By Jessica Chen
- Resumes for students
- Resumes for professionals
- Resumes for the unemployed
- Resumes for Career Changers
- Creating multiple resume versions
Resumes for students
The primary challenge for a student´s resume is lack of extensive work history. To compensate, students should highlight their education, internship experience, relevant coursework and extracurricular activities. Focus on experience that showcases your leadership abilities, organizational skills, communication skills and intelligence. You want employers to feel like they can train and mentor you into a future leader.
Ensure you have put time into writing a solid Resume Objective. This will make it explicitly clear what your career goals are, and show you are the ideal person for the job.
Move the Education section to the top of the resume. This is the first thing employers want to see in entry level candidates. Highlight any notable achievements obtained while in school, but don´t go overboard. If your GPA was over 3.0, definitely include that in your resume. Include any sororities/fraternities and student leadership associations you might have been a part of. Specify when you graduated or when you are going to graduate. This is important as employers want to understand your availability. Use our education wizard to create the correct format.
Place emphasis on any internship experience, especially if it relates to your field of study and target career track. It is fine to place part time jobs while in school, such as waitressing at a restaurant, but do not waste too much valuable resume real estate.
Create an Extracurricular Activities section. Highlight any leadership roles you held and volunteering you may have been involved in.
Create a Language Skills section. Differentiate yourself from the pack if you know a secondary language. Make sure you specify your degree of proficiency, both for written and spoken.
Create a relevant coursework section, with the keyword being relevant. Typically this means more advanced courses and seminars taken in your junior and senior year.
Resumes for professionals
Professionals are defined as job candidates with 2+ years of work experience. Most professionals should utilize a reverse chronological resume format and focus primarily on their work experience and skills. A functional resume format should be used, however, if you possess large gaps in your work experience. Learn more about resume formats here.
Your resume should open with a strong Resume Objective. This will help convince the employer you are committed and skilled to fulfill the job requirements.
Focus on your more recent work experience, giving more emphasis on your current or last employer. After all, your new employer will want to know what you´ve been doing and what you can bring to the table today, not yesterday. If your work experience at any given employer is less than a year, a good way to make it seem longer is to omit the month from your dates. Only use this technique if your period of work was close to a year (if you only worked at a place for 2 months, don´t stretch it out to a year)
Move the Education section to the bottom of the resume, below your work experience. Employers want to see your work experience, followed by your education. Highlight any notable achievements obtained while in school, but don´t go overboard. If your GPA was over 3.0, definitely include that in your resume.
Make sure to include all of the tools and technology skills you have acquired over the years that are also relevant to the job being applied to. Don´t include everything under the sun, only those skills that a potential employer will want you to have for the job.
Ideas for additional sections
Use caution and restraint when adding additional sections to a professional resume. Unlike a student´s resume which may contain sections for community involvement or relevant coursework, a professional resume should primarily focus on work experience and education. Unless the job requires something specific, such as published work or licenses, you do not need to add additional sections.
Resumes for the unemployed or about to be unemployed
The current economic climate is tough, and employers are well aware of this. You should not feel stigmatized about being unemployed, and there are specific ways in which to structure your resume if you find yourself unemployed.
If you are a student
Find yourself unemployed after graduating recently? Follow the same guidelines in our resumes for students tutorial, with a few minor exceptions. You should highlight any part-time or volunteer work completed since graduation. The idea is to demonstrate that you´ve been busy, instead of standing still.
You´ll also want to make some modification to your graduation date. Lets say you graduated in June 2010 and its now November 2010. Instead of saying you graduated in June 2010, say you graduated in 2010. Use our education wizard to auto-phrase.
If you have at least 2 years of experience
As a professional, the strategy is similar to our resumes for professionals tutorial. There is no precedent that says you need to disclose why you are currently unemployed, so leave that off your resume. If during the interview you are asked about your previous employment situation, however, you should answer truthfully. Use our search technology to uncover resume phrases for your occupation.
Urgency and frequency
The secret to finding a new job is to be constantly looking for new opportunities, day in and day out. Beyond looking online, reach out to your high school/college network, local community and civic organizations and former work colleagues. Join social networking sites like facebook.com and linkedin.com. Attend local career fairs and conferences. The idea is to stay busy and get to get your name out there. But the first step is to craft a professional resume. Without one, you´ll be spinning your wheels and wasting your time.
Resumes for Career Changers
Case Study: Career Changers
Computer Programmer changing careers to a Computer Sales Representative
Step 1: Create a “baseline” resume
This is a resume that encompasses all your work experience, education, skills and additional information. Read how to write a professional resume for more information.
Once you have your baseline resume, use the duplicate button to create a new resume. Use the rename button and give it a descriptive name, such as “Computer Sales”.
Step 2: Look at the job requirements for the position
Customize your new resume version to match the job requirements. Pay careful attention to what existing skills you might have that are sought after in your new occupation.
For the Computer Sales Representative Position:
- Highlight your communication and interpersonal skills, using examples from your previous work experience
- Highlight your knowledge of computer systems and how they impact a business’s bottom line.
- Demonstrate your ability to be a successful salesperson
Step 3: Follow the same process to create a new cover letter version
This is your opportunity to explain why you are interested in changing careers and why you believe you will be successful. It is important to demonstrate that you are passionate and committed to your new occupation, as changing careers typically comes with a initial decrease in salary and responsibilities as you acquire the new skills needed for the job. Read how to write a cover letter
Creating multiple resume versions
Do I need more than one resume?
An unfocused resume is confusing for Hiring Managers, making it difficult to sort through and make an evaluation. By having more than one resume with each focused on one particular career/occupation, you’ll increase your odds of landing more job interviews.
If you were to just have one resume, it would likely include all of your work experience, education, skills, and related information. This would be too extensive and result in Hiring Managers passing on your resume. You want the Hiring Manager to instantly know, in 10 seconds or less, whether you are a qualified job candidate.
How do I create multiple resume versions?
We’ve assembled case studies describing the steps required to create multiple resume versions. They describe how to create a “baseline” resume from which you will then customize (remove or add information) for each career/occupation you want to apply to.