Don't burden your potential employers with a confusing and jumbled list of your employment history. Resume structure matters, so here are a few tips to follow, to make your resume more effective.
Writing a resume is more than simply writing out a list of your education and work experience. Your resume is a clear representation of who you are as a professional and should include your career goals, qualifications, and relevant skillset.
However, you don't want to include unnecessary add-ons like a list of irrelevant interests or hobbies, unclear section breaks, and length paragraphs. Not only are they bad form, but they can also put a strain on the readers' eyes.
There are many ways to format a resume; it all depends on your experience and education. A recent graduate may focus more on academic performance, instead of your work accomplishments. If you choose the right format, you can highlight the information that matters most.
If you have a large gap in your employment history, you may want to break from the traditional resume form. Instead of focusing on your education and employment history, you can accentuate your skills.
It's common knowledge that hiring managers and employers don't read through every resume during the initial round. They scan. If you don't want your resume to end up in the rejected pile, you should make sure it's easy to read. And, make it easy to follow by taking the time to organize your resume.
Here are five tips to help you create an effective resume with a solid structure.
#1. Keep It Neat and Simple
Your resume's appearance can either make it easy or difficult to follow and interpret. If you use a tiny font, so you can cram every bit of information on a single page, you'll only end up straining the hiring manager's eyes. If also want to avoid using an extra-large font.
The most appropriate font size for a resume is 10 to 12 pt. You should also use one font throughout the resume, which should be one of the standard font types like Arial or Helvetica.
Leave space between each section, to clearly separate them. For clarity and conciseness, use a bullet point to list accomplishment and qualification.
There are plenty free creative resume templates out there that can help keep your resume on track and ensure it looks nice and attractive.
#2. List Your Contact Information First
Place your contact information at the top of the resume, to make it easy to find. Employers should not have to hunt around your resume for a way to contact you.
Always include your full name, address, e-mail address and your best contact phone numbers. You should also include your website, if applicable. Depending on the position you're applying for, you may also need to include your social media accounts.
#3. How to List Your Work Experience
List the company, your job title and your dates of employment. They should be in reverse chronological order with your most recent job position listed first. Instead of writing paragraphs about your accomplishments and responsibilities, use bullet points instead.
Paragraphs can take a long time to read and include extra words that can make it hard to find relevant information. Bullet points make your resume easy to read, which is the way employers like it. Here are some good tips.
#4. Choose a Resume Format: Functional, Chronological, or Combined?
Chronological is the most traditional format and is appropriate for a person with a steady employment history. This format includes a reverse-chronological list of a person's employment history. The most current job is listed first.
If a person has large gaps in their employment, a functional format is more effective. Your skills will be listed instead of the dates of employment. This puts the focus on your experiences and achievements and takes it off of the time gaps.
The combined format lists your skills with the employment history information underneath. This format is useful for a person changing careers. The employer can see which skills are relevant to the new field, even if you've never held a position in that field before.
#5. Choose Relevant Educational Information
You want to place your educational information under your contact information if you're a recent graduate. The main focus of your resume is to highlight your academic accomplishments.
List your institution, your major, degree. You'll also want to include academic achievements and honors.
However, if you have several years of work experience, including internships, place your education at the bottom of the page. In this case, you'll want to highlight your career achievements and job skills.
If you have work experience, you can leave out your academic honors unless they're internationally-recognized or outstanding.
The right structure allows you to emphasize your accomplishment while taking the spotlight off of a lack of employment history, or employment gaps. The appropriate structure can be used to your advantage. Let your resume work in your favor.