Effective resume writing is not some one-size-fits-all concept that affords the same experience to every person looking for a job regardless of experience, education or employment requirements. A variety of resume styles are available that can be exploited by those bringing specific strengths to the job hunt while downplaying specific weaknesses in your history. The corporate middle manager hitting the pavement in search of a job because the company he worked for twenty years went bankrupt has decidedly different resume requirements than the recent college graduate whose only real world experience in the labor market is limited to making every kind of food available in the food court at the mall.
Education Highlight Style
Typically, those looking for a job fresh out of college will want to employ the resume style that highlights the value of education over work experience. When this type of resume is perused, the information placed at the top is heavily focused on whatever aspects of your education you can use to convince a company that you are worth taking a chance on. Those who are graduating college fresh out of high school have a leg up on the resume style that highlights education over work experience. Young college graduates not even expected to have a robust work history. If your college graduation comes a few decades after your last high school party, however, the resume that highlights education can still be effective as long as you are don’t make the mistake of skimping on the work history below.
This style of resume places the relevant information about the job that you are seeking first and foremost. A degree in Child Development or certification as an auto mechanic is going to mean a lot more to the person in charge of hiring employees for jobs in those fields than the fact that you spent three threes as manager at the local burger joint. That means looking for anything in your college background that you can honestly tweak to indicate relevance to the job at hand. This could be anything from from individual classes to honors and awards you acquired throughout your career in higher education.
Skills Highlight Style
If the job you’re applying for a position that requires specific skills have acquired–even if you acquired them outside of an academic setting–you might want to consider a resume that emphasizes those skills even if you have just graduated with a fancy new degree. Provided, of course, that the job you are applying for is more concerned with your skills than your education. This style of resume should have a section just beneath your contact information that informs the prospective employer about your acquisition of those skills. Use this section to reveal that either before or during the period you were pursuing higher education, you managed to also become competent at anything from repairing computers to speaking Japanese to putting up drywall.
Experience Highlight Style
Clearly, you would want to adopt the style of resume that highlights a long work history in the industry in which you are seeking a job even if you have just added a nice little college diploma to punctuate that history later in life. But what if you are one of those older college graduates who has a substantial work history that is not in your chosen field of study? You might still want to go with a resume style that highlights your work experience even if that work experience is out of that field. As a recent student, you are at a disadvantage to younger members of your graduating class in terms of desirability, but as an experienced worker who has proven dependability and maturity, are likely to be far more desirable. Be specific and truthful about the skills required in the jobs you have held and don’t be modest regarding leadership positions, promotions, bonuses or other types of recognition. Don’t lie about anything that you did in your job, but do use adjectives and keywords and buzzwords that make the job description part of your resume come to life and make it seem as though your former company could not have been quite as successful without your presence.
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