Creating a résumé or curriculum vitae (CV) that communicates your strengths will help you stand out. (see article on Africase.com under Standing out in the Crowd.)
Employers will probably spend less than 30 seconds looking at your résumé or curriculum vitae (CV). They will interview only the strongest candidates. Follow the recommendations below to make yourself stand out:
- Focus on the needs of the potential employer. An employer should think, “Wow, this person has exactly what I need.” If possible, tailor your résumé or CV to employers’ specific job openings. Use key words found in the job description or advertisement.
- Use an easy-to-read format. This makes it more likely that the employer will read it
- Put your strongest selling points at the beginning of sections or sentences.
- Ask others to proofread your résumé or CV to eliminate errors or inconsistencies. Employers notice sloppy mistakes.
- Clearly indicate contact information.
- Focus on measurable accomplishments from your prior experience that are relevant to the employer. Be succinct, but include substance and depth. Do not share everything about yourself.
- Be bold and honest. Use Power Statements to highlight your skills and experience. (See article on Africase.com under Presenting Your Skills.)
Types of Résumés and CV
A targeted résumé or CV focuses on a particular objective within a specific industry or company. It highlights skills, qualifications, and experience matching a position’s requirements.
This format is most effective when you know the specifics about the position or company.
A chronological résumé or CV shows the progression of your career, from entry-level to senior-level jobs. Hiring managers prefer employment information with the most recent job listed first. Many employers want to know details about where you have worked in the past, including dates.
This format is most appropriate if:
- You have a solid career history within the same area with no major gaps.
- Each career change has brought you increased responsibilities.
- You have had high-profile job roles.
- Your recent jobs are the most important in your career history.
A functional résumé or CV emphasizes your accomplishments, skills, and qualifications rather than when and where you used them. It focuses on the skills relevant to the current job search and groups them by function.
This format is best for graduating students with little “real-world” experience, those who have been out of the workforce for long periods, and job seekers who are changing from one career or industry to another. (See article on Africase.com under Returning to the Workforce.)
A combination résumé or CV combines the functional and chronological formats. It lists your achievements and skills and then your job history.
A combination format is the best choice if:
- You have performed a diverse or unique range of job functions and you need to showcase your abilities.
- You have a definite career path.
- You have targeted a job that is related to your job history and experience.
You will want to use a different format if your work experience is limited, if you have several or unexplained employment gaps, or if you have changed jobs frequently.
An inventory résumé or CV presents a general overview of your skills, achievements, and qualifications. If it states an objective or career path, it uses general terms (such as “a secretary working with a local company,” “a computer programmer,” or “a salesperson”), though it should still be consistent with your career goals.
This format is most effective if you:
- Plan to send your résumé or CV to various recruiters.
- Do not have a specific job objective.
- Need to submit your résumé or CV for many positions in order to save time.
- Need to compose different résumés or CV that correspond to a different career objective.
If you are interested in several careers, write several inventory résumés or CV, each for a particular career goal.
Note: Use caution when using the inventory format. This is not the most effective method, but may be appropriate for some. Consult with your ward or stake employment specialist, the employment resource center, or self-reliance center to determine if it is right for you.