Resumes and Cover Letters

Which Is Better – Chronological or Functional Resume?

resume_chronological_vs_functional_webThe two most common types of resumes are the chronological and the functional resume. When you want to write a stellar resume, one of the most important things to consider is the format you choose. And with roughly 10 seconds to grab the attention of hiring managers looking at your resume, you need to stand out.

Both functional and chronological resumes have unique advantages and disadvantages, but they are very different. Knowing which type of resume best fits your career history and skills can help set you apart from the competition, so take a look at the distinctions below.

Chronological Resume
The most popular resume format, the chronological resume is easy to read and documents your work experience in a consecutive list. Your employment history is listed in reverse order with your most recent position on top.

This resume may fit your needs if you have a consistent employment history without gaps between jobs and the position you’re applying for matches the work experience you have. If you’ve worked many different jobs in a short time period, or if you have large gaps in your employment history, this type of resume may hurt your chances of landing the job.

To see what a traditional chronological resume looks like, click here.

Functional Resume
This resume format could also be called a skills-based resume because it lists your transferable skills and draws on the work experience that best fits the job you’re interested in. Instead of listing the dates of your previous employment, this format focuses on the work you’ve accomplished and the skills you’ve gained.

If you’ve had many different jobs, large gaps in employment, or are entering the workforce for the first time, this type of resume can benefit you by focusing on your competence and abilities. This format is a great option for recent graduates who are looking for a job but have a limited employment history.

Even better news – writing a functional resume is more likely to attract a recruiter’s attention. According to Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, “A well-crafted functional resume that focuses on the specific opening will make you more likely to get a second look from a recruiter, a few more hits on LinkedIn, and a better shot at an interview.”

To see what a functional resume looks like, click here.

Using Both Formats
If you’re torn between a chronological and functional resume, consider combining the two. This lets you use the functional features of pointing out your skills and abilities while also showing off your employment history. Since the chronological format is more familiar to potential employers, using the best of both worlds can help you stand out without being counted out.

Whether you stick with a chronological resume, go for the functional look, or create a mixture of the two, remember that your skills are one of the most important things to show. “It’s absolutely crucial to communicate skills in a resume, especially when moving between industries,” said Bob Funk. “Recruiters aren’t looking for someone with just a laundry list of past employers.”

What kind of resume do you use? Which resume type works best for you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

It’s Time to Enhance Your Resume

JobGenius_webThe Job Genius program from Express Employment Professionals is an educational video series that offers insights on the job market and how to get a job. The video series includes information on writing your resume, finding job opportunities, interviewing, and more.

No matter how long you’ve been searching, you know the important role your resume plays in helping you land interviews and get noticed by employers. Your resume and job applications can make or break your chances of standing out from the competition, so it’s important to know how to display your experience, education, and skills effectively.

To help perfect your resume, check out the Job Genius video below for more information on documenting the skills employers want to see, using keywords that get you noticed, and more.

To check out other videos in this educational series, visit ExpressPros.com/JobGenius.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Ask A Recruiter: How to Document Short-Term Jobs on Your Resume

ask_a_recruiterWhen it comes to preparing for a job search, acing interviews, and creating resumes, we know you have a lot of questions. To help answer your job search questions, our very own industry experts at Express Employment Professionals are posting their answers here on the Movin’ On Up blog.

Question
In the first installment of our new series, “Ask a Recruiter,” we’re excited to feature a question from Movin’ On Up reader Amanda.

Amanda asks, “When filling out job applications, should you include short-term jobs and ones that resulted in termination? I would think it looks bad, but isn’t lying on an application frowned upon?”

Answer
It’s important to note that a resume and an application for employment are two very different things. Let’s start with the resume. A resume is your career billboard and should highlight your most significant experiences in regard to the position you’re applying for. In fact, it’s a good practice to tailor your resume for each role you’d like to pursue. The most common resume form in the job market today is the chronological resume, which lists in order the roles you’ve held during your career. If you feel you may have employment gaps on your resume, consider using a functional resume.

Functional resumes focus on your skill sets and experiences, rather than the jobs you’ve held. The functional resume is also a great choice if you’re looking to change fields. And here’s some good news – if you search the internet for functional resumes, you’ll find hundreds of examples at the click of a mouse! Express Employment Professionals has a great example of a functional resume that can help in your job search.

Now, when it comes to the application, it’s very important that you don’t lie! In many organizations, falsifying an application can be grounds for immediate dismissal. So, let’s discuss how to document gaps in employment and short assignments. Before you do anything, consider calling the office and speaking with the recruiter personally. Ask them what they need on the application and what’s necessary for the position. Many times, the recruiter can clarify how they’d like you to proceed. Usually, they will look to see what experience you have that would qualify you for the available position. Of course, no recruiter likes to be surprised by additional information you provide later in the process, so don’t hide your work history.

If a position resulted in termination, it does need to be discussed. You gained vital skills and experiences in the position that could qualify you for the role you’re seeking. To falsify or omit such experience could lead to consequences down the road. The fact is – you’re not the only person out there who has been terminated, and you won’t be the last. Being honest and open about the situation will most likely yield a better outcome than pretending it didn’t happen. Just make sure you’re ready to discuss the termination if you land an interview. Never bad mouth your previous employer, don’t place blame on others, and be ready to share what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown from the experience. Do some homework and try to get letters of recommendation or references from people you worked with at the previous job who can vouch for your character. Remember, honesty is always the best policy.

Thanks for asking, Amanda! And thank you to Joe Paquette from Express for providing the answer!

Do you have a question about the job search, hiring, or recruiting process? Now’s your chance to have your question answered by industry professionals who find, interview, and hire people every day. Ask your question in the comments section below and check back soon to read what our experts have to say!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

It’s Cold Outside – But Your Job Search Doesn’t Have to Be

it's_cold_outside_webWinter officially kicks off in late December, but it’s already getting cold outside. With a chill in the air, this could be the perfect time to heat up your job search techniques and defrost your career.

Don’t let your job search take a vacation just because everyone else might be requesting time off for trips and holidays. And, don’t succumb to the temptation to take a holiday from looking for that perfect job.

For the serious job seeker, Christmastime and snow days mean business as usual. Despite the cold weather, recruiters and companies continue to work on a typical business schedule, and so should you. We know it’s hard to be motivated when egg nog and cozy fireplaces tempt us with the lure of warmth and relaxation, so here are five tips that will help heat up your job search and put you ahead of your vacationing competition.

1. Don’t let the holidays sabotage your momentum.
While winter is traditionally a time for vacations and spending time with family, it’s also a valuable time to stand out to recruiters and hiring managers. The competition for the same job position lessens as others take time off, so you have a real chance to stand out from the competition by maintaining a steady effort during the holidays and winter slumps.

Keep searching the job boards and don’t stop networking. The end of the year is also a time when positions open up for the next year, so you may find great job leads by maintaining your job search momentum.

2. Stay connected.
The holiday season means visits from family and long school breaks. But, that doesn’t mean you need to turn off your email or mobile device the entire time.

Even if you are away from home or welcoming visitors, your mobile device should be on just in case you receive a call from that important potential employer. Make time each day to check your email for responses to applications and return important calls the day you receive them. Family should respect your need to be professional and motivated about finding that perfect job. Of course, there’s a fine line to walk when it comes to cell phone etiquette. Checking your email during holiday dinner may not be appropriate and is likely unnecessary since most recruiters and hiring managers aren’t checking theirs on holidays either.

3. Update your resume and social media profiles.
If you’re stuck at home thanks to snow, ice, or extreme cold, use the downtime to spruce up your online footprint and your resume. Remove old information on your resume and look up industry keywords that highlight your skills. These keywords are vital in today’s job search world as many applications are scanned electronically.

Winter break is also a great time to assess your skill sets and sign up for workshops or trainings to build any skills that you lack. You can also use the holiday time to clean up any old or embarrassing social media entries, renew conversations about job hunting, network, and remind people that you are still eager to work.

4. Network at the holiday events.
Attend as many community and industry events as you can during the winter months so you can network and spread the news about your job search. Because many winter and holiday events are casual, you have a better chance to approach the decision-makers you normally wouldn’t have access to.

Use social events to build a network of like-minded professionals who can send job openings your way or introduce you to others who are hiring. Don’t forget to be on your best behavior at these social events, though. Don’t overindulge or act inappropriately. Winter social events can be great opportunities for contacts, but you can also ruin your reputation if you’re not careful.

5. Don’t discount seasonal work.
Sure, you want a full-time position. But, many companies need extra help around the holidays and winter months. By accepting temporary positions, you get your foot in the door and open opportunities for future work. Working while others are on vacation also shows you are a motivated and eager employee.

Use temporary or seasonal positions to boost your skills, pump up your resume, and make important contacts who can help you with your career down the road.
Most importantly, take care of yourself. Shorter, colder days can lead to the winter blues and it’s an easy temptation to nest and shut yourself in at home. While it’s important to maintain your job search techniques, it’s also vital to eat healthy and get some kind of exercise. Taking care of your health during these cold winter months gives you the energy and focus you need to find that perfect job.

How do you boost your job search when the weather turns chilly? Share your tips in the comment section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

6 Ways to Supercharge Your Resume

supercharge_your_resume_webYour resume is a key tool when it comes to your job search. It forms a potential employer’s first impression about you, usually within the span of just a few seconds. So, what’s the best way to create a positive, lasting impression that will land you the job? Here are six ways to supercharge your resume!

1.  Include skills summary.
Employers see a ton of resumes, so do something to help yours stand out from the rest. Include a brief summary of your top skills. This is your introduction to a potential employer. It doesn’t need to be anything long, but three to four sentences would be a great way to help them identify that you have the skills they’re looking for right off the bat.

2. Keep it focused and relevant.
Your resume shouldn’t be more than two pages long. You want to give an interviewer enough information about your work background and skills to schedule a job interview with you, not force them to read a novel. List the top projects you’ve worked on, share any awards and training you’ve received, and always remember to focus on the results. Also, employers want to know how you’re going above and beyond by volunteering in the community, so be sure to include some examples.

3. Include key words from the job description.
In reviewing the job description, what specific skills do you have that match what the company wants? Include those skills on your resume. Use some of the key words in the job description. This will help the employer see at a glance how you fit their needs. It also shows that you took time to review their job and you know what’s expected of the position.

4. Include power words.
There are certain words you can use in your resume that will also attract more positive attention. Employers are looking for individuals who exemplify a strong work ethic, a great attitude, and excellent communication skills. Incorporate words like leadership, professional, experience, reliable, and motivated. See a complete list of power words that will get you noticed.

5. Keep it simple.
A resume should be simple and clean. Start with a font that is readable. You can also use bold words, shading, and bullets to draw attention to key areas of your resume, but do so in moderation. For example, you can bold your name, address, and contact information at the top of the page or bold different headline sections. Use bullets if you want to make some information more organized, such as your work experience section. These are small ways to update your resume and make it stand out, without being overwhelming. But, be cautious about using graphics and logos on a resume, especially if submitting online because some databases can’t process graphics and your information might not get accepted. It’s better to save those items for your portfolio.

6. Keep it updated.
Be sure to always keep your resume updated. Start with your most current experience and chronologically organize from there. Ensure all dates are accurate, proofread for any typos, and check to ensure all of your contact info is correct.

How do you help your resume stand out from the rest? Share your tips in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Dust the Cobwebs off Your Resume

cobwebs_webWhen people tell you that looking for a job is a full-time job in itself, they aren’t kidding. It usually takes a scary amount of time and energy to search for opportunities, network, prepare for interviews, actually interview, and then follow up. But the truth is, as much as we dread it, looking for a job is a job that we’re all doing more and more often.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average number of years employees stay at one company is just under five. So, even if you aren’t currently in the market for a new job, chances are you will be in the near future.  That’s why it’s so important to constantly keep your resume up to date. You never know when you might need it again.

If it’s been a little while since your resume has seen the light of day, it may be time to get it out and dust it off. Here are a couple of tips to help you get started.

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Cut Stuff Out

Before you start adding to your resume, check to see if there’s anything that can or should be taken out. Objective statements for example are now seen as obsolete. If you still have one, consider cutting it out and replacing with a list of your skills set instead. Need another example of cutting stuff out? If you’ve been out of high school for a few years, it’s probably time to delete any mention of your old stomping grounds.

Take some time to really think through what you include from your past. Your resume should be succinct and, at the same time, powerful, so there may be some parts of your resume that could be restructured to have a stronger impact.

2. Update Your Resume with Relevant and Valuable Information

After you’ve cut out any unnecessary information, it’s time to start updating your resume with new awards, achievements, and skills. Because you only have one to two pages max to demonstrate your work experience and knowledge, remember that every word counts. Craft your resume carefully with power words like these.

As you describe your work experience, try to stay focused on your accomplishments rather than tasks. Share measurable information about how you’ve made a difference in the companies you’ve worked at, whether that’s how much you’ve increased sales or a problem you solved for your former employers.

3. Keep it Updated As You Move Forward

Every time you win a new award or achieve an important goal, update your resume as soon as possible. That way, you won’t have to spend a ton of time on it when you’re ready to move on to a new job.

Your resume is typically a very important step in getting a new job. But, remember that there are a lot of other steps to successfully landing a job too, so don’t stop here. After you’ve updated your resume, take a look at any online profiles you can update, start brushing up on your interview skills, and find ways to network now so you’ll have the connections you need, when you need them. Preparing ahead of time will help take the fear and dread out of your next job search, and hopefully, help you find the perfect fit fast! For, as one of our great presidents Abraham Lincoln once said, “I will prepare and someday my chance will come.”

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Resume Selfie: What Your Resume Says About You

resume_selfie_webLove ‘em or hate ‘em, selfies don’t appear to be going away any time soon. Those sometimes cute and sometimes in bad taste self photos that say “look at me” are still a growing trend, so much so that The Oxford Dictionaries named “selfie” the Word of the Year in 2013. There are good things and bad things to say about selfies, but as a job seeker there is one aspect of the selfie you would be wise to emulate.

Just like those images attract attention, your resume should be doing the same. And just as those pictures can tell you a lot about the person being photographed, your resume tells potential employers a lot about you. With that in mind, it’s critical that what your resume says about you is positive, accurate, and intriguing. As Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, a career and workplace adviser at Glassdoor, tells Forbes, “Resumes are the heartbeat of a career search. If done well, your resume will tell your story and sell you.”

Capture Your Good Side
There is a lot of good advice out there on what not to say in your resume and how you can make it better. However, you also really need to specifically consider what you want it to say – what kind of impression you want your resume to give. Every job and employer is different, but there are some basic characteristics that are desirable in every position or company, and you want to ensure your resume highlights those.

So check out these five things you want your resume to say about you and how to get the message across.

I’m Detailed
The best way to say you’re detail-oriented is by displaying it in your resume. Start by ensuring that there are no spelling mistakes within your resume and that your formatting is consistent throughout. Based on the position’s job description, include only the most effective information in your resume, and that means quantifying, not just describing, your accomplishments. As another Forbes article states, “We live in a metrics driven work culture and it’s no longer enough to state that you increased sales or productivity, you need to back it up with quantifiable data whenever possible.”

I Have Skills
Don’t confuse job responsibilities with skills. You want employers to have a full picture of what you can do and all the skills you bring to the table. Matt Tarpey, a career adviser with CareerBuilder, tells Forbes, “A list of hard skills and examples of how you put those skills to use in previous positions is a great way to stand out from the pack.”

I’m Driven
Learned a new skill on your own time, taken on a leadership position within a professional organization, or working toward an advanced degree in the evenings? Include it in your resume. As US News explains, “Employers seek people who will take upon themselves more than what is actually expected or required.”

I Work Well With Others
Employers don’t want drama between their employees, so highlight your interpersonal skills. Include any experience you’ve had in a leadership role, successfully working on a team, or acting as a mediator between clients and vendors. This can also include experience outside the workplace, such as industry associations or non-profit organizations. “Employers want to hire people who can play well with others in the ‘corporate sandbox,’” another US News article says.

I’m A Good Communicator
Your resume will tell an employer very quickly whether or not you can communicate well. Providing succinct information that makes sense and uses proper grammar is vital. And, since communicating is also about listening and understanding, show that you understand what the employer is looking for by tailoring your resume to the specific position.

While the written resume may seem old-school compared to the selfie, it’s still very much a part of the job search. “Even as technology has advanced and changed the way job seekers find open positions, the resume remains an integral part of the hiring process,” Tarpey reinforces. And, as the ultimate selfie, you want your resume to scream, “Look at me!” for all the right reasons.

What else do you want your resume to communicate to employers? How do you ensure that your resume represents an accurate, positive picture? Share your thoughts on your own resume selfie in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.