How to Start Writing Your Resume

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You need to write a resume but you don’t know where to begin.  You’re not alone.  Perhaps one of the biggest challenges to writing a resume is simply starting one. There are so many different directions you could take, that not taking any of them seems like the easiest choice.

That would be okay except for the fact that you still need one.  Assuming you aren’t going to pay someone else to do the dirty work for you, then you can begin to make progress by selecting a suitable resume format from a limited palette of choices.

There are, after all, a lot of different formats you could chose from. I don’t want to complicate things for you here, though. Your life is probably complicated enough.  I’m assuming that you want to actually get words on paper or the screen and move on.

In that case, simply select either the chronological or the combination format resume.

The Chronological Format:

This format shows employers your most recent work experience and works backwards in time. Employers tend to like this format the best because it is the easiest to read and shows them a clear timeline.

Use this format if you have a consistent work history that shows career progression and you want a job in the same or a similar career field. Use it when you are a recent high school or college graduate. Use it when you are transitioning from the military and want to stay in the same occupational specialty area.

A basic resume outline may look like this:

Heading

Summary of Qualifications

Work History (where you worked, when and what you accomplished)

Education and Training

The Combination Format:

This type of resume focuses on what you can do and have done versus when and where you did it. Confused yet? Don’t be. It’s a fun format if you think of it as a creative process.

The combination format does not list your most recent work experience first. Instead, it focuses on key areas of expertise, as they support your current job objective, regardless of where and when you obtained them.

Use it when you are switching career fields or when you are returning to the workplace after an extended absence. Use it when you want to highlight specific and relative skills and experiences you had further back in your life. You can also use it in lieu of the chronological format if it just appeals to you more.

A basic resume outline might look like this:

Heading

Summary of Qualifications

Areas of Expertise

Work History (one-liners without experience narratives)

Education and Training

See, it’s really not that complicated. Now stop procrastinating and pick one.

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Categories: Resume formats

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