Resume formats come in many shapes and styles. There are left justified, right justified, center and all variations in between. So what resume format is the best one on the reader. Yeah that is right, the reader: a hiring manager, recruiter, computer screening the resume, the admin who sees them first, the reader…not YOU!
Think of a resume as a sales or marketing document and NOT a resume because that is what it is. It is a document you use to display and demonstrate what experience you have to offer (benefits) and not just who you are (features). I use the words “features” and “benefits” as an example of how people in sales and marketing think about promoting their service or products. The features are not as important as the benefits. So what are they:
“Features” are: details of the product or service being promoted. Details such as what you did/do on a daily basis, where you worked, if you travel and/or what you think you learned from each job.
“Benefits” are: details of your successes in your past jobs such as “trained 55 new hires on company policies and procedures”, “type 65 words per minute consistently” and/or “surpassed sales goals by 122% during 2009 and 118% during 2010″. These benefits are the sizzle behind what your role or daily work was/is.
So in the end, features or your job functions give you the ability to knock on the door of a hiring manager and the benefits begin to tell them who you are and what you are capable of.
So what is the best resume format for all job seekers…the best format is one that allows the reader to take five to 10 second snap shot of who you are. Too many words tightened together without a lot of breaks does not allow the reader to quickly understand who you are. Your resume is part of your story. Your story begins and continues with any and all communications you make. If your resume is the first time they learn about you, you need them to understand who you are quickly and what you have to offer.
So to me the best format is one that looks like this:
Using a layout or format that reads smoothly and free of complexity is good for the reader. Strive to be as simple and to the point as you can.
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