The reason a hiring manager looks at your resume is to see if your skills and experience are a match for his open position. Where does he look on your resume? He looks at your Employment History to see if the skills and accomplishments you list show that you will be an ideal worker.
In this lesson, you will learn which format is best for listing your employment history. You will learn how to market your resume by focusing your history on accomplishments and measures rather than simply listing duties. Then you will craft an employment history for your own resume.
The No. 1 reason employers are looking at your resume is to find out if your skills and experience match their needs. How do they know what skills and experience you've had, and how can they tell if you will be an asset to their organization? By reading your employment history section.
You want this section to be powerful and to represent you in the best possible light. However, it also must be clear, concise, and understandable to anyone who reads it. So, how can you make your employment history both powerful and concise? Let's take a look at some of the most common ways to list employment history.
The chronological resume format lists your work history with the most recent position at the beginning. In the example below, Joe titled his employment history section Experience. You can use any title that makes sense for you, such as Work History or Professional Experience.
Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about the chronological resume format:
Joe is using a chronological format, so he first lists his most recent job title, employer name, location, and the dates of employment.
He also describes his duties in a way that makes them relevant to the position he is seeking. For example, he notes that he "supervises a staff of 25," which will give a hiring manager an understanding of his daily responsibilities.
Since Joe is using a chronological order, his previous work experience comes next.
Again, he is specific about the duties involved in this job. For example, he "calculated and distributed bi-weekly payroll." Details like this can help to clarify your experience for a hiring manager.
Not all work experience is perfectly related. Joe did not work as a bookkeeper in the last two jobs listed on his resume. However, he focused on duties in these jobs that relate to bookkeeping.
Tip: Try to find ways to make your experience relevant to the job you're applying for.
Let's take a look at the functional resume format, which lists your skills instead of detailing your work history. In the example below, Miranda has listed her skills by category, such as Contracts Management and Leadership.
Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about the functional resume format:
Instead of listing specific dates, Miranda has simple listed Present and Previous for her work history. Again, this can be helpful if you have gaps in your employment history.
Still, it's important to know that many hiring managers don't like this format. It can often seem that you're simply trying to hide an inconsistent work history.
Miranda used a functional resume because she wanted to focus on the relevant management and legal skills she can offer.
This format works well if your work history is varied or has large gaps between jobs. In a case like this, a chronological resume wouldn't demonstrate her skills as clearly.
Let's take a look at a resume that combines both the functional and chronological approach. In the example below, Jamie wanted to focus on her skills while still demonstrating a consistent work history.
Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about the combination resume format:
Here, Jamie has grouped her work skills into functional categories that she believe are critical for a successful teacher.
She has also listed specific examples and measures where appropriate. For example, she mentions "four months of field experience with elementary P.E. teachers" to indicate the scope of her experience.
Jamie also highlights her consistent work history chronologically. She has listed the names of companies and the dates she worked there. She also included a simple job title that can be easily understood.
Open your My Resume document to complete this activity. Enter your own information into this document as we progress through each part of the lesson. Begin by following the instructions below.
You will be working only in the Experience portion of the document for this activity. Please refer to the following picture:
Replace the template text with your own information. Be sure to remove the brackets as you are replacing text.
Remember that you want each job title or description to reinforce the points you included with your summary, profile, or objective statement.
The template shown above is for a resume in the chronological format. If you have chosen to use the functional or combination format instead, you may consider searching for a resume template in the proper format. You may also try modifying this template if you are familiar with Microsoft Word. You can reformat this section to highlight your skill sets, broken into functional categories, along with a brief description of how you have used these skills in the past.