be a good idea to know a little bit about the strengths and weaknesses of each of these resume types.

The Reverse Chronological Resume

The resume that is favored by resume readers (Human Resources, bosses, recruiters, etc.) is the reverse chronological format. Not only is it easy to read, it is direct and highlights your work history, which is one of the most important factors that the readers tend to look for.

There are some drawbacks to the reverse chronological resume for people in certain circumstances. Anyone who does not have a lot of experience, or may have made a few job changes in the past few years, would be better served by other types of resume formats.

•    The reverse chronological resume works well for those in traditional industries such as education, banking, law and accounting.
•    If you are a specialist in a specific career field such as technology or social service, this type of resume format would be the right one to choose.

The Functional Resume

A functional resume is best for those who do not have the traditional work or educational experiences but still have valuable skills to offer. The benefit of the functional resume is the ability to pick and choose the information that is either included or omitted as determined by the job or the requested skills.

•    Functional resumes are great for blue collar jobs like manufacturing.
•    If you are entering the workforce or are a new graduate, the functional format can be the right one. It allows you to display your skills that you may have used previously (such as course work or volunteer work) apply to the job you are seeking.
•    If you are changing industries or occupations, this type of resume would be ideal.
•    It is also perfect for people with multi-track job histories, ex-military personnel, those with lengthy gaps in their work-history.

The Hybrid Resume

Using the best of both - the reverse chronological resume and the functional resume, the hybrid can highlight the strengths of a job candidate without making any of the serious weaknesses like employment gaps or other problems really noticeable. Using this type of resume can also allow you to skip the information that might be considered detrimental to your chances.

•    The resume is ideal for those who have accumulated several years of professional work history.
•    Older workers returning to the job market
•    Perfect for freelancers who have worked on several different projects.

Deciding which of these resumes is best for the job or career that you would like to have depends on even more factors.

What Is the Resume Reader Looking For?

Resumes are read by very busy people who scan the piles of documents that they receive, weed out the best examples and then start making calls to the people who will best fill the job opening that they are currently interviewing for. Obviously not everyone who applies will be given a job interview and not everyone who gets an interview will be given the job. The better the job or the tighter the job market, the higher the number of applications and resumes that will be received.

A resume reader then is looking for the following qualities in the resumes that they have to go through:

  •     Clear printing without overdone formatting, fancy fonts or cluttered margins
  •     Brief and direct resumes that are one page long, with only a few exceptions
  •     White paper that will stand up to frequent shuffling and rereading.

What the Resume Reader Is NOT Looking For

Because the typical resume is given ten to fifteen seconds of time to catch their eye, the resume reader is not looking for lengthy paragraphs and sentences. Any information that is going to require an explanation should be omitted. If it is important enough to ask, it will be covered in the interview; otherwise, it only a waste of time and space.

How Your Formatting Can Help Shine a Light on Your Accomplishments

In addition to finding a good resume format for the occupation that you are trying to get into, you have to consider certain issues that might be glaring on the wrong format. For instance, a recent graduate or someone who is changing careers completely might not want to use a reverse chronological resume which might make the lack of experience that is directly related to the job far too notable. After all, the resume reader is going to scan briefly and is not going to stop to find out the reasons behind a lack of experience or why you are suddenly changing careers.

If you are an upper level executive or on the academic track, it is important to note that the one-page suggestion for resumes is not going to stand because obviously there will be more educational and experience requirements for these types of occupations. However, because the resumes that are used for these types of positions are so lengthy, it might be beneficial to use an executive summary, which is a one-page condensation for the resume reader to scan over briefly.

How Using a Template Can Help Define the Right Resume Style

Writing a resume can be time-consuming and tedious, especially if you are really confused about the style you need. Using a service that has several templates can allow you to enter your information on several styles so that you can preview the finished resume and have an idea of which would be most attractive and most likely to get noticed by the resume reader.

Without a resume template, the task of creating a resume would involve more time and energy than is really needed.