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AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.—Whether college graduation is on the horizon or a big break is just around the corner, it is always a great idea to have a solid resumé on hand. In fact, the key to getting an interview is to create a job-winning resumé. This is where the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s human sciences team can help.
Cynthia White, an Alabama Extension human sciences regional agent, said your resumé should be tailored to the job you are applying for.
“Determine the type of job you would like to apply for and begin working on your resumé,” White said. “Remember, resumés do not come in one-size fits all.”
White said the style an individual chooses for a resumé should reflect the applicant’s intent. Three common styles include chronological, skills based/functional and combination.
The chronological resumé is the most used style. Employment experience should be listed in chronological order by date, with the most recent employment listed first.
“This style is used when there are no gaps in employment and a strong work history,” White said.
Skills Based or Functional
The skills-based resumé style is used when the goal is to change industries and there is limited work experience. As the name suggests, this style focuses on the skills of a candidate. It provides an opportunity to draw attention to relevant work skills for the desired position and avoids highlighting employment gaps or length of time at a certain job.
Combination resumés focus on job skills as well as employment history.
“This resumé style is most beneficial when changing industries,” White said. “It allows highlighting skills that may be obtained outside of previous employment but focuses on strong and consistent work history.”
Dos and Don’ts
When deciding what information to include in a resumé, it is important to think through essential components of a job-winning resumé. It is important to include the following information:
- Full legal name
- Current phone number
- Current address
- Email address (professional email address)
- Hard skills, gained through training
- Soft skills, including character and personality aspects
- Relative skills
- Experience, including volunteer and extracurricular activities
- Summary statement highlighting who you are as a potential employee
It is equally as important to be forthright and truthful in the creation of a resumé for potential employers. Some items that you do not need to add include age, marital status, parental status, exaggerate information and photographs.
Keep in Mind
White said employers may request electronic submissions. Keeping the resumé simple, clean and organized will make the submission process simpler.
“Traditionally formatted documents can become distorted during electronic submission,” she said. “Adjustments must be incorporated to accommodate electronic requests.”
White said to avoid submitting resumés longer than two pages. Also, it is important to check for grammatical and spelling errors and to include action verbs or keywords from the job description.
For more information on submitting a job-winning resumé, read the Alabama Extension publication Create a Job Winning Resumé, available at www.aces.edu. Also, the Finance & Career section of the Alabama Extension website contains a wealth of information for those entering the workforce, from interview tips to working on your professional image.