Module 25: Creating Persuasive Résumés
March 31 2012
- Resume summarizes your qualifications so persuasively that you get an interview.
- When you’re employed, having a current resume allows you to assess your skills improvement, this ongoing
inventory makes it easier for you to take advantage of other job opportunities that come up.
- Writing a resume is also an ego-building experience: the person who looks so good on paper is YOU!
How can I encourage the employer to pay attention to my resume?
- Show how your qualifications fit the job and the company.
- Your resume can be screened in 2 ways:
By a person
- In the first round, each resume may get as little as 2.9 seconds of the reader’s attention.
- In the second stage, they weed out more documents and resumes may get only 10 – 30 seconds in this stage.
- If your resume is electronically scanned by a job-applicant tracking system, then the computer does the first set
o The employer specifies the keywords from the job description, listing the knowledge, skills and abilities
that the ideal applicant would have.
o Sometimes personal characteristics (hard worker, willing to travel, good writer) are included.
- You can do several things to increase the chances that a human being will pay attention to your resume:
o Quantify your skills and activities
o Emphasize achievements that;
Are most relevant to the position for which you’re applying
Demonstrate your superiority to other applicants
o Use keywords and technical terms of the industry and the organization; find these in the ad, in trade
journals, and from job descriptions.
o Make your paper resume attractive and readable; use picture-frame placement, plenty of white space,
and a serif font; bold the major headings.
o Include transferable skills: the ability to write and speak well, to identify and solve problems, to think
critically and creatively, to work well independently and with others, to speak other languages and to
use a variety of computer programs.
o Design one resume to appeal to the human eye and the second to be easily processed by an electronic
o Revise and edit your resume to ensure its error-free: grammar and spelling mistakes will cost you the
interview. What kinds of resume should I use?
- Use the format that makes you look best.
- Depending on their experience and the audience, people use one of three kinds of resume:
- The chronological resume summarizes what you have accomplished, starting with the most recent events and
going backwards, that is, using reverse chronology.
o Emphasizes degrees, job titles, and dates.
o Use when you have limited relevant work experience and your education and experience show:
A logical preparation for the position in which you’re applying too
A steady progression leading to the present - The functional or combination resume emphasizes the applicant’s most important (to the reader) job titles and
responsibilities, or functions regardless of chronology.
o Reverts to the reverse chronology listing for information not related to paid employment.
o Use the functional/combination resume if:
Your work experience match the position responsibilities
Your skills and expertise match the position requirements
Your education and experience are not the usual route to the position for which you’re
You want to deemphasize your formal education. - Skills resume emphasizes the skills you’ve acquired through work experience.
o Use a skills resume when:
You want to combine experience from paid jobs, activities or volunteer work, and courses to
show the extent of your experience in transferable and technical skills: administration, finance,
speaking and so on.
Your education and experience are not the usual route to the position for which you’re applying.
You’re changing fields.
Your recent work history might create the wrong impression. How do Resume formats Differ?
- They showcase you differently, depending on your experiences, your purpose (the job you’re applying for),
and your audience.
- A chronological resume focuses on when, then what and emphasizes academic qualifications.
o Experience is organized by date with the most recent job first.
- The functional or combination resume showcases the applicants qualifications according to relevant job
functions or responsibilities.
o Extensive experience, not dates or academic degrees, is the focus.
o Seasoned and highly qualified applicants use this format.
- Skills resume summarizes experience and acquired skills needed for the job.
o Under each heading, the resume lists in order of importance, paid and unpaid work.
o An employment history section lists job titles (or functions), employers, city and provinces.
- Start with the education heading.
- Under work experience or employment history, include employment dates, position or job title, organization,
city, province, and other details: seasonal, full- or part-time status, job duties, special responsibilities, and
promotions with companies.
- Include unpaid jobs and self-employment if they provide relevant skill
- If you’ve had co-op or intern placements, include these under a separate heading such as Co-operative
- Omit information about low-level jobs, unless they illustrate experience important to your reader.
- Use details when they display your attitudes, abilities, or talents.
- Tell how many people you trained or supervised, how much money you budgeted or raised.
- Verbs or gerunds (the –ing form of verbs) always create a more dynamic image than do nouns, so use them on
resumes that will be read by people rather than computers.
Functional or Combination Resumes
- Focuses on the what, this format provides the flexibility to highlight relevant job responsibilities or functions,
and to include a variety of experiences.
- Mature, highly skilled people with the right job credentials use the functional resume to describe their extensive
- Begin with Career Achievements or Career highlights, where you summarize your primary professional
- The employment history is most important: describe your work responsibilities and subsequent skills as they
relate to the position for which you are applying.
- Later in the resume, identify conferences, clubs, and professional associations in reverse chronology to
demonstrate your industry currency.
- Place education near the end of this format. Skills Resume
- Use the skills or aspects of the job you are applying for as headings, rather than the category title or the dates of
the jobs you’ve held (as in a chronological resume).
- For entries under each skill, combine experience from paid jobs, unpaid work, classes, activities and community
- Use headings that reflect the jargon of the job for which you’re applying: logistics rather than planning for a
- You need at least 3 headings related to the job in a skills resume, to have 6 or 7 is not uncommon.
- Give enough detail to convince the reader that you have developed the requisite skill sets through a variety of
- Put the most important category – from the reader’s perspective – first.
- List your paid jobs under Employment history near the end of the resume.
- List only job title, employer, city, province, and dates.
- Omit details about what you did, since you have them under experience.
What Parts of Resume Formats are the same?
- Increasingly all resumes begin with an attention-grabbing heading, such as Career Achievements, Career
Highlights, Communication and Technical Skills, or Interpersonal Profile.
- Every res