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Types of résumé and how to use them

As we have mentioned, there are four main types:
• chronological
• functional
• targeted
• capabilities

A chronological résumé has, for a long time, been the most popular type of résumé by far, and it still is. But the other three types have their strengths as well, and there may be times in your career when one of these will suit your purposes better. In the modern marketplace, it is common for people to change careers several times in the course of their working lives. If you are thinking about a dramatic change, a nontraditional résumé may be right for you. Read the sections below for more targeted advice.

Chronological Résumé
• Include your name and contact details at the top. Use your personal e-mail address, not your work e-mail address as it will look like you are taking advantage of your current employer.
• Consider including a job search “objective” if you are applying speculatively.
• Starting with your present or most recent position and working backward, summarize your employment history.
• Describe your responsibilities and accomplishments. Be concise, using action verbs to make a powerful impression.
• Remember your career goals, and emphasize the accomplishments and skills that are most related to the job you are seeking.
• Your education history and professional training should be shown in separate sections at the bottom of your résumé. List multiple degrees in reverse chronological order.
If you’ve been working for some time, summarize the early part of your career history. You only need to be detailed in your descriptions of your last four or five positions.

Functional Résumé
• Include your name and contact details at the top.
• If you are embarking on your first job hunt, you may choose to include a job search “objective.” Be sure to state it clearly.
• Your résumé should include three to five separate paragraphs. Focus each paragraph on a skill or accomplishment that you want to stress and that is related to the job you seek.
• Your “functional” paragraph most related to your career goal should come first. List the rest in descending order of importance.
• Head each paragraph with a brief descriptive title
• Emphasize your skills and accomplishments that are the most relevant to your career goal.
• Briefly summarize your actual work experience after the last functional area, listing dates (years), employer, and job titles only.
• At the bottom of the résumé, list your education in a separate section, with multiple degrees in reverse chronological order.
One of the features of the functional résumé is that it allows you to describe your skills and accomplishments without identifying the relevant employer. This is essential when you have signed a nondisclosure agreement with your current or previous employer, which prevents you from revealing specific information about a job or project to potential competitors. Nondisclosure agreements aren’t appropriate for every industry, but are crop up regularly in high-tech or research companies.

Targeted Résumé
• Brainstorm a list of skills and accomplishments that are relevant to your job target. Ask yourself, what achievements are you most proud of? Do you have achievements in another field that are relevant to your job target? What demonstrates your ability to work with people?
• Include your name and contact details at the top.
• A job “objective” may not be necessary, as this type of résumé is most appropriate for an application for a specific job.
• Select the top five to eight most relevant skills or accomplishments from your brainstorming list. Use action words and powerful descriptions to focus on action and results.
• Summarize your actual work experience beneath each item, giving dates (years), employer, and job titles only.
• List your education in a separate section at the bottom of the résumé, in reverse chronological order.
Capabilities Résumé
• First of all, find out all as much as possible about the internal job you are seeking.
• Include your name and contact details at the top. (Since this type of résumé is most appropriate for an application for a specific job, there’s probably no need to include a job search “objective.”)
• List your five top accomplishments that are most relevant to your job target.
• Describe your relevant work experience from your current position in a brief paragraph. If your history with the company has been limited, follow the steps for a targeted résumé to provide a complete synopsis of your work experience.
• List your education in a separate section at the bottom of the résumé in reverse chronological order.

Reference BNET Editorial: Courtesy of the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Jamaica www.yeajamaica.com

Last updated: January 16, 2008

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