Resumes and Cover Letters
Circle those duties or responsibilities that you feel are the most important. Underline those
responsibilities which have a lesser importance but which you feel are still important to include.
To organize your thoughts, for each job you have ever held, write down all the pertinent information that
you can remember about the position. List the employer, address, dates of employment, supervisors
name, promotions you received, responsibilities of your position, things you created, losses you
prevented, what you liked most and least about the job. Did you ever cover for another position with
different responsibilities? Did you make or implement any procedural changes?
Do the same thing for any education or training you have received. Did you get academic honors
(usually a GPA of over 3.5) Win awards? Get training in a specific skill or technical area? These notes
will help you to provide content and determine the style of resume you will choose to produce.
THE CHRONOLOGICAL FORMAT
The chronological resume works best for those individuals who are looking for the same type of employment
that they have held in the past. If your work history has been a series of well-defined, clearly understood jobs
such as: teacher, accountant, firefighter, insurance agent, etc., then the chronological or conventional resume
format may be the best method to present your skills. This format is straight forward and lends itself to concise
writing. If done properly, it comes off as strong, believable, and persuasive.
This format lists your work history in a chronological order. Your most current position would be listed first,
with your past positions listed after, in descending order through time. Generally your work history on a
resume will not exceed ten years, unless you have spent an extended time in a particular position, or you have
pertinent work history that extends past that time period. If your dates of employment in a job are for less than
one year in one or more jobs, you may want to consider a format style that does not list the dates on the left
THE FUNCTIONAL / SKILLS FORMAT
The functional or skills format resume works best for individuals who are career changers and are either
combining skills from several past jobs into a new career, or who have undergone recent re-training or
education to give them new job skills.
The functional resume stresses strengths and accomplishments rather than presenting a chronological work
history. It is called functional as it is organized under the heading of skills or functions, rather than by time
block, job titles or companies. This format is a good one for people who have erratic work histories or who
have been employed in widely varied types of employment.
(Warning: resumes that do not include some reference to employment dates are generally not well received by
THE COMBINED FORMAT
This format includes both the functional/skills format, followed by a brief chronological employment history,
which includes previous job titles, employer names, and dates of employment. The combined format includes
the best of both worlds for many job seekers. It allows you to highlight your skills and still gives past
employers an idea of your past work history.
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