Now that you have seen what basic and improved chronological resumes look like, it’s time to create your chronological resume. An Instant Resume Worksheet follows this section. I encourage you to use it to complete each part of your basic chronological resume. You may find it helpful to complete each worksheet section after you read its related tips here.
Step by Step Guide To Make Chronological Resume
In the past, you might have seen a resume with the word “Resume” at the top, just in case the reader didn’t know what it was. But these days, everyone will know what it is, so that heading is unnecessary.
“If you are employed now and don’t want your employer to know that you’re applying for other jobs, put “Confidential” near the top of your document. There is, however, no guarantee that the reader will honor your request for confidentiality.”
This one seems obvious, but you want to avoid some things. For example, don’t use a nickname; you nemustresent a professional image. Even if you have to modify your name from how you typically introduce yourself, it’s important to sound professional by using your full name.
Most employers will contact you via e-mail, but you should still include a mailing address on your resume for official correspondence (such as an offer letter). Don’t abbreviate words such as “Street” or “Avenue.” Do include your ZIP code. If you move during your job search, ask a friend who lives in the new city whether you can have mail sent to them so that you appear to be settled there.
“If you’re looking for a job in another location and don’t know anyone there whose address you could use on your resume, look into the option of having a drop box that gives a real street address rather than a post offi ce box. These are available for a small fee through local offi ce-supply shops and national shipping chains such as The UPS Store and Mail Boxes, Etc.”
Phone Numbers and E-mail Address
An employer is more likely to phone or e-mail you than to contact you by mail, so giving an employer this contact information is essential. Use a phone number that will be answered throughout your job search. Most people use their cell phone numbers so they won’t miss a call. Never include your current work phone number. Potential employers will see you as someone who takes advantage of company resources. Always include your area code. Because you often will be busy (at your current job or out looking for a new one), you must have a voice-mail service on your home phone if you include that number on your resume.
Call your voice mail. Listen to what the outgoing message says and how. If it has some cute, dull, or less-than-professional message, change it to the one you would like your next employer to hear. You can return to your old message after getting your next job.
As you look at this book’s sample resumes, notice that some provide more than one phone number or an explanation following the number. For example, “555-299-3643 (messages)” quickly communicates that the caller is likely to be asked to leave a message rather than reach you in person. Adding “555-264-3720 (cell)” gives employers another calling option. If you have an e-mail address, definitely include it.
If you don’t have an e-mail account, get one. Many services, such as Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo!, offer free e-mail. Even if you don’t have Internet access at home, you can check your mail at a public library or on a friend’s computer.
Just be sure that if you give out an e-mail address, you check it regularly to see whether you’ve received any mail.
Job Objective or Summary
Although you could put together a simple resume without knowing your job objective, it is wise to have one in mind. Doing so enables you to select resume content that directly supports your candidacy for your desired job. You might include a Summary of Qualifications section in a more advanced version of your resume instead of an objective statement. For now, the objective will help you focus your thinking and create a targeted resume.
One good reason to include a summary rather than an objective is that a summary highlights what you can do for the company rather than what you want the company to do for you.
For example, an objective that says, “Interested in a position that allows me to be creative and that offers adequate pay and advancement opportunities”, is not good. Who cares? This objective displays a self-centred, “gimme” approach that will turn off most employers.
It would help if you emphasized what you can do, your skills, and how you can help a company meet its objectives.
Carefully write your summary so that it does not exclude you from jobs you would consider. For example, if you use a job title like “administrative assistant,” ask yourself whether doing so would exclude you from other jobs you would consider. Look at how Judith Jones presented her summary in her basic resume (figure 2.1):
This resume keeps her options open more than saying “administrative assistant.” And her improved resume’s summary says even more:
An excellent job summary allows you to be considered for more responsible jobs than you have previously or to accept positions with different job titles that use similar skills.
Refer to the following examples of simple but valuable summaries. Most provide information on the job the candidate seeks and the skills they offer. Many of them could be expanded with additional sentences describing specific key accomplishments.
The sample resumes throughout this book include summaries and objectives that you can review to see how others have phrased them. Browse them for ideas.
Education and Training
Lead with your strengths. Recent graduates or those with good academic or training credentials but weak work experience should put their education and training toward the top because it represents a more critical part of their qualifications. More experienced workers with a work history related to their job objective can put their education and training toward the end.
You can drop the Education and Training section if it doesn’t support your job objective or if you don’t have the credentials typically expected of those seeking similar positions. This is particularly true if you have lots of work experience in your career area. Usually, however, you should emphasize your most recent or highest level of education or training related to the job.
Depending on your situation, your education and training could be the most important part of your resume, so beef it up with details if you need to.
This resume section provides the details of your work history, starting with the most recent job. If you have signifi cant work history, list each job along with quantifi ed details of what you accomplished and special skills you used. Emphasize skills that directly relate to the job objective on your resume. Use numbers wherever possible. Volunteer and military work experience are usually listed in separate sections after your paid civilian work history. You can, however, include volunteer work in the regular Work Experience section if you have limited paid work experience or if the volunteer work is highly relevant to your job objective. Similarly, you can include military experience in the Work Experience section if you consider your military experience to be a signifi cant part of your career history.
Previous/Current Job Titles
You can modify the titles you’ve had to more accurately refl ect your responsibilities. For example, if your title was sales clerk but you frequently opened and closed the store and were often left in charge, you might use the more descriptive title of Night Sales Manager. Always check with your previous supervisors to make sure they approve of this and will back you up when a prospective employer checks your references.
Provide the organization’s name and list the city, state, or province in which it was located. A street address or supervisor’s name is not necessary— you can provide those details on a separate page of references if you are asked for them. Employment Dates If you have large gaps in employment that are not easily explained, use full years instead of including the months in which you started and left. Doing so deemphasizes the gaps. Chapter 8 has additional information on handling this and other problems. If there was a signifi cant period when you did not work, did you do anything that could explain it in a positive way? School? Travel? Raise a family? Self-employment? Even if you mowed lawns and painted houses for money while you were unemployed, that could count as self-employment. Employers will look on this more favorably than if you did nothing productive while unemployed.
Duties and Accomplishments
In writing about your work experience, be sure to use action words and emphasize what you accomplished. Quantify what you did and provide evidence that you did it well. Take particular care to mention skills that directly relate to doing well in the job you want now. If your previous jobs are not directly related to what you want to do now, emphasize skills you used in previous jobs that could be used in the new job. For example, someone who waits on tables has to deal with people and fi nances—skills needed in many other jobs such as management and accounting. may be worth mentioning, particularly if you were an offi cer or were active on a relevant committee. Mention accomplishments or awards you earned during these affi liations. Many of the sample resumes in this book include statements about accomplishments to show you how to do this.
Recognition and Awards
If you have received any formal honors or awards that support your job objective, consider mentioning them. You can create a separate section for your awards if you have at least two to list, or you can put them in the Work Experience, Skills, Education, or Personal section, whichever is most relevant.
Years ago, resumes included personal details such as height, weight, marital status, hobbies, leisure activities, and other trivia. Please do not do this. Current laws do not allow an employer to base hiring decisions on certain points, so providing this information can cause some employers to toss your resume. For the same reason, do not include a photo of yourself.
Although a Personal section is optional, I sometimes like to end a resume on a personal note. Some resumes provide a touch of humor or playfulness as well as selected positives from outside school and work. This section is also a good place to list signifi cant community involvements, a willingness to relocate, or personal characteristics an employer might like. But keep it short
It is not necessary to include the names of your references on a resume. You can do better things with the precious space. It’s also not necessary to state “references available on request” at the bottom of your resume, because that is obvious. If an employer wants your references, he or she knows to ask you for them.
Line up references in advance. Pick people who know your work as an employee, volunteer, or student. Make sure that they will express nice things about you by asking what they would say if asked. Push for negatives and don’t feel hurt if you get some. Nobody is perfect, and it gives you a chance to delete references before they do you damage.
Once you know who to include, type a list of references on a separate sheet. Include names, addresses, phone numbers, job titles, and other details of why they are on your list. You can give this to employers who ask for references.
Be aware that some employers are not allowed to give references over the phone. I have refused to hire people who probably had good references but about whom I could not get information. If this is the case with a previous employer, ask the employer to write a letter of reference that you can photocopy as needed. This is a good idea, so you might want to ask employers for one even if they have no rules against phone references.
The Final Draft
At this point, you should have completed the Instant Resume Worksheet on pages 30–36. Carefully review dates, addresses, phone numbers, spelling, and other details. You can use the worksheet as a guide for preparing a better-than-average chronological resume. Use the sample chronological resumes from this chapter as the basis for creating your resume. Additional examples of resumes appear in chapters 3, 4, 10, 11, and 12. Look them over for writing and formatting ideas. The sample resumes in chapter 3 tend to be simpler and easier to write and format than some of the more advanced examples found in chapters 10 through 12 and will provide better models for creating a resume quickly.
Once you have completed the Instant Resume Worksheet, you have the information you need for a basic resume. If you have access to a computer, go ahead and put the data into the form of a summary. If you do not have access to a computer, have someone else type and format your resume. But whether you do the typing or have it done, carefully review your resume for typographical or other errors that may have slipped in. Then, when you are confident that everything is correct, have the final version prepared.