Choosing a Winning Resume Format: 3 Tips to Get Your Application Noticed

Man writing resume on laptop

Whether you are applying for a specific position or planning a career change, creating a winning resume can mean the difference between getting a face-to-face interview and your application getting put in the recycling bin. To accomplish this, using the right format can be essential, as it is the first thing the reader is probably going to notice. If you have never created or updated a resume before, there are a few steps you can take to create a document that showcases your skills and abilities in the best light possible.

1. Consider Your Skills Vs. Your Experience

The first factor you can consider when choosing a resume format is whether you have more skills than actual work experience or vice versa. This is important because some resume formats focus on either one or the other, and if you do not match the format to the elements you are trying to highlight in your resume, the content is going to fall short.

For example, if you have recently graduated from college and have skills that you learned there, then a functional resume that highlights them can be a good choice, as this downplays a lack of work experience. While some employers might allow for the fact that recent college graduates are going to have limited work experience, when it comes to creating a resume, it can be more effective to put your best foot forward.

2. Emphasize Which Skills and Experience Match the Job

While some resume experts believe that you must use either a functional or chronological resume format, you can also blend the two to create a hybrid form, especially if you want to put highly-relevant information first, where the reader will notice it instantly. Using a blended resume format allows you to highlight your abilities and then post work experience that is relevant so readers make the connection between what you can do and how you have applied those skills to other jobs in the past.

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3. Personalize Your Format

Whether you use a functional, chronological, or a blend of both as your resume format, it can also be important that you add elements of your own style to reflect a sense of creativity, especially if you are applying for a job that requires this talent. For example, if you are applying for a job as an internet marketing agent, consider adding a scannable QR code or URL that links to an interactive video or online portfolio, where the reader will get to see your skills in action and improve your brand recognition.

Some elements you can include in a digital portfolio include personal recommendations from past employers, snapshots of any marketing campaigns you have created, and a short video that introduces you to the viewer. Try to keep any videos under one minute and use that time to highlight skills you have mastered. The more personalized you make your resume format, the more it might stand out from those that have been created by a resume generator.

Creating a resume that is both unique and informative can help you stand out in a glutted employment market. As such, improving and modifying your formatting skills may get you noticed by any prospective employer.

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