You’ve reached the résumé styles page of The Résumé Center operated by Jerry Bills, Ph.D., MBA, CPRW (Certified Professional Résumé Writer) and the world’s premier résumé/CV writer recognized as the “Résumé Wonk.” Dr. Jerry also holds the professional designation of CPCC (Certified Professional Career Coach).
This website is the only firm in the world dedicated to writing professional résumés and cover letters operated by a professional writer with a doctorate degree in “business ethics” (no, business ethics is not an oxymoron).
The firm, with nearly three decades of experience and over 34,000 résumés written [a 99.9996% satisfaction rating] has been recognized internationally as having the “best resume writer” and Dr. Jerry has won many awards, including “best resumes,” “best functional resumes,” “best certified professional resume writers,” “best resume tips providers,” and “best executive resume writers.”
Some résumé sites provide samples of work but force visitors to write out the version because of an inability to print. Dr. Jerry thinks that is misleading and more importantly he believes when you copy a style because YOU think it will work you could be making a big mistake. Style selected for presentation of credentials is often more important than substance and what works well for one person could be a disaster to another. If you elect to work with a professional let the decision regarding what style and format best suits your needs up to the professional.
It is in your own selfish best interest to e-mail your present résumé/CV to JerryBills@reagan.com for a free evaluation. It costs you nothing and you will get some valuable tips.
There are only a few actual résumé styles regardless of whether you are looking for opportunities in the USA, Canada, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom (England), France, or elsewhere. While the nuances are significantly different from country to country and region to region (even across career fields) it is important to understand the few basic styles and when they generate the most interviews:
For nearly three decades, we have been getting people interviews without overcharging them.
Everyone needs an edge and statistics show a new resume, written by a professional, can significantly boost high quality interviews. Anyone can get an interview for a ‘commission only’ job, but the competition for highly desirable opportunities is heavy.
A popular admonition goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Yet people do that all the time. We ascribe qualities of character to people based on what we read in their resume and the language they use. What you write is, in part, a reflection of you. When your writing is sloppy, you are perceived as sloppy. When your writing is too wordy, you are perceived as an ineffective communicator. When you have only about 30 seconds to get and keep the attention of the typical reader, everything must be perfect. It is a fact that most people get rejected based on what is in their résumé and not what they left out.
Reverse Chronological Style
The “Reverse Chronological Style” is the most common style and has employment history presented starting with the most recent down to the oldest and is generally limited to the past 10-years or so.
A variation of this style is the “Chronological” and a pure ‘Chronological Style’ would have the oldest job listed first, followed by the second job, and then followed by the current job. Since this style is seldom used today, it is not displayed and would not be used by any professional résumé writer without special cause.
A second common style is the “Functional” style. This style is generally out of favor and is used when there is a problem area such as major gaps in employment. This style is taught in academia and often used by amateur résumé writers. There are only a few clients where this style is appropriate.
A third common style is the “Narrative” or “Biographical” style and is more like a biography than a résumé – and is like writing a short story (with the biggest error being the story gets too long and can become boring). Nearly all résumés self-developed or prepared by a nonprofessional résumé writer follow this style. Use of this style could generally lead to early rejection at a low level.
A fourth common style is the “Skills” style and many amateur résumé writers confuse this style with the “Functional” style. However, when properly used it is unique and can present an applicant’s credentials with a sequence of skills, knowledge, and abilities. On the other hand, it is best suited for students and entry-level workers who have not found a career-path to follow.
A fifth style, quite uncommon and developed by Dr. Jerry, is the “Targeted” style. This style should be used when the job search focus is extremely narrow or a career path is intentionally limited. This style often uses a great number of bullet items (with the danger that too many bullets will steal the message).
A less common, but sometimes highly effective style is the “Imagination” style. Dr. Jerry developed the “Newsletter” style just for individuals needing to express their ‘creative’ or ‘imagination’ skills. Here credentials are presented to look like a newsletter. While this is often a style of interest to many, it is a good style just for individuals looking for opportunities where artistic skills need to be displayed.
In most circumstances, a blending (or hybrid) of styles becomes appropriate. Your professional résumé writer will talk with you and will select the best blend for your individual circumstances.
TAKE CARE IN SELECTING YOUR STYLE
Once again, the standard recommendation is to delegate the style selection issue to your professional résumé writer – picking your own may not produce the desired results.
METHODS OF PRESENTATION
There are two basic methods of presentation:
- Presentation – The document is mailed to employers and looks nice and pleasing to the eye. The document is generally sent in MS-Word and sometimes, if requested, in PDF format.
- Printable – Here the document is printed and mailed to the potential .
Everyone should have their résumé in “Presentation” format since the statistics for successful job searching highly favor mailing the résumé and cover letter to potential employers. We do not recommend you post your résumé online – quite the contrary, you should not rely upon such a method to produce any significant result. Moreover, too much data posted on line makes you potentially a target for identity theft.
It is fairly simple for anyone with some technical skills to convert a “Presentation” résumé to a “Digital” résumé – so do not pay extra for such a service if you are technically literate. All you need do is to open the document, click on the “save as” button and select ‘plain text.’ You will need to do some major tweaking of the final product for simply saving as plain text may result in a document difficult to read. The firm offers a service where they will convert your MS-Word document or one that they develop for you for a small payment of only $99 and the price includes all of the major tweaking necessary for the document to look presentable when posted to a job board.
It is best to not determine what style should be used as a foundation until AFTER determining where you want to go at this point in your career. Often the final product is more of a “hybrid” than a set style.
Regardless of the style used there are some basic rules which should be followed:
The Rules of Successful Résumé Writing:
- Preparation: Define your core strengths, skills, knowledge, and abilities
- Style then Content: Style first (Reverse Chronological, Chronological, Functional, Bullet, Narrative, Biographical, Hybrid), then content
- Revising: Review, revise, and edit – read it out loud to be certain it makes sense
- Proofreading: Check your writing mechanics (spelling, grammar, punctuation, format, etc.) – then do it again
- Short is better than long: Keep it under 500 words – shorter if you are looking for management positions – it is hardly ever beneficial to have a really long resume – there are exceptions but a professional should tell you if a long résumé is appropriate for YOU
- Don’t include everything: More interviews are lost because of what is in a résumé.
- Style trumps substance: Like it or not, style will win out over substance every time – it is the ‘right’ style which takes your breath away
- Know your core strengths: Everyone has something to contribute
- Exclude outside interests: Not everyone loves hunting or cats or fast cars
- No “Objective”: The employer does not care what you want, only what you can do for the company
- Clarity: Do not make the company guess what opportunities you seek
- Seek Professional Help: If you start to work even a single day earlier, the professional help was essentially FREE
Not only is it wise to separate “proofreading” from the “writing” and “revising” process, it is wise to set the document aside for a couple of hours and then return with a fresh approach.
Writing and revising concern such matters as content, message, and style while the function of proofreading addresses the mechanics (spelling, grammar, punctuation, and format).
Don’t work alone when proofreading. Someone else can detect mistakes in your work easier than you can for they bring fresh eyes to the material. Never be afraid to get another opinion. Sometimes you will get some outstanding suggestions on how to improve your presentation.
Don’t just proofread a single time. Professional proofreaders and editors often proofread as many as ten times or more.
Even when the document is proofread by professionals, errors still happen. Reading the document aloud can be a great help in finding errors.
Question everything and take nothing for granted. If you have a history of making certain mistakes, double and triple check for them. Most errors are made unconsciously. Here are some common, unconscious, and repetitive errors:
- Misspellings: never ever trust the spell checking program contained in word processing software
- Keyboarding: “form” for “from” keyboarding errors are repeated without thinking
- Usage errors: “which” for “that”
- Right word usage: “advice” or “advise”
- Inattention: Letting your fingers move faster than your mind
Always read the document out loud, word for word, and ideally with someone listening. Using this method allows you to take advantage of two senses: hearing and seeing. Sometimes you will hear a mistake faster than you will see a mistake.
Take your time. Even with deadlines, you must read every word on the page, not just what you think should be there. This can be very difficult, especially if you are the one writing what you are reading – hence the need for a ‘listener’.
Why should you take your time? When you read like you normally read, you often see only parts of words. When you take your time, you will actually see each and every word completely.
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