A resume is a document that provides a summary of personal career history, skills, and experience. A résumé is usually prepared to aid in a job application. A job advertisement may ask either for a résumé or instead may require a candidate to complete an application form.
Every résumé should include the following: the jobseeker's name and contact details; a clear and concise description of his or her career objective; some kind of outline of work experience; and a list of education and degrees. It is important to customize a résumé to the type of job or career being applied for, and to make sure it has impact: a hiring manager receives an average of over 120 résumés for every job opening.
There are four basic types of résumé: the chronological, the functional, the targeted, and the capabilities résumé. A chronological résumé is useful for people who stay in the same field and do not make major career changes. They should start with and focus on the most recent positions held. A functional résumé is the preferred choice for those seeking their first professional job, or those making a major career change. It is based around 3–5 paragraphs, each emphasizing and illustrating a particular skill or accomplishment. A targeted résumé is useful for jobseekers who are very clear about their job direction and need to make an impressive case for a specific job. Like a functional résumé, it should be based around several capabilities and accomplishments that are relevant to the target job, focusing on action and results. A capabilities résumé is used for people applying for a specific job within their current organization. It should focus on 5–8 skills and accomplishments achieved with the company.
The format of a résumé should also be considered—whether it is to be printed out, incorporated into an email, posted on a Web site, or burned onto a CD-ROM. Different layout and design elements, such as the choice of fonts or inclusion of multimedia, are suitable for each medium, and should be thought through carefully.
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